Teenager, who died after drinking hallucinogen during tribal ritual, left on road

British man in remote rainforest area of Colombia when he took drug with local tribe

Mocoa is the capital of  Putumayo, which lies in south-west of Colombia, bordering Ecuador and Peru.

Mocoa is the capital of Putumayo, which lies in south-west of Colombia, bordering Ecuador and Peru.


The body of a British teenager who died after drinking a hallucinogen during a tribal ritual was left by the side of the road by two frightened local men, the Colombian authorities have said.

Henry Miller (19), from Bristol, was in a remote rainforest area of Colombia with other tourists when he took the drug with a local tribe.

Mr Miller, who was due to go to university in September, is understood to have taken Yage, which brings on vivid hallucinations and supposedly spiritual experiences.

He was found dead last Wednesday by a rural road outside Mocoa, the capital of the Putumayo region.

Ricardo Suarez, the Putumayo police commander, said Mr Miller, drank the psychedelic brew during a ritual led by a local shaman. After Mr Miller’s health deteriorated, the shaman sent him to a hospital on a motorcycle with two young local men, but he died en route, Mr Suarez said.

“Everything indicates that the two young men panicked and left him on the side of the road,” Mr Suarez said. He added that investigators have identified and questioned the two men and the shaman, but they have not yet been arrested for any crime. Colombian medical authorities said the cause of the death has not been definitely established.

Mr Miller’s family have paid tribute to a much loved son and brother.

His parents Elizabeth and David, and brother Freddie, said he had reacted to the plant infusion after the hostel he was staying at recommended he drink it.

In a statement to the Bristol Post , Mr Miller said: “The ritual involves a drink made from local plant infusions. We are awaiting further information from the Foreign Office, but it is likely that a reaction to this drink was the cause.”

“Henry was an adventurous person who travelled extensively,” said Mr Miller. “He was polite, popular with a great sense of humour and was very much loved by his family and his many friends. We hope we can all be given the time and space to come to terms with what has happened and to grieve for our son and brother.”

Yage, also known as Ayahuasca, is a psychedelic drink made from leaves and is used by native people in South America for healing and spiritual purposes. It is also known to cause nausea, diarrhoea and psychological distress.

The effects of the drug were documented by writer William S Burroughs in his book The Yage Letters , in which he wrote to poet Allen Ginsberg of his mind-altering experiences.