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Jenkem!
Status: Unwarranted Drug Scare
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."
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 08, 2007
Comments (12)
More from the Hoax Museum Archives:
I think someone who could enjoy huffing sewer gas would have to already be high.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Texas City, Texas  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  05:01 PM
It's basically just methane. You might as well huff BBQ gas, natural gas, or anything else that cuts off your oxygen.
Surely anyone that has the patience to ferment sewerage can find other highs faster.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  05:18 PM
The BBC can get things wrong, you know.
Posted by M Henderson  in  London, UK  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  05:26 PM
I can't believe anyone bought this. Drugs are far too easy to get ahold of to need to sniff human shit tongue wink
Posted by Renquist  in  Glasgow, Scotland  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  07:05 PM
I read a thing a few years ago about kids on the street putting glue in old coke cans. Then they periodically sniffed the cans to take the edge off their hunger.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Thu Nov 08, 2007  at  10:48 PM
I've never been told my farts have an "intoxicating odor about them", in fact usually the average person will leave in disgust...
Posted by Christopher  in  Pensacola, Florida  on  Fri Nov 09, 2007  at  08:11 AM
I read an article a few years ago about a house that was raided because of suspected drug use or manufacturing. Instead the found adults huffing heated dog feces. If I remember right they weren't charged, because apparently it wasn't illegal.
Posted by N E O  in  Everywhere and nowhere  on  Fri Nov 09, 2007  at  05:05 PM
hey, man... wanna hit of this? It's primo Dalmation... wish we had some more of that Saint Bernard- that stuff was ill... Now I've got the munchies... let's go out for Milkbones and cat turds... screw it, they deliver... where's the phone? I can't see straight, I'm so pooped out...
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Nov 11, 2007  at  11:25 AM
Wake and jenk, y0.

Apparently, it's a powerful hallucinagen. In the original story, the gutter orphan said that it lets him see his dead mother. It was a pretty harsh story.

But, I'm sure these kids (in Zimbabwe) do it, because they already live near an open sewers, and they're homeless orphans and all.
Posted by caio  on  Mon Nov 12, 2007  at  01:51 AM
I know a shitload of Marines that do this stuff everyday in Iraq! It really helps the boredom!!
Posted by Cpl Hunter  in  Iraq  on  Tue Nov 20, 2007  at  08:29 PM
So this defiantly isn
Posted by Drug Rehab Clinic  on  Sun Apr 27, 2008  at  09:26 PM
Jenkem and similar foul practices are widespread amongst certain cross-sections of society of the south coast of England. In England, it largely forms part of the practice of Epsilonism
Posted by Dave Newman  in  Bournemouth  on  Tue Dec 01, 2009  at  07:54 PM
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