Dutch health service statistics have shown that the number of incidents linked to the use of hallucinogenic mushrooms in Amsterdam rose with most cases involving foreign tourists, mostly male under the age of 24.

Last year, medical intervention was needed for 149 incidents, which is an increase of 19 % in comparison to previous year. Eighty people were taken to hospital.

The Dutch government announced that it would present a bill to ban the mushrooms following a proposal from the ministers of health and justice to prohibit the growth and sale of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Most deputies agreed to support the legislation.

In March last year, a 17-year-old French girl who had taken mushrooms died when she jumped off a bridge in the Dutch capital. No formal link was made between her death and the use of the drug though.

Other reports of people becoming paranoid and aggressive after taking the drug have also been made. 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 but it could also mean that The Netherlands would lose its statue of the most drug-liberal city.

The use and possession of cannabis that was decriminalized in 1976 has not been mentioned in this reported. Cannabis is sold in so-called coffee shops under license, in small doses but we don't know for how long since there are many links to depression and other mood disorders related to this drug abuse.