‘Sodium Polyacrylate’ found inside Pampers is the new ingredient mixed with sugar and milk used by youths to get high. As horrible as it may sound, youths of our beloved nation have found another way of getting themselves tipsy in a bid to get cheap and legal way of “feeling high”, as they call it. They now boil baby diapers, and at some extent, sanitary pads and add sugar and milk to it and then drink it.
Over the years, youths have been very fund of drugging themselves in order to get themselves “high”, seasons after seasons, they have new drug they consume. marijuana and “kush” are no longer effective as they have been presumed to be. They discover tramadol and relief medicine as “feeling high” drugs which are supposed to be prescribed by medical doctors, but on the contrary, they need no medical advice to consume such drugs as much as they want in order to get themselves highly intoxicated.
Diaper’s Tea is now the most recent discovery by some youths in Sierra Leone, specifically in the capital, Freetown. This discovery maybe new in Sierra Leone but as per research, it has been in existence since 2016 in Indonesia but was adequately used by the Indonesian teenagers in 2018. For them, they were using unused and used sanitary pads. It is believed that this practice was copped from the Indonesian teenagers, but only God knows who started it here. Youths in Sierra Leone started this intoxicating habit lately 2019 and early 2020. Over the past weeks, it has become well known among those that are in the habit of taking drugs to “feel high”.
The Diaper’s Tea, is an extraction process in which the foam in the diapers is being removed and boiled for about thirty to forty-five minutes after which it would then be drained and the water is then drunk. The processed boiled water will then be used as a tea by adding sugar and milk before drinking it. Some even drink it as ordinary as it is. It is said to be more powerful than even tramadol, for those that have experienced the intoxication from both substances.
Diapers as we know are meant to hold wet substances like urine and the like and it is used mostly for babies. Diapers are made of cloth or synthetic disposable material. This cloth is composed of layers of fabric. Many a time when a diaper has been wet, it will contain chemicals called Doxins, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl-tin (TBT), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), these include chemicals such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene. These are all harmful substances that can cause bodily harm, which is the reason babies that frequently use diapers are exposed to rash and other skin infections. While for those that boil sanitary pads, the chemical contained in it include, Cellulose Gel, Doxin, Rayon and Furan. Research even proves that it has a risk of cancer, when the chemicals are exposed to the system through menstrual period.
As bizarre as it sounds, that is how dangerous it is as well. Looking at the chemicals in a diaper, you would feel worried and sorry for these youths that are consuming it via tea formular. “Toluene and xylene” are very much dangerous. They vapour in small amount that may cause mild headache, dizziness, drowsiness or nausea, with more serious exposure. “Toluene” may cause sleepiness, stumbling, irregular heartbeat, fainting or even death. It is as well irritating to the skin, eyes, and lungs. According to the EPA, VOCs can cause eyes, nose and throat irritation and also damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some VOCs are even suspected of causing cancer in humans. (EPA.gov)
Though the youth are not doing it in the open and mostly do not want to expose themselves to the public that they are consuming such drug. I was fortunate to have met someone who shared his experience with me. He said that after consuming the “tea”, it takes not less than ten to fifteen minutes, one will begin to feel dizziness or for them they will be in a “freak” mood. “It is a sensational experience and all you could do afterwards is to sit quietly and meditate”, he said. He also said that he has been hearing rumors among themselves that it is dangerous but for him he just likes how he feels after consuming it.
Intoxication is just what the youths see in all this but these substances are very dangerous and can destroy their system within a short period of time. Mind you the chemicals are meant for outside purposes and even at that it poses risk to health, let alone it is consumed inwardly.
Though rumors state that “Diaper’s Tea” has killed two people recently, it is yet to be proven, but it is strongly advised that people should stay away from it as it is very harmful to one’s health. I fear if it continues like this, even the prices for baby diapers and sanitary pads will definitely increase.
(c) Ibrahim Sheik Kamara (Wez Beck).
Penultimate Honours 1 Print Journalism Student
Mass Communication, Fourah Bay College