Nutmeg Treated as Drug for Hallucinogenic High


"Now, people are tweeting and YouTubing, and the information travels faster than the speed of light," said Lopez. "These are the kind of stories that get out quicker than you blink twice."

Bernstein noted the spice's recent publicity, and said the media can play a part in bringing attention to these experimental drugs.

"Like most drugs of abuse, they all have a cycle and all go in and out of being popular," said Bernstein. "Primarily this is a young person's drug of abuse because it's cheap and accessible and, for the most part, legal."

Nutmeg and the DEA

Currently, the FDA has no plans to regulate the spice.

For a substance to be controlled or illegal, the Drug Enforcement Administration considers certain factors, including impact, pattern of use, and potency of the drug.

Among the factors, the DEA writes: In evaluating existing abuse, the DEA Administrator must know not only the pattern of abuse, but whether the abuse is widespread. In reaching a decision, the Administrator considers the economics of regulation and enforcement attendant to such a decision.

Because the side effects are so wretched, and because one has to ingest so much of the spice to get a high, doctors said that those who try the spice usually do not try it again. Because of this, controlling the spice would not see great benefits.

A Parental Heads-Up

But doctors said parents should be aware of household items that can be used to get high, including nutmeg, aerosol cans, magic markers and computer dusting products.

"It's difficult for us to monitor our teenagers in the few hours that we see them," said Lopez. "We don't know what they're doing all the time, so it's important to watch for the kind of behaviors that raise red flags."

If a child suddenly becomes withdrawn or segregates himself from the group, Lopez said these behavioral problems deserve attention.

"It's important for parents to be aware to put this stuff away and keep an eye on their kids," said Lopez. "Because really, who's going to expect that little Mary or Johnnie saw something like this on YouTube and think, 'oh nutmeg can make me high, I should try that.'"

If you or someone you know has poison or drug concerns, call the Poison Control Center telephone number at 1-800-222-1222 to connect to your local poison center. People can remain anonymous when walking into the center, calling or doing a live chat.

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