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Holiday high: Snorting nutmeg

Ingesting large amounts of nutmeg can cause hallucinations. (Photographer:  Marc Jackson)
Ingesting large amounts of nutmeg can cause hallucinations. (Photographer: Marc Jackson)
Reported by: Paul Merrill

Videographer: M. Jackson
Editor: M. Jackson
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Updated: 1/24/2011 9:19 pm
There's a bizarre new trend among teenagers that's turning a popular spice into a way to get high.

Videos of kids eating, snorting, and smoking nutmeg are appearing on YouTube.

"I'd rather have it in eggnog," jokes Russ Myer of Albany.

Many people are surprised that anyone would even think to try to get high using the spice.

Nutmeg contains myristicin, a substance that when ingested in large doses, can have the same effects as marijuana and even cause hallucinations.

George Fredericks is the Director of Pharmacy at Albany Memorial and Samaritan Hospitals. He says getting high using nutmeg comes with some pretty nasty side effects.

"You're going to have such a bad headache, you're going to be so nauseous, you're not going to want to do this again," he explains. "It's going to hurt a lot more than you're going to get a high."

Fredericks says ingesting the household spice can prove deadly.

"Take a small female that weighs below 100 pounds and they take some of this, they could wind up having heart palpitations, they could have eventual dehydration and death," said Fredericks.

Fredericks said trying to get high using nutmeg is probably the sign of a bigger problem.

"A child is withdrawn," he says. "There's some sort of problem going on whether it be school, home, or whatever. They're going to look to get away. How am I going to pull away? Are they going to do that through the medicine cabinet or, now, are they going to do it through the spice cabinet?"
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