Herbs and spices and nutmeg, oh my!


A 16-year-old boy from Greenwood, Ind., is recovering from a seizure after Johnson County authorities say he smoked a mix of various herbs laced with a synthetic cannabinoid.Fittingly, the drug is called “spice.”

While the drug is legal in the United States, other countries such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland have already taken measures to eliminate its distribution.

According to the packaging on the drug, it is marketed as herbal incense under legitimate-sounding brand names like “Spice Tropical Synergy.” Whether or not state legislatures will continue to allow the sale of psychotropic herbal incenses remains to be determined.

Last week, WISH-TV Indianapolis published a report on the drug, saying, “Parents, if you think your kids don’t know anything about it, ask them. They probably know all about spice.”

While this report quickly stirs up questions of yellow journalism, it is important to consider that it isn’t just the folks down at WISH-TV who are trying to sell a headline. The South Bend Tribune and USA Today have both published incendiary stories regarding youth use of spice.

The fact of the matter is that spice is just one of many legal psychotropic drugs available to any enterprising kid. Salvia divinorium, a much more potent hallucinogenic drug, is readily available at almost any tobacco store in Indiana.

Nutmeg, believe it or not, can actually lead to hallucinations when consumed in large doses.

The sad truth is that the newest drug fad makes great headlines.

Concerned parents read that their dear child could be throwing down tablespoons of nutmeg or smoking spice, and they go on a warpath against anyone supplying these mildly dangerous substances.

The problem is that most of these anti-drug crusaders ignore the fact that most children and teens have enough common sense not to smoke these drugs in the first place.

Bleach is one of the most dangerous substances in a household. In fact, it can be combined with ammonia to form chlorine gas, the chemical weapon of choice during World War I.

And yet, it is still widely accepted as being a normal part of every laundry room.

If kids are really tempted to try a drug such as marijuana, they will probably be able to get their hands on it.

Law enforcement should focus its efforts on regulating bona fide illegal drugs, not the knock-offs.

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