Police investigating a mass homeopathy at a conference in Germany are unsure whether the incident was an accident or an experiment gone wrong.
Emergency services (a total of 160 police, fire fighters, and ambulance staff and a helicopter) were called to a meeting in Handeloh, south of Hamburg, last Friday, to find a group of 29 alternative healers were hallucinating, staggering around, groaning and rolling on the grass.
Police spokesman Lars Nicklesen told reporters that investigators believe a psychedelic drug was to blame but they are not sure how or why it was taken. The delegates are now clear of physical danger, but consequences may still follow after investigations are concluded.
Police suspect the group took 2C-E, known in Germany as Aquarust, a drug which heightens perceptions of colours and sounds and in higher doses triggers hallucinations, psychosis and severe cramps.
The drug was banned last year by Germany’s health ministry due to its highly addictive nature and unknown side effects.
Staff at the conference centre had all gone home at the time of the incident last Friday, so they were unable to shed light into what had happened.
A spokeswoman for the Tanzheimat Inzmühlen conference centre told theHamburger Abendblatt newspaper: “We’re absolutely shocked, we’ve only had good experiences in the past with the group.”
The newspaper reported that in one clinic, the Asklepios in Harburg, hallucinating patients had to be strapped down to a bed to prevent them causing danger to others.
“They were completely off their heads,” a spokesman for the clinic said.
The drug 2C-E is one of the hundreds developed by the American chemist Alexander Shulgin, known as the ‘godfather of ecstasy’.