A 24-year-old backpacker taking a trip through Peru has been left dead after he ingested a powerful, yet dangerous, hallucinogenic plant during a ‘cleansing ceremony’ in the Amazon. Mathew Dawson-Clarke, of New Zealand, was exploring Peru and taking part in a week-long retreat, where young travelers can experience a spiritual revelation.
Ayahuasca, otherwise known as yage, contains a potent hallucinogen DMT and has the same type of effect as LSD and magic mushrooms. Unfortunately, the plant has been linked to numerous health dangers and at least two deaths prior to Mathew.
Speaking with the New Zealand Herald, Mathew’s father, Stuart Clarke, offered a tribute to his son: “Whilst Matt only reached 24 years, he achieved so much in his short life and we remain completely amazed and proud of his achievements. Matthew was no different to so many other Kiwis who decide to travel the world in pursuit of their dreams. It is devastating to us that he won’t be returning home with all the travel stories like many others have done before him. We want people to be aware of the potential dangers so other families do not have to go through what we’re going through.”
Yage is used in a lot of traditions and rituals, but is often considered unsafe and should not be used.