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United Nations Drug Control Program
Ayahuasca Policy Fax
January 17, 2001
contributed by Arno Adelaars (Arno's Homepage)

  1. Image of original FAX

Vienna International Center PO Box 500, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
Telephone: +43-1-28060, Telefax +43-1-26080-5857 / 5858
Email: Internet Address:

To: Mr. Lousberg, Chief
Date: 17 January 2001
Ref: INCB-PSY 10/01
File: 141/1 NET
Address: Inspectarate for Health Care
Ministry of Public Health
Den Haag - The Nethedands
Fax: 00031-70-340 71 59

From: Herbert Chaepe, Secretery
International Narcotics Control Board
Subject: International control of the preparation "ayahuasca"

Dear Mr. Lousberg,

I would like to refer to your fascimile of 20 december 2000 concerning the traditional use of controlled substances, in particular the use of a preparation called "ayahuasca" by religious groups in the Netherlands.

The above mentioned issue was consulted by the INCB Secretariat with the Scientific Section and the Legal Advisory Section of the United Nations International Drug Control Programma (UNDCP). It is our understanding that "ayahuasca" is the common name for a liquid preparation (decoction) for oral use prepared fromk plants indigenous to the Amazon basin of South America, essentially the stem bark of different species of a jungle vine (Banisteriopsis sp.) and the tryptamine-rich plant Psychotria Virides. According to the scientific literature, ayahuasca commonly contains a number of psychoactive alkoloids, including DMT which is a substance included in Schedule I of the the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances.

No plants (natural materials) containing DMT are at present controlled inder the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Consequently, preparations n(e.g.decoctions) made of these plants, including ayahuasca are not under international control and, therefore, not subject to any of the articles of the 1971 Convention.

Yours sincerely,

Herbert Schaepe
Secretary of the Board