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May 24, 2024 Alfred P. Dalizon 93 views

THE Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency yesterday cautioned the public against the use, selling, distribution and cultivation of so-called “magic mushrooms” which is not only forbidden by the law but also poses major health risks.

The PDEA chaired by Director General Moro Virgilio M. Lazo explained that the key ingredient in “magic mushrooms” is Psilocybin which is sometimes referred to as “Katsubong” in some regions.

The agency said the ingredient is classified as an illegal substance in the Philippines under the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) updated list of Scheduled Controlled Substances.

It is also included in the Schedule I of the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

When ingested, psilocybin turns into psilocin, which can produce psychedelic effects similar to the hallucinogenic drug lysergic acid diethylamide or LSD.

The agency warning was aired as members of the PDEA Special Enforcement Service and Regional Office 1, with the support of the Bacnotan Municipal Police Station in La Union conducted a buy-bust operation inside the Donovan Elyu Beach Resort located in Barangay Galongen which resulted in the seizure of lollipops, chocolate bars and gummy bears suspected to have been infused with “magic mushrooms”, marijuana joints, the designer drug called Ecstasy, Kush which is a high-grade marijuana derivative and cocaine.

The recovered pieces of drug evidence were worth at least P145,000.

Arrested in the operation were seven suspects, one of them a 64-year-old car dealer from California, USA.

The others arrested include a 34-year-old social media influencer from Binondo, Manila who was the subject of the sting; a 39-year-old woman from Marikina City; a 39-year-old restaurant manager from Marikina City; a 45-year-old female Antipolo City resident; a 25-year-old woman from Bulacan; and a 24-year-old call center agent from Quezon City.

All the suspects are now facing charges for sale and administration of prohibited drugs under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

Based on investigation, the suspects are growing these mushrooms while actively promoting the use of ‘microdosing’ or a technique of taking a fraction of a regular dose for medicinal purposes.

They reportedly advertise the alleged “therapeutic benefits” of the mushrooms through social media, and promoted by known influencers and personalities as a form of soul therapy during yoga sessions.

PDEA is strengthening its intelligence monitoring of psychedelic mushrooms in the market and seeks the cooperation of the public in reporting such incidents.