Canadian Kills Briton During 'Bad Trip' on Hallucinogenic Tea

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A Huni Kui Indian prepares a drink of ayahuasca, also known as nixi pae or yage, to use in a healing ritual in the village of Novo Segredo along the Envira river of Brazil's northwestern Acre state, March 8, 2014. Lunae Parracho/Reuters

A 29-year-old Canadian man killed a British man after they both drank a hallucinogenic tea called ayahuasca at a spiritual retreat in the Peruvian Amazon, local authorities said on Thursday.

According to Normando Marques, a police chief in the region, Canadian Joshua Andrew Freeman Stevens stabbed Unais Gomes in self defense during a ceremony near the jungle city of Iquitos, northern Peru, on Wednesday night, reports the Guardian.

Amazonian tribes in Peru and Brazil use ayahuasca, also known as yage, as a spiritual or medicinal tool. It is not normally associated with violent behavior.

A combination of an Amazonian vine and plants mixed with the drug dimethyltryptamine to give users a psychedelic high, ayahuasca was brought to the attention of the masses in 1963 when Beat Generation authors William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg described taking it in their novel The Yage Letters. Since then, people from across the world have flocked to Iquitos to sample the brew's hallucinogenic properties.

"[Ayahuasca] might be folkloric, spiritual or whatever else," the police chief told Sky News. "But that doesn't mean it isn't a drug that dramatically alters your state of mind."

According to Sky News, a local police source who wishes to remain anonymous said Gomes first tried attacked Stevens with a knife from the kitchen of the Phoenix Ayahuasca alternative health center. Stevens then killed Gomes with the same knife, stabbing him in the chest and stomach.

Asked about the reports of the incident, Phoenix Ayahuasca manager Tracie Thornberry told the Guardian by email: "I'm aware of the situation but probably don't know any more than you at this point. I don't want to make any statement as I'm unaware of all the facts."