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Parents warned as youngsters try ‘nutmeg challenge’ to get high

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Tygerberg Hospital was warned parents to be vigilant as more Cape Town youths are participating in the ‘nutmeg challenge’.

Cape Town – Tygerberg Hospital was warned parents to be vigilant as more Cape Town youths are participating in the ‘nutmeg challenge’.

The Tygerberg Hospital Poisons Information Centre said that it has come to their attention that a new dangerous trend has been making the rounds on social media, which has been identified as the nutmeg challenge. 

Youths are challenged to mix ground nutmeg and water and then drinking it to get high. 

In a statement released on Thursday, the hospital said that there is a willingness among some youth to experiment; if they hear about something, to try it.

“There is a tendency for some youths to try and see how it works. They say, ‘Someone told me if you do this then you can get high,’ and sometimes it can be dangerous.”

Director of the Tygerberg Hospital Poisons Information Centre, Carine Marks said: “Ingesting or inhaling large amounts of nutmeg, more than two tablespoons, can result in hallucinations and delusions and feelings of extreme heaviness in the arms and legs. There may be severe anxiety and a sense of dread. It could result in psychotic episodes that include delusions and hallucinations.

“Repeated use of nutmeg to get high can also lead to chronic psychosis, characterised by impaired thinking and emotions. Patients with profound depression or agitation, or persistent hallucinations or vomiting should be admitted, because symptoms can last for greater than 24 hours,” Marks said.

Experts believe nutmeg makes it a go-to substance for children looking to experiment with drugs, because it is easily accessible. Just a few spoonful’s can be fatal. The challenge is not just to inform children of the substances, but what the side effects are. Making sure they understand those consequences and what that can do to their lives and building a sense of healthy habits during this lockdown period.

Cape Argus