Sunday People

Anguish of mum whose student son was found drowned after bad trip


Mum Laura with Antoine exploit that. Laura’s son Antoine was studying music at Edinburgh College when he died in 2016.

He had disappeare­d after drinking mushroom tea with a friend and suffered a “bad trip”, and was found dead in a loch some five weeks later. A postmortem found psilocin in his body.

Antoine’s friend Scott Mckerral, who gave him the concoction, pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of a fungus containing psilocin and was given an 18-month supervisio­n order and 210 hours of community work.

From her home in France, Laura told us: “I want to prevent another family going through what I’ve gone through – I want people to know how dangerous these drugs are. I can’t believe it’s legal.

“I know what can happen. People can become vulnerable when they take them and can lose control. That is the way my son died. The sellers of these spores are putting people in danger.

“To them it’s just a business. The government needs to change the law.”

Harry Sumnall, professor in substance use at Liverpool John Moores University, explained: “Spore kits don’t contain any fungus with these chemicals. This means that sale or possession of spore kits is not against the law.

“However, once people start to use the kit and grow magic mushrooms they are committing drug production and possession offences.” The owner of one of many websites selling the spores defended the trade, telling our investigat­or: “We neither sell nor grow, nor would we advocate our customers to sell or grow, magic mushrooms.”

Daniel Quick, 41, who runs Cornwallba­sed Orangutan Trading Co – which was not involved in Antoine’s death – markets spores with names such as Penis Envy, Aztec, and Jedi Mind F***.

He added: “Just to be clear, Orangutan Trading Co sells mushroom spores imported to the UK for mycologica­l [scientific] use.

This is perfectly legal.

“Whilst it is true that on our website I describe the law on magic mushroom spores as a ‘grey area’ and that the law is ‘dumb’, we abide by the law and respect the law in everything we do and we would always advocate our customers to do the same.” The firm

Orangutan website

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