Until the summer of 2007 the awareness of Jenkem was limited mainly to sporadic posts in online forums and blogs citing the Wikipedia article and the news reports mentioned therein. What set off a flood of media attention began in early September when a concerned parent reported to the principal of Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples, Florida that she had heard about Jenkem from her child who was a student there. No usage was claimed, however the principal passed the information on to the Collier County Sheriff's Office in Naples, and the sheriff office's intelligence bureau issued an internal intelligence bulletin on September 26 which contained the unresearched alarmist phrase "Jenkem is now a popular drug in American Schools." It appears that this assertion was mere conjecture, as later news reports so far has not been able to confirm such widespread usage. The intelligence bulletin based itself, at least in part, on the writings of a 14-year old boy, known online as "Pickwick", who posted in the TOTSE Better Living Through Chemistry discussion forums that he was going to try out Jenkem based on the recipe provided in the sources mentioned above.
On September 25, "Pickwick" posted to the TOTSE community "The jenkem thing was a hoax" where he retracted his previous trip report asserting it "was faked using flour, water, beer and Nutella." A nationwide DEA bulletin was also issued, however the time of this DEA release and its relation to the Collier County Sheriff's Office's bulletin remains unclear. The timeline subsequent to these events can be studied below.
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Snopes (Urban Legends Reference Pages) published a report on October 30, 2007 focusing on the veracity of Jenkem. Its conclusion was to initially list the phenomenon as undetermined, however, by November 9 this had been updated to false. Snopes in its first version cited both a widely circulated trip report from an American teenager posted to the online forum TOTSE (this thread was deleted without explanation on October 7, 2007), and a leaked alert bulletin from the Collier County Sheriff's Office in Naples, Florida which asserted that "Jenkem is now a popular drug in American Schools."
A few days after the Snopes report had been published, on another website investigating urban legends, About.com, David Emery, described by Salon.com as an "urban legend guru," also issued a report, more analytic than the Snopes report, concluding that the recent news media reports that Jenkem is gaining a foothold as a substance of abuse among American youth is doubtful and "based on faulty Internet research."
On November 3, two mainstream media outlets, television station KIMT of Mason City, Iowa and WINK NEWS, a Fort Myers, Florida broadcaster, reported on the rumours of Jenkem being a new hallucinogenic drug among American high school students. According to WINK News, Collier County Sheriff's Office confirms having issued the drug alert.
Drudge Report features Jenkem linking to the Smoking Gun.
On November 6, Washington Post columnist Emil Steiner in his OFF/beat blog commented on the Collier Sheriff's Office memo, the Snopes report and the WINK-TV news story apparently introducing his own contamination of the story by reporting the origin of Jenkem to be "Africa and other third world countries." Steiner goes on to report that "a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Agency insists that 'there are people in America trying [Jenkem].'" The unnamed DEA spokesman stated that the agency had yet to test Jenkem, however volunteering a theory that "hallucinations from methane fumes" are involved. He also labeled any use of Jenkem "dangerous, bad and stupid."
Fox News ran with the story 8 hours after the Steiner Washington Post column entry. Fox also published the Internet alias of the boy who had published a "trip report" in the TOTSE online forum in July, as well as his later retraction. The boy, "Pickwick," in September claimed that the "Jenkem" displayed in the photos accompanying his trip report "was faked using flour, water, beer and Nutella." He also stated "I never inhaled any poop gas and got high off it [...] I have deleted the pictures, hopefully no weirdo saved them to his computer. I just don't want people to ever recognize me as the kid who huffed poop gas." In the same article, a Washington D.C. DEA spokesman, Garrison Courtney, informed that "We wouldn't classify it as a drug so much because it's feces and urine."
UK technology tabloid website The Register also ran an article on the US Jenkem phenomenon on this date citing the leaked memo, Smoking Gun, Snopes and televised news reports, concluding that ""the jury's out."
On November 7, ABC News reported on Jenkem on their website. They also interviewed DEA spokesman Garrison Courtney who stated that, "It is in Africa, we know that… We've heard rumors and speculation about it here, but part of looking for trends is listening first for speculation. It is something we want to keep on top of. The same sort of thing happened when we first heard of kids huffing freon or whippets [nitrous oxide, often found in whipped cream canisters]." The ABC report also focused on the need for law enforcement agencies to go with rumours and unconfirmed reports because so much of police work depends on early intervention which would be impossible if officers had to wait before something was a confirmed reality before acting on it. WSBT-TV in South Bend, Indiana ran the story on its local newscasts and posted it to their web site, including advice that parents "wait up for them (their children) at night and not let their kids go to bed until they have seen them and smelled their breath."  The same day, Austin, Texas NBC affiliate KXAN-TV ran a story on Jenkem interviewing a local teenager and a parent. Michael Ginsberg of Clean Investment Counseling stated to KXAN that he was "Not surprised, a little bit nervous and scared for adolescents." Ginsberg did not find it unrealistic that Jenkem would become popular locally stating, "Once it becomes OK with a certain group of adolescents, it becomes OK with a lot more."
An Australian broadcaster, ninemsn, carried the Jenkem story on its website on November 8 based on American news reports. A syndicated report published on CBS affiliate CBS-47 and Fox affiliated Fox 30, both of in Jacksonville, Florida, reported on Jenkem on their web pages, also referring to it by the slang term "butt hash," and also citing media reports from Washington Post, the Drudge Report and Inside Edition. This was also followed up by a Fox 30 televised news segment. In it captain Tim Guerrette of the Collier County Sheriff's department was also interviewed. Talking to young people in their district did not reveal any awareness of Jenkem's existence and when hearing what it was people expressed revulsion. A Florida syndicated newspaper article also appeared on November 8 focusing on the leaked police memo. In the article another DEA spokesman Rusty Payne was also interviewed as well as the Palmetto Ridge High School principal and a spokeswoman for the Collier County Health Department, all of whom had very little to add to the existing vague reports that are circulating in the media.
Salon.com featured an in-depth exposition of the Jenkem story by freelance news and culture writer Jamie Pietras. Pietras elicits statements about the evolution of Jenkem usage among Lusaka's street children from a Zambian government official who asserts that the key to curtailing jenkem usage in Zambia is to classify it as a narcotic, so that youth suspected of using the substance could be diverted into juvenile correction centers. Salon also focuses on the media scare that has developed over the Jenkem phenomenon.
And it's a mystery whether "Pickwick," the self-proclaimed hoaxer behind the great jenkem scare of 2007, could have ever anticipated that his unique brand of Internet theater would inadvertently masquerade as fact. His Totse posts in the months leading up to the controversy reveal anxiety over the attention his prank continued to receive.
—Salon.com, November 9, 2007
Salon also obtained comments from Earth Erowid, the pseudonym of the co-creator of Erowid, an renowned online repository of information about psychoactive plants and chemicals, as well as the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Jag Davies, none of whom could elucidate on the chemical from sources within their own ranks. Partnership for a Drug-Free America public affairs representative Candice Besson also informed that PDFA had not heard about the drug before either.
The Enterprise Ledger of Enterprise, Alabama interviewed a local narcotics investigator, Neal Bradley, who stated that jenkem is already in use on the west coast, “Whatever they’re using on the west coast is also used in Coffee County,” he said. “We’ve heard that this was something students were doing and it sounds crazy, but don’t think they’re not doing it here.” The Enterprise Ledger also cited an October 26 article on the Associated Content participatory media website Chrissy & Company for some of the alleged street names being applied to Jenkem and also about the purported health risks associated with its usage.
The Times-Reporter of Dover-New Philadelphia included the Jenkem phenomenon in a Sunday commentary piece titled "Federal government attempts to wipe clean smelly drug world" asserting that while it was "largely debunked," with all the media coverage "someone will be stupid enough to try it, and we’ll probably hear reports of it turning up in frat house initiation rituals any day now."
On November 13 The Orange County Register of Santa Ana, California mentions Jenkem in a notice citing the Salon article and the Snopes report. Also, a televised news item was shown by Evansville, Indiana Fox affiliate WTVW lingering on a closeup photo of the 14-year old boy who in June announced to the TOTSE forums that he was trying out Jenkem only to retract his story later in September. The segment also interviewed a local teenage boy who had heard about the drug but was disgusted at the thought of someone using Jenkem. CBS affiliated television station KWCH of Wichita, Kansas also had Jenkem in its news lineup on this date, interviewing local teenagers and local law enforcement officials, none of whom could shed any more light on the phenomenon. The article accompanying the news segment states that, "there is reason to believe it's all a hoax."
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