Jenkem is a recreational drug that is used in the form of gas and is made from fermented human sewage that can result in dissociation and hallucinations. It is made by scraping the edge of sewage pipes and storing in plastic bottles that are closed for several days. At the top of the bottle is left enough room for the formation of methane. User inhales the gas from the bottle that was previously connected to a bottle with feces. There is a general concern about the using jenkem because of several reasons.
First, the unhygienic conditions of its production increase the risk from diseases such as salmonella, hepatitis A, pinworm infection, diarrhea, Norwalk virus and different gastrointestinal infections. Then, a research about the impact of sewer gas on mice has shown that it causes lack of oxygen which can lead to serious brain damage and even death.In addition, there are some Testimonies that jenkem causes auditory and visual hallucinations. Sixteen year old boy from Lusaka said that inhaling glue make him to hear voices in his head but using jenkem he can see his deceased mother and forget the problems. However, a report by Kelly Cheatham from the WSBT news station in Indiana confirms that sewage gases do not produce hallucinations. Also, it can cause low blood pressure and slow heart rate, which leads to fainting. And finally, the worst thing about using jenkem is the flavor of sewage that draws in the mouth for several days after its use.
Thanks to the British Broadcasting Corporation report in 1999. jenkem has got huge media attention. Fountain of Hope, a non-profit organization, said that jenkem was used by Street Children in Lusaka, to obtain a \"powerful high.\" Statistics show that jenkem is the third most popular drug in Zambia, after cannabis and glue, but in front of uncured tobacco and petrol. In Lusaka, the sources of these drugs are freely available from the open sewers in the form of fecal matter.
In November 2007. in the U.S. media appeared reports about the popularization of jenkem among American teenagers. However, Erowid, a website providing access to information about psychoactive plants and chemicals, states that these stories are almost certainly the result of fraud, because there is no credible evidence that anyone in the United States, Canada, or Europe inhales sewage gas from bottled human or animal waste in order to get psychoactive effects. Beside that, neither the composition and active components of the jenkem gas nor its chemical acting on the body have been described in a scientific journal. None of the usual authorities on psychoactive drugs have involved themselves in the investigation of this drug.