In a bizarre new craze, young people are reportedly using flavoured condoms to get high.
Officials in Durgapur, a city in the Indian province of West Bengal, are concerned following a surge in demand for condoms.
Local shopkeepers say that they used to sell three or four packets each day, yet now there is hardly ever any on shelves.
One shopkeeper reportedly asked a young man why he buys so many condoms, to which he replied that he uses them to get intoxicated.
News18 Bangla quoted an official as explaining that soaking flavoured condoms in hot water releases an aromatic compound.
Young people in the Durgapur will leave them in water for several hours before drinking the water, which gets them high for around 10 to 12 hours.
“Condoms contain aromatic compounds. It breaks down to form alcohol. It is addictive. This aromatic compound is also found in dendrite glue. So many people use dendrite for addiction also,” said Dheeman Mandal, who works at Durgapur Divisional Hospital.
Durgapur RE College Model School Chemistry teacher Nurul Haque explained: “The long-term soaking of condoms in hot water causes intoxication due to the breakdown of large organic molecules into alcoholic compounds.”
Condoms aren’t the only household items that people in India have used to get high.
According to OpIndia, other items such as cough syrup, glue, paint, nail polish, hand sanitisers, aftershave, balm or Iodex continue to be used to get high.
In Nigeria there have been booms in the sales of toothpaste and shoe ink for similar reasons.