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What is Jenkem?


The Story of Jenkem

There are consistent hoaxes on the internet and tabloid reporting has always been somewhat questionable. You are most likely aware of at least one or two reports of a new drug endangering your children that turned out to be just a widespread rumor. One of the drugs mentioned in the media during the 1990s is called jenkem. To this day, jenkem is still mentioned by the media occasionally.

What is Jenkem?

According to the more popular stories, jenkem is made by putting urine and fecal matter into a jar or bottle then covering it with a balloon. The jar is then put under the sun for a few hours or days until the contents have fermented. Eventually, the contents will separate and a gas is released. The balloon captures the gas which is then inhaled. The result is a euphoric high much like ingesting cocaine. The unfortunate result is hallucinations. Certain articles claim the individual will lose consciousness immediately, then experience the hallucinogenic effects when reawakening. The symptoms are believed to last for days. The earliest reference to jenkem was in an Inter Press Service wire report released in 1995.

Where is Jenkem Used?

The report discussed kids living on the street in Lusaka, Zambia. Supposedly, the children scooped up the waste found in sewer ponds then left it in a bag for one week to ferment. The kids inhaled jenkem by putting their entire faces into the bag. BBC News released a similar article in 1999 pointing out gasoline and glue were too expensive for sniffing in poor African countries and stealing them was dangerous. This was the reason the kids turned to jenkem. These are the only articles with real information and no verification exists.

During the early 2000s, the story resurfaced in the United States due to an investigator from a Florida Sheriff’s Department. The investigator overheard a few students in high school talking about jenkem. The photographs of jenkem being used in the story were tracked to, an online discussion board. Unfortunately, the poster did not admit the photos were fake until the Washington Post and Fox News repeated the story.

Origination of the Name Jenkem

The name jenkem was derived from Genkem, the brand of a popular glue. The glue was sniffed by kids from South Africa, but became a popular trend for numerous Zambians. A young boy granted an interview to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and said the effects of jenkem lasted for as long as one hour. When jenkem was inhaled it was proven more effective and powerful than other available options such as glue.

Project Concern International Zambia is a non-profit organization releasing a report in 2002. The report rated jenkem as the third most popular hard drug Zambian children were using on the streets of Lusaka. The majority were suffering from AIDS or were orphans. The other hard drugs on the list included cannabis, uncured tobacco and petrol.

Jenkem in the United States

Several claims were made in 2007 that jenkem was becoming popular with some students in middle and high school in the United States. Everything began due to a report by a parent to the school stating the famous jenkem had been introduced to her son by his peers in high school. The following investigations showed the information originated from a post on from a boy using the name Pickwick. The boy eventually confessed he faked the entire post and it was not jenkem. He said the substance was actually made from water, beer, Nutella and flour.

The boy explained he understood the ramifications of his post and took it down to prevent other kids from participating in an act of self-degradation. Later the same year, two different news agencies reported jenkem was once again being used in the United States. One report was from Washington Post columnist Emil Steiner, who was also a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He claimed there were individuals using jenkem in the United States at this time. He also said the use of this drug by Americans was both illogical and stupid.

A different perspective was received by Garrison Courtney, a DEA spokesman in Washington D.C. His perspective regarding the use of jenkem in the United States was completely different. He issued a statement claiming the drug was rampant in Africa and not the United States. He said everything else was the result of spreading unfounded speculations by American news.

Health Risks of Jenkem

If your teenager inhales the toxic chemicals contained in jenkem, it can lead to hypoxia. This occurs when specific areas of the body are deprived of the flow of oxygen. Using jenkem is extremely dangerous. According to several media reports, when jenkem is made it contains both hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and carbon monoxide (CO2). Both of these gases are biologically active. During the 1950’s, psychedelic psychotherapy required CO2. The result was an extremely altered state.

Experiments are currently being conducted for inducing suspended animations through the use of H2S. This is a hallucinogenic inhalant created from fermented sewage. The product is disgusting and capable of poisoning the body in a massive number of different ways. There is no proof if jenkem is real or simply a hoax. The belief is African children used jenkem, but there is virtually no evidence the drug was ever used in the United States or that using jenkem results in hallucinating effects.

Social media may have made one of history’s greatest hoaxes believable. There is no way to be certain if anyone ever used jenkem. There is a drug treatment center located in Arizona claiming to have already treated two individuals for jenkem.

Addiction Treatment in Costa Mesa

You need to consider the information released about this inhalant since the 1990’s. This includes the immediate symptoms and signs of the drug including lower respiratory drive, decreased heart rate and lower blood pressure. When you take these symptoms into consideration, jenkem has hallucinogenic properties extremely dangerous for a healthy life. If you see these symptoms in your teenager, it is an incredibly important warning you need to confront immediately. Jenkem needs to be avoided.

The long term effects of the drug are believed to be a lot worse for the human body than the temporary effects. The long term impact includes brain damage, leukemia, stroke, and destruction of bone marrow. If you believe your teenager might be using jenkem, there are signs you can look for including a nervous breakdown, dilated pupils, and jitteriness. If your child needs drug rehab, do not wait. Contact a rehab center as soon as possible.

Ensuring your child is sober from both alcohol and drugs is critical because substance use can lead to death. The longer your child waits for help, the higher the risk of serious health complications. The concept of jenkem sounds absolutely ridiculous but this does not mean the drug is not real. You already know putting your face directly into human waste is an incredibly bad idea. The ammonia found in urine can irritate the nose, mouth and throat.

If your teenager touches feces, there is a high risk they will be exposed to a wide range of nasty bacteria including E. coli. If your teenager needs help to stop using alcohol or drugs, seriously consider placing them in a recovery program or facility. Consider medical detox and residential and outpatient therapy. Your teenager will receive supervision by a well-trained and experienced staff including medical professionals, therapists and counselors.