Thursday, 26 July 2007

Smoking Wheelie Bins

Here is a piece about kids in Barnsley getting high from smoking wheelie bins. My friend Jack Adams wrote the original and I edited it. It was published in Vice Magazine.

Designer Drugs Are Out
Wheelie Bins Are Where It’s At

You can stick your coke, pills and ketamine enemas and no one does those fancy drugs with numbers and letters in either because no one knows where to get them. Council estate kids up north have so little to do that they’ve had a spasm of true British ingenuity. They have been stealing, then setting fire to plastic wheelie bins and inhaling the fumes. Wow, petty crime and drug taking, great!

The trend, most popular in the Barnsley area of the UK, started with kids robbing off-licences and rolling away the stolen booze in wheelie bins. Having drunk everything the next step was obviously to set fire to the bins and inhale the toxic fumes. It has gotten so bad in Barnsley that over a two week period around one hundred bins have been stolen. The council is now giving out chains and padlocks so residents can lock up their bins.

Warren Hawksley from solvent abuse charity ‘Re-Solve’ told us that the trend has stemmed from Scotland where it’s commonplace for bored kids to shut themselves in a phone box and use a lighter and aerosol can to burn the plastic inside. This basically creates a hotbox of poisonous plastic smoke. Inhaling smoke from a burning plastic bin is far more likely to be fatal than regular solvent abuse as the chemical composition of plastic fumes is incredibly toxic and not a substance designed for ingestion by the human body. No shit.

Upon being asked his worst solvent-related horror story, Warren grimly informed us of a case in Northern Ireland where four youths spent days getting high on solvents, stole a car and gang raped a three year old girl. The IRA contacted the police and media, telling them not to worry, as the situation was being taken care of.

Inhaling bin fumes is pretty much the weirdest thing we have heard since tramps crushing up urinal freshening cubes and smoking them in rollies made from tobacco harvested from fag ends off the street. In short: pretty low. Solvent abuse kills more people in the UK every year than either amphetamines or ecstasy.

How to be a bin-fume inhaling dropout.
Step 1 – The Ingredients
The first thing you need is a plastic wheelie bin. Inside this there should be at least one bag of rubbish, which will that lung full of fume that you are about to huck its own distinct flavour. Mmm. The ‘lucky dip’ of general household waste will ensure that no two experiences are identical.
Step 2 – Get Cooking
Use lighter fluid or petrol to get the fire started. Once lit, allow your bin to simmer for 10 / 15 minutes until a healthy amount of noxious death smoke is pouring out of it.
Step 3 – Get Involved
Lift up the lid, stick your head in as far as you can and inhale as much smoke as you can for as long as you can.

Step 4 – The Fallout
Our guinea pig reported a feelings of nausea, coupled with disoreintation and a strange buzzing sound in his head for a couple of minutes. He felt a sense of euporia ten minutes down the line, but we put this down to the fact he had been sick so many times that he was glad . With this in mind, we have decided to file bin inhaling under ‘aquired tastes’ (next to olives, monogamous relationships and ketamine).

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