Some Indonesian teens are drinking water boiled with used menstrual pads to get high – here’s what it does to the body

Some Indonesian teenagers have been arrested for drinking water boiled with sanitary pads to get intoxicated, a strange method first reported in 2016 that has since gained popularity.
The New Paper

Indonesian police have arrested several teenagers for getting intoxicated on a bizarre concoction – water boiled with sanitary pads.

The Jakarta Post reported yesterday (Nov 11) that arrests have happened across Jakarta and Java.

This odd method of getting high first made the news in 2016, when teenagers were found boiling pads in Belitung and Java, the report added.

The number of teens using this method to get high have been increasing since 2017, Indonesian news site Tempo reported, citing The Indonesian Child Protection Commission.

According to Suprinarto, the head of the National Narcotics Agency’s Central Java branch, the teens recovered used pads from the trash and boiled them to extract certain chemicals. Drinking this water then caused them to experience hallucinations similar to taking drugs, such as the feeling of flying, the Jakarta Post reported.

One chemical researcher cited by Tempo said that sanitary pads contain chemicals like sodium polyacrylate, which are used to absorb liquids.

Dr Hari Nugroho from the Institute of Mental Health Addiction And Neurosience was quoted by detikHealth as saying that drinking this tainted water in large quantities could damage organs like the kidneys and liver, and even cause cancer.

Another report quoted Suprinarto as saying that the teens involved, aged between 13 and 16, came from poorer neighborhoods and could not afford drugs like methamphetamine, which costs millions of rupiah per gram.