By Spela Krajnc and Anna Severinenko
Smart shops owners have told The Spoke that the sale of hallucinogen magic truffles, a by-product of the illegal magic mushrooms, reach their peak in Groningen during KEI-week, the yearly organized orientation week for new students.
With over 5 thousand participants, the KEI-week is the biggest event for introducing international students to the city of Groningen and usually takes place in mid-August, this year from 15th to 19th. Local students are guiding groups of a dozen new students for the purpose of introducing them to the city and university.
Available and affordable in many smart shops in town, magic truffles are the legal version of the otherwise banned magic mushroom, containing the same psychoactive compounds psilocin and psilocybin, according to hallucinogens.com.
After a French girl died by jumping off a bridge under the mushroom’s influence, the so called magic mushrooms were illegalized in the Netherlands in 2008. Nevertheless, the Dutch law left a legal gap for the distribution and consumption of magic truffles, even though the chemical composition and the effect are the same.
“During KEI-week we sell much more truffles to students, especially Dutch students who buy it for their group of unexperienced internationals,” says Klydee Eduard, the owner of De Hollandia shop. The increased truffle distribution to KEI-groups was also confirmed by the owner of another prominent shop called Energy.
Categorized as food and not as a drug in the Netherlands, the normally not dangerous truffles could develop a fatal, uncontrolled effect when consumed in party conditions such as lack of sleep and food combined with alcohol. “Alcohol enhances the activity of the component in mushrooms and truffles, comparable to an overdose and can lead to depression,” says Dr. Herman Woerdenbag, expert of medicinal plants at the University of Groningen.