You can’t make this stuff up, for reals, and it’s probably the internet’s fault, for reals. Teenagers have always taken stupid risks for silly reasons. I mean, I know I did. Giving them an audience on the internet just drives that behavior, and leads to increasingly strange attempts to one-up themselves.
Remember the cinnamon challenge? And then the Tide Pod challenge? Like, who the heck thinks eating detergent is ever a great plan?
Well, there’s a group of tens out there who have taken it a step further, but it wasn’t for an internet audience.
According to The Jakarta Post, teenagers — particularly street kids — in Indonesia have been boiling tampons and menstrual pads and drinking the water.
And they don’t seem to care much whether the pads and tampons have been used before or not. Eww, right?
As the paper reports, teens in some areas use this particular blend to get drunk. Sort of.
Apparently the chlorine in the pads makes a potent mixture that creates a sensation of flying and possibly induces hallucinations like drugs do as well.
Weirdly, this phenomenon has been going on for a while in Indonesia, since at least 2016.
As Jimy Ginting, an advocate for safe drinking, told The Jakarta Post, “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.”
Another news outlet in Indonesia, Pos Belitung, ran a story in which they interviewed one of the street kids who drinks this cocktail regularly.
He said that they usually use pads, preferably the kind with wings, and boil them for about an hour and then let the liquid cool before drinking it. The drunk feeling last for about two or three hours, and so they drink it “morning, afternoon, and evening.”
However, whether you could actually get drunk off of boiled menstrual pads is a matter of some debate.
As Teen Vogue reported, Julie Weber, the director of the Missouri Poison Center said, “There is no toxicologic basis that this can cause a wanted high.”
Mind you, Tempo noted that menstrual pads do contain chemicals that “should be prevented from entering the body.”
Yessi Permana, a researcher at Bandung’s Institute of Technology, told Tempo that the particularly troubling ingredient in pads is sodium polyacrylate. “As listed on the material safety data sheet (MSDS), that content irritates the eye because it has absorbent qualities.”
So it’s not like menstrual pads and tampons are an obvious source of kicks for anyone.
But as Vice notes, this is just the latest in a long line of desperate measures street kids in Indonesia have taken to get high, including headache pills, “crushed up mosquito coils, and even toilet cleaner” mixed with things like methanol and acetone.
So, as gross as boiling tampons to get drunk sounds, it’s actually much more sad.
h/t: The Jakarta Post