30 ‘poisoned’ at drugs conference

Authorities say emergency workers called to a alternative medicines conference in northern Germany found some 30 people staggering and suffering from cramps, apparently as a result of LSD-like poisoning.

30 ‘poisoned’ at drugs conference

The local government said 15 ambulances and a helicopter were sent to the scene in the small town of Handeloh, south of Hamburg, the dpa news agency rep orted.

Fire service spokesman Matthias Koehlbrandt told broadcaster NDR the group was aged between 25 and 55. NDR reported they were alternative and homeopathic practitioners, and that they were taken to the hospital.

Authorities said their preliminary finding was that the group was poisoned with amphetamines, but Koehlbrandt said that they didn’t knowingly take the substance.

Broadcaster NDR described the 29 men and women “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”.

The patients were found suffering from delusions, breathing problems, racing hearts and cramps, Deutsche Welle reported.

Tests revealed they had taken hallucinogenic drug 2C-E, which was made illegal in Germany last year.

Torsten Passie, a member of the German government’s expert commission for narcotics, told NDR: “It must have been a multiple overdose. That does not support the view that the people concerned took the hallucinogen knowingly.

“One has to assume that people were not told about the substance, its effects and risks before taking it.”

Police are investigating whether the drug was taken as a group experiment.

No arrests have yet been made and the Association of German Healing Practitioners distanced itself from the embarrassment.

In a statement, it said none of its representatives took hallucinogens during the conference. “The organisers of this obscure conference are unknown to us and such events will not be tolerated by our Association,” a spokesperson said.

“Unfortunately, the conference in Handeloh has severely damaged the image of the alternative medicine profession…and we have clarified that such acts are not in the spirit of natural therapy, and contradict our values both morally and legally.

“The Association of German Healing Practitioners (Heilpraktikers) detests such misdemeanours.”

More in this section


Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox