Prince Harry’s praise for a drug has been criticised by the family of a woman who died after taking the psychedelic substance. The Duke of Sussex spoke to Dr Gabor Mate on Saturday in a live interview where topics also included his use of cocaine, marijuana and alcohol.
Harry said cocaine didn’t do anything for him and was more of “a social thing,” giving him a sense of belonging.
The Duke also revealed his use of psychedelics such as the plant-based drug ayahuasca, which can lead a user to hallucinate, as a way of helping him cope with the trauma of the death of his mother, Princess Diana.
Harry said: “It was the cleaning of the windscreen, cleaning of the windshield, the removal of life’s filters just as much as on Instagram, these layers of filters.
“It removed it all for me and brought me a sense of relaxation, release, comfort, a lightness that I managed to hold on to for a period of time.”
He added: “I started doing it recreationally and then started to realise how good it was for me, I would say it is one of the fundamental parts of my life that changed me and helped me deal with the traumas and pains of the past.”
Jennifer Spencer killed herself in 2019 after she suffered psychosis from the drug on a yoga retreat in Peru.
Her aunt, Fiona Chase, 73, from Andover, Hampshire, told The Sun: “He should not be speaking positively about this drug. It’s irresponsible because a lot of people look up to him.
“It worked for him, but it certainly didn’t work for Jenny. Like every drug, different people react differently.”
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After the inquest into Ms Spencer’s death, East Sussex assistant coroner James Healy-Pratt issued a prevention of future death report in which he issued an urgent alert to the NHS.
Mr Healy-Pratt warned ayahuasca, DMT and similar “Shamanic” hallucinogens were becoming more common in the UK. He called for more awareness among mental health professionals.
In the report, he wrote: “In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths.”
Tory MP Nigel Mills told the same publication: “Harry’s comments are clearly dangerous. What he said is a disgrace.”
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Mr Mills added: “If you have a coroner issuing warnings about this stuff then we should not have someone in such a high-profile position promoting and boasting about it. He is by no means a medical expert. His comments are outrageously stupid.”
Harry’s interview with Dr Mate came after the publication of the Duke’s best-selling memoir, Spare.
Dr Mate told him: “Reading the book, I diagnose you with ADD… I see it as a normal response to normal stress.”
He said this can be “healed at any age”.
ADD is a term used for people who have difficulties with concentration without the presence of symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), such as impulsiveness or hyperactivity.
A speaker and best-selling author, Dr Mate claims to have expertise on a range of topics including addiction, stress and childhood development.
According to reports, he is an outspoken supporter of decriminalising drugs and has allegedly used the Amazonian plant ayahuasca to treat patients suffering from mental illness.
The livestreamed event was produced by Penguin Random House in partnership with Barnes & Noble, Waterstones and Indigo Books & Music.
Tickets for the event cost £17, plus a £2.12 fee for UK customers.
The price included a copy of Spare, which became the fastest-selling non-fiction book in the UK since records began on its release in January.
For information, help and advice about drugs visit talktofrank.com
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