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Friday, December 02, 2005

The Choking Game

Thank you to Colerain Township Clerk Heather Harlow and Police Chief Steve Sarver for forwarding this information.

Date: 12/01/2005

Ohio Early Warning Alert

Ohio Resource Network for Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities

The Choking Game

The "choking game" is a game played by teenagers, typically between the ages of 9 and 15, to create a rush or high without using drugs. These teens attempt to temporarily cut off the oxygen supply until they pass out.

Recent news reports suggest that though this game is not new, it has become more of a problem in recent weeks as teens in Ohio, Idaho, California, and North Carolina have died playing this game. It is difficult to determine the extent to which students are participating or the rate of death as it can easily be mislabeled as a suicide. The game, though nor always deadly, is particularly risky when the child tries to create the high when they are alone. It is estimated that 400-500 children die yearly from this risk behavior in the US. This figure does not include those participants injured or not injured

Street names include: space monkey, blackout, funky chicken, something dreaming game, flat liner, tingling, and suffocation roulette.

Signs that a child might be participating in the behavior: complaints of frequent headaches, marks on the neck of pinpoint blood marks on the neck, bloodshot eyes, the onset of aggressive behavior or aggravation, finding ropes, belts, or other objects with odd knots tied, and activity behind closed doors.

The American Psychological Association states that many times parents can offset dangerous risk taking behavior by simply being there and knowing what is going on in your teen's life. The APA recommends:

· Have a solid relationship with your teen and discuss issues that he faces.
· Be able to speak frankly with your teen about dangerous behaviors.
· Establish a pattern of chaperoning parties and asking where your teen is and with whom he is spending time.

Short Term Effect:
Choking can produce a drunken, light-headed "feeling" that is typically short-lived. Choking can also depress your heart rate, disturb your heart rhythm, and sap your body of oxygen. At the extreme, choking can result in sudden death due to lack of oxygen to the brain. Teens are killing brain cells every time they play this "game". They may also experience nausea, loss of appetite, coughing fits, and disorientation and loss of coordination, making it hard to walk or even stand for about 15 minutes after this dangerous risk behavior.
Long Term Effect:
This behavior can result in permanent brain damage and death.
Sources include reports from:,,,,,,,, and
For additional information on the above alert contact: The Ohio Resource Network for Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities, P.O. Box 210109, 2624 Clifton Ave Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0109 Phone # 1-800-788-7254 (opt#2).
Note: We would like to know what you were able to do by way of disseminating this alert information. Please reply with short descriptions of the dissemination (bullet format would be fine) or interesting stories related to this alert.

To participate in this OEWN initiative, visit and fill out the OEWN registration form (listserv). Anyone in Ohio can report an issue to the Ohio Early Warning Network by calling the toll-free non-emergency InfoLine at 1-866-OhioEWN.

This alert is brought to you by the Ohio Department of Education, Safe and Drug Free Schools Program; the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addictions Services, Division of Prevention Services; the Ohio National Guard and the Ohio Resource Network for Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities
The information appearing on this alert is presented for educational purposes only. While the information published on this site is believed to be accurate, it is not intended to substitute for your own informational gathering or professional medical advice.

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Blogger Loni said...

THANK YOU for writing on the choking game. Last reported there were 500 deaths in 2004 of this "choking game". Kids think nothing will hurt them - this is not a drug - just one time, etc. My son was one of them. He was only 16.. And despite losing him and going through this awful pain, yes I am so thankful to have had him - to have loved him - than not having him at all. He was a "good kid". He would have never tried drugs. He loved life - loved his 9 siblings - and most of all loved God. He had compassion for people. But, he learned of a game - this game he lost - lost his life. He tried the "choking game". His 11 year old brother found him hanging. His 15 year old brother cut him down. We are at almost a year since his death, and it's still very hard. This game is dangerous, foolish, and mostly likely WILL cause death. It's not worth the risk. I know. I miss my son.

Matthew's Story
Journaling through the Valley Blog

5:06 PM  

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