Photo of man tring to get high from sniffing the fumes from a plastic wheelie bin.

Photo of man tring to get high from sniffing the fumes from a plastic wheelie bin.

By Chris Bovey

There have been many urban legends online on ways to get high, accompanied with sensationalist coverage of how every teenager is trying it to get off their tits.

The latest one doing the rounds again is teenagers getting high from setting fire to wheelie bins and putting their heads in the burning bin to get high from the fumes. This one is actually true, it was first reported back in 2007 and occasionally makes for a good media scare story that our children might be putting their lives in danger to get a good old hit from the wheelie bin, as was recently demonstrated by this article in the Daily Mirror.

I asked my 16-year-old son what he thought of teenagers putting their heads in wheelie bins they’ve set ablaze in order to breathe in the fumes to get high. His response was: “that’s stupid, they should push their heads in further so they meet the flames”.

My 11-year-old daughter was slightly more diplomatic when I asked her, she said: “they’re idiots who should probably seek a mental health specialist”.

I’m not going to lose any sleep worrying if my kids are going to start getting hooked on wheelie bins. They don’t even touch alcohol or tobacco and have never taken a recreational drug in their life. They know I like a drink down the pub and smoke a bit of weed, so to them that automatically makes the two activities uncool in their eyes.

I don’t doubt that this bizarre practice has taken place in some case somewhere, it clearly has, possibly a bit more thanks to the media highlighting a problem that doesn’t really exist, as I am now. I’ve never seen a burned out plastic wheelie bin in my life and never felt the need to keep mine hidden away to stop a gang of thrill-seeking teenagers from escorting it to local parks and setting it on fire in order to get a high from the resultant plastic fumes.

Police warn dangers of wheelie bin high

Police have issued a warning over an ‘extremely dangerous’ drug craze which sees youngsters sniffing the fumes of burning wheelie bins. A Greater Manchester Police spokesman pointed out: “This is extremely dangerous as the fumes from the plastic are highly toxic.”

Well, for once I agree with the police, although I think it’s hyperbole to suggest this is a ‘drug craze’ but yes, to anybody reading this, let me reiterate “setting fire to a wheelie bin and then putting your head in it to try to get high from the fumes of the burning plastic is a really fucking stupid thing to do”.

I do not advocate under 18s consuming cannabis, unless for medical reasons, but I’d still rather they had a go on a doobie than put their head in a burning wheelie bin to get a hit.

There have been many odd ways and urban myths ways to cheaply get high over the years, especially with the advent of the Internet. There was an urban legend that you could get stoned from smoking dried banana skins that started back in the 1960s. Apparently, the Donovan song, Mellow Yellow, was inspired by this.

Orange peel and toothpaste

At around the turn of the Millennium, I started an Internet rumour that eating orange peel and toothpaste could induce an acid like trip on a popular comedy ganja related website I ran called Caned In Totnes which I made years ago when I was in my 20s. One person tried it to no avail, so I suggested he go back to give it another try, but to make sure he used only blood oranges and the striped toothpaste, as this was the most effective method. The idiot tried it again and got back to me to say he still couldn’t get it to work, only it made him puke.

Orange peel and toothpaste legal hallucinogenic high.

Can orange peel and toothpaste give you a legal acid-like trip?

Another strange way to get intoxicated is Jenkum, apparently a highly hallucinogenic drug which results from huffing the fumes of your own fermented faecal matter. Users claim it gives an incredible rush and the taste of poo only lasts for a month.

Fox News reported on this non-existent fad; I have no idea if it works, I’d rather try the wheelie bin.

Fact-check website Snopes claims the Jenkum scare story is false. The website stated:

But evidence that jenkem use is a significant phenomenon in the U.S. (or indeed, anywhere in the world) or that the substance can even produce the effects described is scant.

The informational bulletin was apparently issued merely on the basis of a few high school students’ having mentioned hearing about jenkem in schoolyard chat, and its contents originated with a source who said he had fabricated them.

So kids, if you want to experiment with getting high, please wait until you are an adult, even though I never did since adults are hypocrites. When you are finally old enough to get intoxicated, stick with cannabis or booze and if you’re looking for a trip then go get some orange peel and toothpaste.

Perhaps the government will ban wheelie bins, as they love banning things and they care about the kids m’kay! A British Home Office spokesperson declined to comment when asked if local authorities in the UK supplying plastic wheelie bins to households could face prosecution under the Psychoactive Substances Act.

Chris Bovey, writer and musician.

Chris Bovey is a businessman, writer, artist, musician and practical joker. He lives in Devon with his partner, two children and cat. You can follow him on Facebook or Twitter @ADHD_BadBoy.


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