Snorting Nutmeg: Will Teens Really Do Anything To Get Wasted?
Her: “Do you want to talk about drugs?”
Me: “No, didn’t we just have this conversation a month ago?”
Her: “Yes, but…”
Me: “I’m not going to do drugs. Don’t worry.”
And that would be the end of it. I didn’t really realize why she did it back when I was 13, but now that I’m 27, I understand. That constant stream of conversation kept us talking about drugs and ingrained the phrase, “Just say no,” into my brain—without her ever really having to say it. I didn’t appreciate it back then, but looking back, I appreciate it now. So if you’re a parent and you don’t think your kids are latching onto the things you’re saying to them, even if just subliminally, take it from me: They are.
Thing is, I worry about having that same talk with my kids someday. Things are different now than they were when I was growing up. They’re even different than they were just a few years ago when I was in college. For starters, “drugs” doesn’t just refer to weed anymore. It doesn’t just refer to just cocaine, speed, PCP or heroin, either. In fact, it’s doesn’t just refer to all the drugs that used to be printed on the sheets of paper that D.A.R.E. officers (remember them?) handed out to classrooms full of kids in order to try and detract them for doing drugs.
“Drugs” these days could literally mean anything—and you don’t necessarily have to be on a street corner anymore to find them. First, teenagers started getting high off their grandparents’ supply. Boosting a couple of the Percocets grandpa uses to relax his aching back was no big deal. Then, they started huffing different kinds of fumes in order to catch a buzz—and that became relatively accepted among teens who couldn’t get their hands onto any of the illegal goodies that are out there. And now? Well, it seems kids have gone even more extreme. Recent reports reveal that they’ve taken to snorting nutmeg—yes, nutmeg!—in order to get high. It seems snorting large amounts of it can have hallucinogenic effects on the body and produce a high that you don’t even need to leave your own kitchen to get.
Videos of kids using it have already started popping up all over the Internet (go punch “nutmeg” into a YouTube search to see what we’re talking about), giving parents yet another reason to worry about their kids. Smoking, eating and drinking large quantities of it release a compound called Myristicin into the body that can cause a feeling of euphoria. And the possible side effects include vomiting, dizziness and even convulsions.
So, after hearing this news, the question begs to be asked: Will kids stop at nothing to get high? Just a week after the FDA announced that they’re finally ready to put an indefinite stop to the sale of Four Loko—a powerful concoction containing caffeine and alcohol—the young people in this country have once again stepped up and proven that they will not be deterred when it comes to having fun with drugs. And if that means rummaging through the kitchen cabinets and snorting all types of household products in order to do it, then so be it.
This is obviously troubling for a number of reasons. It means that kids aren’t just doing drugs anymore; they’re actually inventing new ways to get high. It also means that the war on drugs—long thought to be a lost cause—really is a lost cause. And it means means that, much as conservatives folks might hate to admit it, weed is the least of America’s drug problems right now.
Above all, though, it means that parenting just got a hell of a lot more difficult. Once upon a time, you could sit your kids down and talk to them about drugs. You could talk about the effects of peer pressure and tell your kids that there was going to come a time when they had to decide whether or not they wanted to try drugs. You could school them to the dangers of drug use. And you could say, “Yes, but…” after they told you they were tired of talking about drugs and they would soothe all of your fears by saying, “I’m not going to do drugs. Don’t worry.”
But today, a tablespoon of something you used to bake cookies last night could be all they need to get hooked on the euphoric feeling that drugs deliver. How sad is that? When it comes to getting high, it’s safe to say that today’s teenagers have reached a new low.