At a conference held in Handeloh outside Hamburg, Germany, a group of 29 homeopaths were hospitalized after a mass overdose of the designer drug 2C-E. It is till unknown as to how the group ended up ingesting the banned substance rather than a homeopathic remedy.
The psychotropic substance is known to combine the euphoria of ecstasy or MDMA with the hallucinatory experiences of LSD. The substance has been illegal in Germany since last year. However the effect of the drug is highly dose-dependent and the 29 alternative medicine practitioners who were participating in the conference were found "staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps" outside the conference hall, reports said.
Over 150 emergency staff quickly arrived on the scene to administer sedatives and take blood tests. None of the victims reportedly suffered lasting physical damage. The exact scenario as to how the homeopaths ended up having large quantities of the substance is unknown. The substance is also known as Aquarust in Germany and is a Class A drug in the UK.
Reports state that several people attending one of the seminars that the designer drug's consumption had been part of a group experiment that healers had conducted on themselves.
But one of Germany's leading drug advisors, Torsten Passie, was skeptical. "It must have been a multiple overdose. That does not support the view that the people concerned took the hallucinogen knowingly," he told. "One has to assume that people were not told about the substance, its effects and risks before taking it."
A parent organization for homeopaths, the Association of German Healing Practitioners, which produces custom preparations for their patients containing minute quantities of a potent substance, said that the incident is not representative of its members.
"The organizers of this obscure conference are unknown to us and such events will not be tolerated by our Association. 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," it said in a statement.