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Smoking Nutmeg to Get High?

4:21 PM, Nov 29, 2010   |    comments
(NBC)
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PHILADELPHIA -- A spice found in just about every kitchen is being called a gateway drug to a life of addiction. 

"It kinda gave me a woozy feeling," said a Philadelphia college student who wished to remain anonymous. She said she and her friends smoked nutmeg to catch a buzz when she was 15.

"We had a sleepover, and we were trying to get marijuana," she said.

When they couldn't, they turned to the internet and then, the kitchen cabinet.

"We went on Google and looked up things to smoke that you can use like from your house," she said. "So then nutmeg came up and my friend was like, 'I have nutmeg'."

She said they turned an apple into a pipe.

"And then you smoke it," she said. "You light it and then you inhale through the apple." She said the effect is similar to smoking marijuana.

Numerous YouTube videos show other teens trying the same thing. Jason Springate shot one such video in the UK. In a Skype interview, he described the frightening effects nutmeg had on his friend.

"He just took it down straight," Springate said. "His eyes just went very red. He got really really hot and he couldn't really talk for a while." 

Police say increased heart rate, blurred vision, and convulsions are just a few of many side effects from ingesting large amounts of nutmeg. 

While there is no law against abusing legal substances, drug counselor Kathryn Jarvie says getting high with nutmeg can be just as dangerous as any narcotic. Jarvie says that nutmeg can absolutely be a gateway drug. She warns parents not to get hung up on what kids are using.

"They should be more concerned about the fact that their kids seem hell bent on getting high with whatever is available," Jarvie said. "If nutmeg seems popular right now, it's because it's legal. It's cheap."

A small group of people are trying to make the spice illegal. They've joined an online petition to ban nutmeg as a hallucinogenic through Facebook.

(NBC)

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