Here is something that you definitely didn't expect to read today, tomorrow or ever: teenagers are getting high by drinking boiled tampons and sanitary pads.
Yes, this is a trend that is reportedly popular amongst the teenage population of Asia who has been drinking the juices extracted from used and unused tampons and pads in a bid to get a cheap and legal high.
Local newspapers in the East Asian country, including the Jakarta Post, Jawa Pos and Pos Belitung have all reported on the phenomenon in recent weeks.
According to the Indonesia National Drug Agency (BNN), drinking this bizarre 'sanitary pad formula' gives the consumer a feeling of flying and hallucinations, mostly thanks to the chlorine in the product.
Senior Commander Suprinarto, the head of the BNN, is quoted by Vice as saying:
The materials they're using are legal, but they're not being used in a way that's intended, so it ends up being used like a drug.
We need to take steps to educate people that there are materials that aren’t classified as drugs or psychotropics in the eyes of the law, but can still be misused.
The report states that several teenagers have already been arrested on the island of Java, which is home to the capital, Jakarta, who had gotten drunk on the sanitary pads.
A 14-year-old boy from Belitung Island told a local paper that the drink is created by removing the pad from its wrapper and boiling it for about an hour, then the liquid is squeezed into a container.
It is said to taste bitter but is consumed at all times of day by local teens and reportedly happened before, back in 2016, with nappies also said to have been used in a similar method.
Jimy Ginting an advocate for safe drinking in Indonesia is quoted by Straits Times as saying:
I don't know who started it all, but I knew it started around two years ago.
There is no law against it so far. There is no law against these kids using a mixture of mosquito repellent and (cold syrup) to get drunk.
Vice adds that sadly most of the children who are engaging in this activity are from impoverished areas and in some cases live on the streets.
Previously sniffing glue was said to be their drug of choice but they have since moved on to more creative and unusual substances, which they have apparently learnt about on the internet.
Sitty Hikmawatty, a commissioner for drugs and health with the Indonesian Committee on Child Protection (KPAI), is quoted as saying:
A lot of these kids are smart, and with the internet they can make new variants and concoctions.
This is where the risk factor goes up because they’re only concerned with one substance in a mixture, ignoring the other substances, leaving open the possibility of fatal side effects.
More than a billion tampons are reportedly thrown away in Indonesia every month, mostly due to a belief in the country that a woman who uses a tampon is no longer a virgin.
Regardless, Indonesian's Ministry of Health has vowed to investigate what chemicals are in the tampons and pads which would result in such vivid highs.