The Collier County Sheriff's office in Naples, Florida has issued a strange bulletin
warning that American kids are experimenting with a new way to get high. It's called Jenkem, and it involves sniffing the fermenting gas from human sewage. You put the sewage in a bottle topped with a balloon to catch the gas. You then inhale the gas which gives you a euphoric high. In other words, you're sniffing fermenting human feces.
Jenkem appears to be real. Back in 1999 the BBC reported
that street children in the slums of Zambia were using this method to get high:
Nobody knows exactly where the idea for making Jenkem came from, but it has been used by street-children in Lusaka for at least two years. Nason Banda of the Drug Enforcement Agency is not proud when he says that it is unique to Zambia. He shudders when he sees the boys at the sewage ponds, scavenging for faecal matter to make Jenkem.
However, are American children now turning to Jenkem to get high? Unlikely. David Emery of About.com
has done some research to debunk this latest drug scare. He notes that the Sheriff's office has confirmed that it issued the bulletin, however Emery discovered that the pictures in the bulletin come from a thread on Totse.com, in which one guy claimed to have tried Jenkem, and supplied the pictures as proof. But the same guy later admitted
he was just joking. The fermenting feces in the picture were really a dough made from flour and water and rolled in Nutella. The urine was beer and water. Emery notes:
It is plain to see that directly or indirectly, the author of the Collier County Sheriff's bulletin based his or her presentation on faulty Internet sources, borrowing photos from a message board posting that was later admitted to be hoax, and quoting invented "facts" from a Website noted for its far-out satirical chicanery.
He also theorizes that, "The word "Jenkem" may be a corruption of "Genkem," which is the brand name of a glue manufactured in South Africa reputed to be very popular among drug users. In some places "Genkem" has come to refer generically to any form of glue or solvent inhaled as an intoxicant."