Brazilian drug ayahuasca found in Britain

September 3, 2010 | by | 24 Comments

Police fear a new drug is set to sweep Britain after it was found in large quantities for a second time – a powerful hallucinogenic used by an obscure cult in BRAZIL.

The mind-bending drug – called ayahuasca – is used by worshippers of a religious movement in South America ”to get in touch with their inner selves”.

It comes in liquid form and is imported from Brazil where it is used as a ‘sacrament’ in the Santo Daime church – a blend of Christianity and South American and African languages.

The narcotic contains high doses of dimethyltryptamine – known as DMT – which has been found to send people on a ‘trip’ for up to eight DAYS.

Police have now seized a large quantity of the drug – designated Class A in Britain – following a raid at a home in the village of Dartington, Devon.

A 45-year-old Japanese woman and a 48- year-old local man were arrested and he has claimed to be senior member of the Santo Daime church.

It is only the second time the drug has ever been found in the UK and officers fear it could be about to flood the illegal drug market.

Reports suggest that the religion of Santo Daime – which means ‘holy give me’ – has surfaced in London, Devon, Cornwall, Northern Ireland, Wales and Yorkshire.

Det Sgt Staurt Gilroy of Devon and Cornwall Police said: ”At around 8.45am on Wednesday officers executed a warrant at an address in the village.

”A 48-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman were arrested at the address. Items seized from the premises are believed to be Ayahuasca and it is within this substance that the Class A drug DMT is contained.

”One of the detainees claims to be one of the senior members of the religion Santo Daime. Ayahuasca is the ‘Sacrament’ used by the Santo Daime church in the same way wine is used in Christian ceremonies.

”The drug is a psychotropic hallucinogenic used by members of the religion to get in touch with their inner selves.

”It is too early to say if further investigations need to be carried out or other people need to be interviewed. At the moment we don’t know how potent the drug is.”

The brown liquid found by police is being stored in special bio hazard bags and will be tested for its content.

Ayahuasca is a prepared using a specific South American vine mixed with leaves of various shrubs containing DMT.

Experts say that while none of the ingredients causes a psychedelic effect on its own, the combination causes a powerful high.

The church was born in the 1930s out of experiences of a Brazilian rubber-tapper named Raimundo Irineu Serra or Mestre (Master) Irineu, as followers call him.

In 1930 he was given his first taste of ayahuasca by medicine men and supposedly spent eight solitary days and nights in the rain forest experiencing visions of the Virgin Mary.

Police say both suspects have been released on police bail to return to Torquay Police Station on December 1.

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Comments (24)

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  1. Matthew Meyer says:

    What's with all the scare quotes? This is a legitimate religious practice, not a spooky cult. The Brazilian government has been aware of these groups for decades, and there is even a process underway to consider them part of Brazil's cultural heritage. Educate yourselves! This is not a drug craze.

  2. Al says:

    It is 2000 years since we crucified a great teacher of Truth, our Lord Jesus Christ. Santo Daime is the expression of this same energy in the modern world and here we are persecuting its disciples and crucifying their teacher and sacrament in the same ignorant way. We live in a society where we are permitted to poison ourselves with alcohol yet seek inner knowledge by the use of herbs with at least a 5000 year history and risk arrest and denigration We look around and see the poverty of modern consumerism and social decay yet punish those who seek and live lives of holy inspiration. Whilst we devastate the forests and drive indigenous people from their land, we arrest anyone who wishes to partake in the sacred knowledge of .these people and the forest which supports them. Will we ever learn?

  3. lua says:

    it is a deeply revered religious sacrement, it is completely ridiculous to suggest it could flood the drug market..

  4. susan says:

    Your article is journalism at it's worst. sensationalist poorly researched narrow minded and limiting the scope of people to really find the truth through information and investigation. I suggest you research ayahuasca in it's shamanic/religious context as a healer plant, a spirit medicine and step outside of your limited cultural judgements concerning drugs. Wake up free your mind from the shackles you choose to imprison yourself with. There is much more to the world than meets the materialists eye if your interested in the truth beyond words seek and maybe you will find there is more to this than you choose to represent.

  5. Sparks12 says:

    Martin,

    To describe Ayahuasca as a 'mind-bending drug' and the Santo Diame religion as an 'obscure cult' is erroneous, naive and frankly quite offensive to its practitioners.

    Inaccurate and sensationalist reporting like this is doing neither yourself nor your readers any favours at all.

    This type of scaremongering really has no place in responsible journalism.

  6. Nicole says:

    Nobody has gone on an 8 day trip from DMT; my guess is the person who wrote this article confused it with datura. Do today's news outlets even use fact checkers at all anymore?

  7. veronica says:

    This is a sacred sacrament used in ritual and healing, it should never be confused with addictive drugs, it is nothing of the sort.. This healing medicine is recognised by the Government of Brazil as a healing medicine, it comes from the forest and has been used for generations by the tribes whose knowledge of the forest has been given to the west in the form of pharmaceutical healing drugs. Use of this medicine by experience practioners should be encouraged and supported. Please also note that the class A 'drug' DMT is produced by our own pineal glands anyway.

  8. Martin, if you have to write, please do your research correctly. There is no ayahuasca anywhere in the World that lasts 8 days.

    Now you're frightening people needlessly. The effect of this sacred medicina is for 4 hours maximum but the goodness created from having taken it can last a lifetime…. and then some.

  9. Oflodor70 says:

    “Police fear a new drug is set to sweep Britain ”

    This is highly unlikely!!! Ayahuasca is not a party drug and is not prone to abuse. Very few people have ever drunk it, and many more actually fear it! It provokes deep introspection that many find uncomfortable, particularly those who live in this modern b.s society of lies, poison and media hypnosis. Also, it’s not readily transportable “on the street” and just won’t fetch a high enough price to attract the drug-pushers. So relax =)

    “The narcotic contains high doses of dimethyltryptamine – known as DMT – which has been found to send people on a ‘trip’ for up to eight DAYS.”

    This is a complete fallacy and poor journalism. A strong dose of Ayahuasca can last several hours, not days. The well-being that is generally felt after, however, CAN last up to eight days =)

    “At the moment we don’t know how potent the drug is.”

    Daime, which is drunk in a consecrated environment by the Santo Daime followers, contains a much, much lower percentage of the prohibited alkaloid DMT than a normal Ayahuasca preparation so as to permit worshippers to stand, dance and sing for up to 12 hours at a time, which is no mean feat! These are known as Works and are far from the recreational abuse that modern government prefers to support.

    “The brown liquid found by police is being stored in special bio hazard bags…”

    Ha-haa! Nice bit of humour there =)

  10. Little light says:

    This is poor journalism…
    “The narcotic contains high doses of dimethyltryptamine – known as DMT – which has been found to send people on a ‘trip’ for up to eight DAYS.”

    This is completely untrue, there has never been any reported evidence to spupport this and from a psychopharmacological perspective impossible due to the fact that the alkaliods in the plant extract metablize within 6-8 hours in the human body. Get your facts straight please, the release of infromation to the public requires responsability.

    “It is only the second time the drug has ever been found in the UK and officers fear it could be about to flood the illegal drug market.”

    The drug has never been used as a drug of abuse, and has never attracted the black market. It has been worked with illegally yes… just as it was illegal to be jewish in germany during world war two.

    “Experts say that while none of the ingredients causes a psychedelic effect on its own, the combination causes a powerful high.”

    This is also untrue…
    Ayahuasca or Damie as they call it in santo damie have quite a few alkaliods in them all of which are psychoactive on their own. Harmine, Harmaline, and tertrohydroharmine are legal in most countries and found within many health food supplements and are in the right quantities powerful natural antidepressents. In higher doses they have been used to rid people of opiate, and cocaine addiction and have hypnogogic action creating dream like imagery in very high and unpleasent doses.

    The santo damie is currently a legally recognized church in the united states and there has been no harm or threat due to the use of ayahuasca in their ceremonies.

  11. Sovereign says:

    ”It is too early to say if further investigations need to be carried out or other people need to be interviewed. At the moment we don’t know how potent the drug is.”

    Confess your ignorance and respond appropriately. Is really there any doubt that further investigations will be carried out? As for the “need”, if one admittedly does not know how powerful this “drug” is, wouldn’t it be prudent to cure one’s own ignorance first?

    “Police fear” and so you should too? What happens if they don’t investigate it further? What does that imply? Sanctioned ignorance? Or perhaps they’re lying and they really do know how powerful it is and that’s what they allegedly fear.

    After all if you’re running a de facto corporate police state and all of a sudden the chattel subjects and citizens start waking up, dissolving their fictional-legal boundaries, and become aware of their condition of servitude and aware of self. To draw the direct link between their own apathy and the atrocities carried out by the state on behalf of it’s apathetic tax payers. This might cut into your profit margin a little bit since you have no legitimacy anyway.

  12. Junared says:

    I’m not really gonna get into it, since others already have for me, but yeah, there’s a large amount of false information in here and by the way you present it I feel you’re trying to twist the stuff in full support of the drug policies that have done ten fold more damage to the people in our societies overall than any other drug has.

    I could really rant right now but I’m sure you’re gonna get a good lashing from everyone else for the next few days.

  13. FruitFairy says:

    The Ayahuasca herbal medicine translated as Vine of the Soul has been used by the tribes of the Amazon for over a thousand years. It is used to connect with the spiritual world and common people of the Amazon these days still visit the Medicine Men/Women (curanderos) to obtain cures for physical, mental, emotional & spiritual disease. It is not a drug of abuse and DMT is found in almost all living beings. Large amounts of DMT are released into the human brain naturally at birth and at death.

  14. Be says:

    It’s a shame that this story has been covered by an inadequate journalist. DMT is a naturally-occurring product, found in our brains, grass, frogs and root bark. Our bodies metabolise it quickly and cleanly and there is no question of it lasting longer than a few hours when taken orally (and less when smoked).

    The intense, introverted nature of the effect lend themselves to communing with nature. DMT will never be a party drug and has a low tendency for abuse (psychedelic tryptamines have no past correlation with abuse).

    Nothing is going to ‘sweep the country’ except further shoddy journalism.

  15. Robin says:

    I can’t really say any more than has been said. It’s disappointing that anyone could write something like this article, but hardly surprising. All we can do is respond in a calm fashion as has been done – nobody can really be expected to understand the merits until they have experienced psychedelics first hand.

  16. Robin says:

    I can’t really say any more than has been said. It’s disappointing that anyone could write something like this article, but hardly surprising. All we can do is respond in a calm fashion as has been done – nobody can really be expected to understand the merits until they have experienced psychedelics first hand.

  17. jubsta says:

    Correct me if I am wrong.. DMT is produced by our brains every night whilst we sleep. Perhaps our brains should be illegal too?

  18. Gary says:

    If you take something that heals you inside out” is that illegal? Should we then close down Mc Donalds because they only sell plastic food. Isn’t that bad?
    In many countries Daime is used as a healing process, for the ones that lost hope in getting cured by the medicine.

  19. Vekkerman says:

    This propaganda is far more of a concern than any ceremony involving ayahuasca. It clearly originates from a fear-based viewpoint deeply immersed in ignorance and blind acquiescence to a legal system that has a history or poor judgements. It is a pity the author of this one-sided tirade didn’t do the most basic of research before unquestioningly supporting the authoritarian position. A great place to begin would be that most reputable of publications, National Geographic, which featured a well balanced account of an ayahuasca retreat. Link here… http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/0603/features/peru.html
    Lazy, lazy journalism.

  20. Bobisyouruncle says:

    pure propaganda, ayahuasca has helped everyone who has used it, look it up and see for yourself

  21. Mick says:

    The truly mind-bending phenomenon is why the UK government allows radical Middle Eastern clerics who openly vow harm to others to operate freely while it persecutes members of a small Christan fringe religion from Brazil whose only “crime” is to consume a psychoactive substance SOLEY for the purpose of deepening their spiritual awareness. This is a perversity of the first order.

  22. tinjacket says:

    it is ok martin just try again until your current story lines up with the one you wrote in another parallel universe. I believe it had something to do with serpentine skin grafting metaphysically re-wallpapering the holy shrine that is your “inner shelf”.

  23. Phjajo says:

    any updates on this story

  24. John says:

    It is listed in this “article” as a narcotic … This is false Ayahuasca is a DMT compound a narcotic is a powerful pain killer normally an opiate .. ie cocaine … Ayahuasca is nothing like this .. It is not a recreational high this is sometimes an unpleasant event as self awareness can be!
    This is a poor example of journalism.
    Yet more knee jerk scare mongering !

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