News / Utah / 

Poison Control Center, police warn of nutmeg abuse

Poison Control Center, police warn of nutmeg abuse

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Nutmeg is drawing attention across the country as the latest "legal high." The Utah Poison Control Center and local police say it's really not that new, but it can be very dangerous.

Videos on YouTube show college students and teens smoking nutmeg.

"I feel so weird right now. It's almost like smoking pot, but way different," a teen says in one video. "I'm not hallucinating, I just feel way different."

A man in another video cautions nutmeg is "an adults thing" after taking a smoke.

"You can, in fact, get high off of nutmeg," he slurs.

At the Utah Poison Control Center, director Barbara Insley Couch is concerned the videos are fueling a resurgence.

"Word of mouth spreads very well," Crouch said. "With the internet these ideas get perpetuated throughout and kids experiment."

Crouch told KSL Newsradio Tuesday the center had only received a dozen calls about nutmeg over the past decade, but it's difficult to gauge how widespread usage is based on those calls.

"We don't tend to get calls about things if there aren't any problems," Crouch said.

Nutmeg abuse can lead to serious health consequences, including seizures and heart problems.

"It can alter blood pressure, it can alter heart rate -- which could lead to rhythm disturbances in the heart," Crouch said.

Vomiting is common in less serious cases.

Unified Police Drug Court Supervisor Sgt. Scott Van Wagoner said he has seen little abuse locally, except with experimental teens.

"You're going to damage yourself," he warned. "It's dangerous."

Sometimes, Van Wagoner said, teens will try to smoke oregano, too.

"Why put your health at risk by ingesting this for anything but its intended purpose?" Van Wagoner questioned. "My advice is don't experiment with anything. Life is enough of a high. You don't need to be out there trying illicit substances ... or nutmeg."


Most recent Utah stories

Related topics

Andrew Adams


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast