The number of incidents linked to the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Amsterdam rose last year, with most cases involving foreign tourists, health service statistics showed Saturday.
Medical intervention was needed for 149 incidents in 2007, an increase of 19 percent from the previous year, according to numbers from the municipal health service. Eighty people were taken to hospital.
AdvertisementSome 92 percent of the people involved were foreign tourists, while half were people under 24. Some 79 percent were male.
In April, the Dutch government announced that it would present a bill to ban the mushrooms.
The government's move follows a proposal from the ministers of health and justice to prohibit the growth and sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Most deputies have indicated they will support the legislation.
In March 2007, a 17-year-old French girl who had taken mushrooms died when she jumped off a bridge in the Dutch capital, though no formal link was made between her death and the use of the drug.
There have also been reports of people becoming paranoid and aggressive after taking the drug.
Selling dried mushrooms has already been outlawed while fresh mushrooms are still on the market. The ban on cultivation and use of the mushrooms would mean the closure of "smartshops" that sell them.
Use and possession of cannabis was decriminalised in 1976. It is sold in so-called coffee shops under licence, in small doses.
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