Drug Policy

Because It Feels So Good When You Stop

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This is not your father's asphyxiation game:

While asphyxiation games have been around for many years, a series of locally publicized deaths around the country over the last few years, coupled with a realization that teenagers are seeing the game on Internet sites like YouTube, and playing it in more threatening variations—more often, like Levi, alone with a rope—are sparking a vigorous and open discussion in schools and among parents' groups, summer camp administrators and doctors….

A group called the Dylan Blake Foundation, founded by a parent who lost an 11-year-old son in 2005, said there were at least 40 deaths and 5 serious injuries from the game in the United States alone last year.

But the exact number remains uncertain because there has been little real research, health professionals say, and because medical examiners have been quick in the past to rule suicide. Some adults might also dismiss the game as the slumber party goof it was in years past, when constriction to the point of death was virtually unheard of….

"Asphyxiation games have been with us for generations, but what makes the current generation's execution of this game different is that more kids are willing to play it alone," said Dr. Thomas Andrew, the chief medical examiner in New Hampshire.

If seeing choking for kicks on YouTube stimulates interest in the practice, what impact will "antichoking game presentations" such as those described in the article have on impressionable young minds? Well, at least they're not smoking pot.

NEXT: Free to Choose Rudy

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  1. And this years “Darwin Award” goes to….

  2. …there were at least 40 deaths and 5 serious injuries

    Jeebus H Christ on a pogo stick. Can’t we make a rule that you aren’t allowed to start a “for the children” panic with less than 10,000 deaths per year?

  3. So 40 deaths a year, that’s, what one in a million? According to the census, there are 36.4 million elementary children, and 16.8 million folks between 14 and 17, so at worst you’re looking at a one in a million occurrence. That is, hardly worth worrying about.

  4. JohnD beat me to it.

    Frankly, people that accidently kill themselves by playing an ashphyxiation game deserve to die, the stupid bastards. Better that they cease to pollute the gene pool.

  5. Well, it’s easy to forget how dumb kids can be, especially when their stupider peers are involved. I’m not quite willing to say that warning kids about something dangerous (whether generally lethal or not) is a bad idea. Legislation or a course curriculum dedicated to this issue would be another matter, of course.

  6. Kids still do this? Don’t they have an XBox 360 or a Wii? Why do their parents hate them so to deny them these gaming pleasures. I blame these thoughtless, negligent parents.

    If I were the parent of a tween, I would recommend a rainbow party over an asphyxiation party. Huffing parties during January also brighten up the darkest days of the year.

  7. At least they aren’t sticking leeches on themselves.

  8. “what impact will “antichoking game presentations” such as those described in the article have on impressionable young minds?”

    In the alternate universe that public health officials inhabit, there is no youthful behavior that cannot be discouraged by a stern lecture in a classroom setting. You know, because kids respect the authority of their teachers and everything.

  9. Huffing parties during January also brighten up the darkest days of the year.

    HA!

  10. Omigod! If you, like, do a bong hit (and hold it), and then have a chick choke you, and have another chick do.. something to you, and at the same time, you perform a certain bodily function.. you get SO HIGH!

    That’s what happend to that guy from INXS.

  11. TMI, Nice Guy.

  12. Ugh, I played the pass-out game. Drug-free youth still got high.

    signed,
    No longer nailed to the X.

  13. If I were a parent, I’d tell my kid(s), “If you play this ‘game’ and don’t die, you better hope that I don’t get wind of it. Because if I do, I’m going to beat the shit out of you and you’ll wish that you had died.”

  14. Am I insane, or just a bad father, or do I have Stepford sons? I know everything my kids are up to, even really bad stuff they know I disapprove of. I even had one confess, in advance of my finding out, to something he thought I would be very upset about.

    Please report me to the police: I am so involved in my sons’ lives that they cannot strangle the life out of themselves without my knowledge. Maybe I consider them more important than living in my own little world.

  15. This is one of those perennial media-driven panics. I remember Oprah doing a special on the same thing when I was 12 or so. (My initial thought was ‘What the hell is wrong with these morons?’) When ratings dip, it’s oh-so-easy to reach into the file labeled ‘stories dealing with teens, sex, and death.’ Given our national prurient interest in the sex lives of adolescents and the desire of some folks to have something to panic about, it’s a can’t miss story.

  16. Passim,

    Unfortunately, it seems as if your type of parenting is going by the wayside. Too many parents are too selfish and self-centered to really, truly care about what goes on in the lives of their children.

  17. Maybe I’m sheltered, but I never heard of kids doing this. Autoerotic asphyxiation–*that* I’ve heard of and even met someone who later died from it.

    I agree about the Darwin Award aspect of this.

  18. This sounds oddly familiar to the Chubby Bunny epidemic of ’05!

  19. My favorite pro-legalization argument (when I’m not talking to a stone cold moron) is to point out that small children who can barely walk will spin around and around until they fall down dizzy. We seek to alter our consciousness before we can even grasp its crudest distinctions. We will never wipe out drugs.

    These kids are just doing what all of the rest of us do, they just don’t have our fancy tools (pot, wine, Wellbutrin, sex, etc.) I vote we take it easy on them. Think about how many times as a child or a teenager you could have died if some little thing (like squeezing too long) had been different. I should have died maybe… thirty times?

    (Disclaimer: I’m really not nagging you guys to be nice. I thought the crying fat Santorum girl was hilarious…)

  20. Kids still do this? Don’t they have an XBox 360 or a Wii?

    Or internet porn and their dominant hands?

  21. highnumber,

    He’s nailed to the X with every rainbow party, asphyxiation game, and plastic bag thrown in the street, not to mention all the other crimes committed by our wicked kind.

  22. Apologies if this is a repeat post.

    JimmyDaGeek,

    Please tell me it isn’t! I am fully aware that I have a huge advantage over other parents. I work from home whenever I please; I can afford to send my kids to a private school; I live within walking distance of said school; and, since they’re adopted from a crap 3rd-world orphanage (long story…blame Sister Maria and her huge guilt trip), they are perhaps unusually compliant.

    BUT! My own father worked almost 24-7-365, as did my mother (they were the original dual income household), and he was in other countries half my life. But I could never, ever, put anything past him. He knew everything I did, and all my friends. And if I ever even thought about watching something he didn’t approve of, or screwing around, or smoking something naughty…HE KNEW!

    I’m not a Victorian! But am I really the only guy my age–other than Mormons–who manages to keep an eye on his kids?

  23. I mean, really, if I thought I couldn’t keep an eye on them–if I thought for one instant that they were not gentlemen-in-training, then I would quit everything.

    I guess I must be weird. Once I said I’d be their father, I agreed to turn my fashionable apartment into a war zone, and give up my wine-and-cheese parties, and learn to deal with puke on my sofa, and get used to explaining circumcision and homosexuality and menstruation and masturbation and other equally appalling subjects, and learn to tell my friends that, no, I cannot come to the new club opening because I’ve got a sick kid at home and he needs his dad….and and and.

    Aaggghhhh! Whenever I read crap like this, I am compelled to ask, “Where are the parents, and why are they deliberately, knowingly, and with malice-aforethought, refusing to do their fucking jobs?!

  24. Sorry. Letting off steam.

  25. If this is really a one in a million occurrence, we shouldn’t make a big deal of it with kids ’cause it would just make even more morons aware of it as an option.

  26. Autoerotic asphyxiation is a horrible way to die.

  27. I’m not a Victorian! But am I really the only guy my age–other than Mormons–who manages to keep an eye on his kids?

    Nope. Even though my youngins’ aren’t that old yet, my favorite game is Silent Dad of Death.

    When I know they are up to no good, I walk very quietly to the scene of the crime and just stand there until they notice me. Sometimes it takes a minute or so.

    The look of total shock on their faces is worth everything.

    Frankly, people that accidently kill themselves by playing an ashphyxiation game deserve to die, the stupid bastards. Better that they cease to pollute the gene pool.

    I take it then, you are not a parent and have forgotten just how unbeliveably stupid and impressionable 11-year old boys can be.

    Not that I think we need to “do something” about this extremely rare act, but you can always spot the childless males in a crowd.

  28. Fantastic, another foundation to stop people from being stupid.

    Hey, I have two kids and my life would just about be over if anything happened to them. But you know what, I’d be more pissed that they didn’t have the foresight to see that perhaps they might die doing this. Cuz if I found out they were playing this game and didn’t die, I’d kill them.

  29. Did anyone else see the urban-myth style “report” on CNN about the evil meth dealers turning meth into sugary candy to addict the children… and lots of factless fearmongering about it!

    While you can get a few people worked up about suffocation games, there is no clear target (i.e. a drug dealer) that we can vilify. The meth candy is going to be this year’s Rainbow Party panic! Trust me!

  30. Uh, couldn’t a chick choke while getting too enthusiastic with the rainbow?

  31. JimmyDa….Me and you man.

    Mrs TWC and I both work at home. The House Blond is getting locked in the basement the minute puberty hits and her brother is going to be chained to his desk.

    Seriously, we keep them busy because BUSY HANDS ARE HAPPY HANDS.

  32. And, That boy is NEVER getting a driver license, Jesus Chrysler, I swear he hasn’t got any sense at all. 🙂

    Another thing too, we’re straight up about stuff. I told him all about the glue sniffer I knew in grade school that ended up coughing up his lungs and died on the floor in the garage. Don’t sniff that stuff, son, it will make you high but it’s just as likely to give you brain damage and you ain’t got any brain cells to spare.

  33. I take it then, you are not a parent and have forgotten just how unbeliveably stupid and impressionable 11-year old boys can be.

    And Girls.

    Yesterday, I’m playing handball with my 10 year old boy and I hear the House Blonde holler lookit me daddy. She’s 8.

    I turn around and she has climbed the basketball pole and stuck her head up through the rim and has the net wrapped around her head. My eyes got big as saucers.

    Fortunately, no harm no foul, but I told her right quick that if she did that when nobody was around and slipped, lost her grip, whatever, she’d likely as not hang herself. And that’s the connection to the thread, accidental hanging.

  34. TWC- I do believe an eight year old almost hanging her self is much different from a teenager intentionally cutting off the oxygen to his brain. I say go for it buddy, one less i have to worry about collecting “citizen” assistance.

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