Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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South America: Ayahuasca tea

In some South American countries, especially Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, shamans and other individuals offer ‘spiritual cleansing’ rituals which involve serving Ayahuasca tea. This tea contains dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which is a hallucinogen. While not illegal, Ayahuasca tourism is not regulated and does present certain risks.  

There have been reports of psychological damage, assault, theft and rape of people under the influence of the hallucinogen in Ayahuasca tea as well as deaths of foreign tourists.  Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with limited or no access to medical facilities. 

New Zealanders are strongly advised to carefully consider these risks and potential side effects before participating in Ayahuasca tea rituals.

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