A 19-year-old British tourist has died in southwestern Colombia after drinking yage, a psychoactive drug used by local indigenous tribes, authorities said Saturday.
Henry Miller, from Kingsdown in Bristol, took part in a tribal ritual on Wednesday rumored to be advertised as a “shaman experience” by a tourist hostel he was staying at.
Miller’s parents told the BBC that their youngest son had been traveling around South America for several months and was due to start at university in September.
Putumayo police commander Ricardo Suarez told the BBC that “the first hypothesis is an excessive consumption of this traditional drink – yage – native to indigenous communities.”
A fellow traveler told UK newspaper The Daily Mail that Miller had a bad reaction to the drug.
According to the police official, two men tried to take Miller to the hospital after he became ill, but he died on the way. The men allegedly panicked and left the body on the side of a remote road in the Mocoa municipality where the Brit’s remains were found by authorities.
The indigenous tribe involved in the ritual and the “two frightened young men” who left the body had now been identified, said Suarez.
The psychoactive yage, also called ayahuasca, is used by by several Amazon indigenous peoples to purge the body and mind.