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Nutmeg overdose story: Helpful or harmful?

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published March 31, 2008

There seems to be no shortage of things in our society that people will use to get themselves high.

I was in amazement years ago reading stories and seeing photos of people huffing paint. Gold paint, I seem to recall, was the primo variety for whatever reason. And as a result, people -- especially stores -- became more alert to paint purchases.

Today, I got an email about kids using "Dust-Off" computer cleaner to get high. In one report, a Cleveland cop's son died of an overdose in 2005 due to this. It's off an email, so you're never quite sure of the truth, but two urban legend web sites confirm the story.

With these basic household items used to get high, it is important to share similar stories and stay informed on what seems to be an ever-changing situation.

I was glad we had a story this weekend about a mom in Niles whose son overdosed on nutmeg and had to be hospitalized. Read the story here.

A national official said the problem has been known for years, but a local drug official said he's never seen it in the 20-plus years he's been working here.

One reader called me today irate that we included too much information and essentially made a "how-to" story for would-be nutmeg abusers. 

I can't agree with the reader.

A mom was clueless. A counseling veteran was in the dark. We had folks around the newsroom who'd never heard of it. Perhaps we were the only ones. I doubt it. 

When you get into something as fluky as getting high on nutmeg, and the serious problems that can occur, I don't think we can be detailed enough to equip parents, store owners, school officials and whoever else on this potential problem.

Many objects in life have the ability to do harm if in the wrong hands. It's pretty much the guns debate. News stories follow a similar path.

Last week, we had a tragedy about a restaurant worker who was shot after being in a car wreck intentionally set by a driver intent on taking his money. In that event, I believe that many people learned of yet another way idiots can (and will) attack innocent folks. But I'm sure there were a few bad seeds who bumped into the article and saw a new tool for their crimes.

There are some circumstances where we can print too much info. But I don't think the nutmeg OD story is one of them. 

 


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