April 27, 2007 - Posted at 9:11 p.m. CDT
REGION 8 -- It's a teen death that can often be mistaken for suicide...by hanging or choking. And it all starts off as a game that many teens and pre-teens think is pretty harmless.
The 8th grade algebra class at St. Piox School in West Toledo, Ohio is making a statement. No uniforms for a dollar donation, they can dress casual. Raising money and awareness about a potentially deadly game kids their age are playing...the "Choking Game."
"Why would you want to choke yourself?" asked one student.
"I was amazed at the age of the kids doing it now," remarked one eighth grader.
"I think it's all related to peer pressure," said one girl during her lunch break.
Her friend replied with, "I think it's pretty stupid and immature that you'd do this to yourself."
"All parents should be aware of it," warned one student.
Student Holly Davis lost a young relative...They died trying to play it alone.
"Why would he do something like this because he knew it was stupid? And I thought he knew he could die from it," said Davis softly.
So she's spear-heading an awareness campaign called Ka-Pow at her school. It stands for Kids Against Pass Out. Video of this disturbing trend is readily available from the personal video website UTube and while we can't guarantee its authenticity, we can guarantee that it's available for your kids to watch 24-7. And real or not, kids are copying the behavior.
Most often, these kids have another person choke them. Pressing on their corroded artery, cutting off the blood supply to the brain. It's creates a quick buzz or a head rush.
Pediatric emergency medicine specialist Eugene Izsak says the high is quick, free and is easily very dangerous.
"If you're holding something around your neck or someone else is choking you, they may not let go at the right time and therefore death can occur," said Dr. Izsak.
Kids can get so addicted they try it themselves at home...alone. Using belts, scarves, bike chains and that's when kids can die. It's called by many different names... Space money, pass out, the pass out game, California high, black-out, purple dragon and suffocation roulette. But knowing what to look for can go a long way toward avoiding this dangerous trend.