ABU DHABI // Youths are increasingly using nutmeg to get high, says a mental health professional.
Eva Jajonie, a psychotherapist in Abu Dhabi, noticed the trend in the past six months.
“They are getting high on it, they take it in high dosages,” she said yesterday at a child and family behavioural health conference in the capital.
Ms Jajonie heard reports of youths dissolving nutmeg in water to drink or to inhale, a practice that is well known in schools.
She has dealt with four such cases involving students between 11 and 12 years old in the past six months.
“Most of these kids have family issues,” she said.
Dr Ayman Kodera, a psychiatrist who specialises in addiction medicine at the National Rehabilitation Centre, said some youths started using unconventional drugs such as nutmeg, solvents and gas, from an early age.
“It starts as something recreational, where a little child can just go to the supermarket to get it without having to know a dealer,” he said.
“It then can become a gateway to other drugs. [These drugs] can damage many centres of cognitive function.”
Speech therapist Laylan Awad said she had heard of students abusing nutmeg to get high. And she saw nine such cases in the past two years.
“There was one child who actually overdosed on it. He was gone to the point where he had to be hospitalised. The whole episode lasted for two weeks,” said Ms Awad.
“They want an escape, a means of forgetting about their problems.
“And when you see the family situation at home, it’s just horrible.”
Citing research, another official from the National Rehabilitation Centre said youths in the region were abusing drugs at increasingly younger ages, with some as young as 10.
Source: uae news