TEENAGERS in Zimbabwe have resorted to boiling nappies and DRINKING the juice to get high as the country continues to crumble.
The devastating economic crisis has driven people to desperate measures to find an escape from their hopeless existence.
The African nation is battling a wave of unemployment, soaring inflation, weakening currency and a lack of investment.
Former President Robert Mugabe's doomed legacy is still wreaking havoc on the country, which is lurching from one crisis to another.
Despairing natives who turned to drugs and drink to cope can no longer afford to buy their usual substances, forcing them to turn to astonishing efforts to get high.
Youngsters have began boiling new or used baby nappies and drinking the resulting liquid – known as "juice of Pampers" on the streets.
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One user told The Telegraph: "They scrape [the nappies clean] and then boil them [with a small amount of water] and a thickish white stuff emerges, and this is then put into the bottom of jars and sold."
Some add sugar and milk to the mixture in a bid to disguise its rancid taste.
Addicts say that the sodium polyacrylate — the absorbent part of a nappy — is what gets them high enough to get through the day.
Mirriam, a 23-year-old single mother, told the publication she drinks the dangerous concoction to give her the courage to do sex work.
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She said: "I only take a little so as to give me courage to do my work, because it’s not easy to sleep with anyone anytime, especially strangers, but I don't have a choice because the father of my child ran away to South Africa and my parents chased me from home."
Others echoed her comments, claiming the nappy mixture numbs them from the reality of living in Zimbabwe.
One man told Al Jazeera: "After boiling, it forms a greyish substance and we drink the mixture.
"It’s semi-solid, it smells and tastes bad but we just drink. It helps us to get high [at] less cost. I need a little drink in the morning to have energy and confidence."
The new lows the country has plummeted to has forced Zimbabweans to seek out cheap highs – regardless of the risk.
Teens have told how they scavenge the streets and dumping sites to procure any nappies they can find, or purchase them directly from vendors.
It’s semi-solid, it smells and tastes bad but we just drink. It helps us to get high [at] less cost.
They avoid picking them up at supermarkets as it "raises eyebrows".
One miserable local said: "We know the health consequences but there is nothing we can do about it.
"What can we do? Nothing. This is Zimbabwe, things are hard. There are no jobs."
Ivan Zhakata, a president of the Drinkers Association of Zimbabwe (DAZ), said he has seen firsthand the effects of the nappy craze.
He explained: "We have noticed an influx of drugs such as crystal meth and the boiling of Pampers in the high-density suburbs.
"We would like to urge younger generation to desist from taking drugs and harmful substances."
Although sodium polyacrylate is classified as non-toxic, if inhaled it can irritate the airways and damage the lungs with long exposure.
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The long-term effects of the substance remain unclear, although experts say it is likely to be hazardous to health.
The Indonesian National Drug Agency (BNN) said the chemicals in the nappies give those who drink the concoction a feeling of "flying" and hallucinations.
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