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Teenagers Are Boiling Used Tampons to Get High

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Jan. 9 2019, Updated 5:01 p.m. ET

If there's one thing that's certain in life, it's that teenagers will always find a way to get high on a budget. While marijuana is being legalized for recreational use in many states, there's still other states and countries where kids have to get incredibly inventive. Whether that's huffing markers, sniffing glue, or another so-called 'legal high.' 

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Now, teenagers in Indonesia have found maybe one of the most creative ways to get high. They're collecting menstrual pads and tampons, many of them used, and boiling them. They then drink the horrid mixture. 

The chemicals used to sterilize the products for human use give those who drink the resulting concoction a "feeling of 'flying' and hallucinations," according to the Indonesian National Drug Agency (BNN) and as reported by Vice

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Police on the island of Java say they have arrested several teenagers who later revealed they got high from the mixture, Straits Times reports. Several local newspapers, including the Jakarta Post, Jawa Pos and Pos Belitung, have also reported on the trend. 

"The used pads they took from the trash were put in boiling water. After it cooled down, they drank it together," Senior Commander Suprinarto, head of the BNN in Central Java, said. 

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"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," Suprinatro continued. "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." 

Indonesia also has some of the toughest laws in the world when it comes to illegal drugs, and the death penalty is often applied to drug traffickers, drug dealers, and in some cases, drug users — hence why some kids find ways to circumvent the law to get high. 

According to local youth workers, many taking part in the practice are poor street kids, explaining why so many use dirty pads and tampons they find in the garbage.  

One 14-year-old boy from Belitung Island, who admitted to getting drunk on the mixture, described how it was created to Pos Belitung:

"A pad is removed from its wrapper and boiled for about an hour, after which the water is cooled. "

"The sanitary product is squeezed into the container, after which the water is drunk."

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He described the mixture as "bitter," and told the newspaper that he drinks it "morning, afternoon, and evening," with his friends. 

Sitty Hikmawatty, a commissioner for drugs and health with the Indonesian Committee on Child Protection (KPAI), told the press that the boiled menstrual pads trend is already a few years old. 

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“A lot of these kids are smart, and with the internet they can make new variants and concoctions," she said. "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." 

The Ministry of Health has said it will investigate which chemical in the pads is making kids get a high off the disgusting mixture. 

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