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Teens Are Choking Themselves to get High

From LSD, to marijuana, to molly and now, choking. Numerous adolescents are choking themselves in order to achieve a temporary high. Picture from public domain.
From LSD, to marijuana, to molly and now, choking. Numerous adolescents are choking themselves in order to achieve a temporary high. Picture from public domain.
From LSD, to marijuana, to molly and now, choking. Numerous adolescents are choking themselves in order to achieve a temporary high. Picture from public domain.
From LSD, to marijuana, to molly and now, choking. Numerous adolescents are choking themselves in order to achieve a temporary high. Picture from public domain.

by Esther Animalu, contributing reporter

From LSD, to marijuana, to molly and now, choking. Numerous adolescents are choking themselves in order to achieve a temporary high. This practice is known as the choking game, it’s the act of intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain by strangulation or other means, in order to induce euphoria.

“The choking game is completely frightening to me. Teens and kids who are choking themselves to get a drug-like high, are putting their own lives at risk. It’s scary to think that people around my age would try to get high by suffocating themselves. Teens who are playing the choking game are hurting themselves by cutting off blood circulation to the brain. It’s shocking what teens would do to themselves just to get high,” sophomore Keila Torres said.

Due to the fact that the signs and traces of this practice are hard to detect, as opposed to other ways of getting high, the choking game is sparking various mental and physical health related concerns. Despite the fact that the short-term effects are easy to conceal, the long term effects can be potentially fatal.

According to CBS ST. LOUIS, professional medical examiners informed KTVI-TV that teens cause the self-induced hyperventilation upon themselves to achieve an adrenaline rush.

“Basically what they’re accomplishing is they’re starving their brain for oxygen. In the scenario with the video, the children will hyperventilate which will decrease the CO2 in the blood and the CO2 is the gas that causes the brain to breathe,” Dr. Matt Bruckel of Total Access Urgent Care told KTVI.

“And when you drop it down so low, the oxygen in the blood will drop down faster than the CO2 will rise so they’ll develop cerebral hypoxia, which is a condition in which the brain doesn’t have enough oxygen because the triggers for breathing and ventilation are gone,” Dr. Matt Bruckel of Total Access Urgent Care said.

The choking game is also referred to as, “the fainting game,” “blackout,” and “five minuets in heaven.” The choking game can be conducted in an array of ways. However, the main motive is to dispossess the brain of oxygen long enough to gain a brief high, before passing out altogether.

“I feel that it is not smart for teens to choke themselves in order to get high because cutting off oxygen can land you in the hospital,” sophomore Ivana Pitino said.

Adolescents are known to create this euphoric high by squeezing their necks, or tying bungee cords, scarves or ropes tightly around their necks. In another method, teens would bend down and try to prompt hyperventilation by taking deep breaths followed by a “bear hug” from another person.

In reference to the nytimes.com, The C.D.C. reports that most adults haven’t even heard of the choking game and have no idea their kids are playing it. Most of the deaths were among boys ages 11 to 16, and the average age was 13, the report said. Choking game deaths were identified in 31 states. The deaths identified by the C.D.C. are based on media reports of the game over the past decade, but more than 60 of the deaths have occurred since 2005. The agency says the number of deaths is probably understated, and other experts agree, noting that choking game deaths, which involve accidental strangulation with a rope or belt, often look like suicides.

R.J. Monroe, a 15-year-old sophomore at Horlick High School in Wisconsin, was found dead, hanging from a belt tied under his lofted bed. The policed ruled out suicide to be the cause of death, due to the discovery that he had participated in the choking game. Jeana Monroe had learned that her son had been taking Xanax to get high. After the dealer was caught, R.J. turned to choking, in order to experience a similar euphoric high.

Based on health.ny.gov it stated that, the choking game can lead to serious injury or even death from hanging. Within three minutes of continued strangulation, basic functions such as memory and balance start to fail. If this happens, death can occur shortly after. Furthermore, the long-term repercussions of constantly engaging in the choking game are, loss of consciousness and death of brain cells due to the lack of oxygen in the brain, frequent severe headaches, coma, seizures, concussions, broken bones and eye hemorrhages.

“I think it’s absolutely foolish and very dangerous to engage in the choking game. No type of “high” is worth your life,” sophomore Brianna Mendoza said.

As the practice of the choking game begins to rise, various health officials and families of deceased children who have participated in the game, are trying to bring this unnerving “high” to light. It’s critical for parents and teens to discuss and unite together in order to prevent another fatality of the choking game.

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    Jessica MeadeOct 25, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Thank you for this informative article. I had heard about this, but wasn’t aware of the increased frequency. I teach Forensics, Anatomy, and Biomedical Science – I will include this topic in my classes to warn teens of the dangers of this game. Great report writing on a scary, important topic.

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