College drinking games such as Edward 40 Hands, Beer Pong, Quarters, Dead Man Walk, and Truth or Dare, are some of the games popular with students, where hard liquor is increasingly replacing beer in these games.
“Kids easily drink seven or eight shots at a time,” says a college student of her buddies.
But Dr. Mary Claire O’Brien, an emergency medicine physician and associate professor who specializes in alcohol-related research, says that’s a low figure. “Teens in our studies are having 10 or more drinks.”
According to the Century Council, a leader in the fight against underage drinking, alcohol consumption among youth under the legal drinking age remains at an alarming level.
Many more young people use alcohol than tobacco or illegal drugs. By age 18, more than 70 percent of teens have had at least one drink. At 15, roughly 50 percent have had at least one drink.
Underage drinking occurs in social settings, and according to one source, over 80 percent of those between 12 to 20 who had used alcohol in the past month were with two or more people the last time they drank alcohol.
Teens drink less often than adults, but when teens do drink, they binge which can be deadly. According to the CDC, about 90% of all teen alcohol consumption occurs in the form of binge drinking, which, experts say, peaks at age 19.
“We’re seeing kids coming in with blood alcohol levels in the mid-.3s, even .4, which is four to five times the legal limit for driving. That’s the level at which 50% of people die,” says Dr. O’Brien.
“Ten years ago, we saw those levels only in chronic alcoholics.”
Dr. Michael Siegel, professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, recently completed a study of high school students, and found a growing preference for hard liquor over beer among teens.
“We found that, by far, liquor is the beverage of choice,” Siegel said. This definitely represents a change.”
Possum Tree-Drinking Game
According to a report in the Otago Daily Times, a disturbing drinking game college kids are now playing in New Zealand is called “possum”.
Players sit in a tree, like possums, and consume a pack of 24 beers until they fall out of the tree from drunkenness.
Alan Matchett, a city council gardens and cemeteries team leader said staff first encountered students playing the game about four years ago.
Since then, it’s increased in popularity to the point where gardens staff or security guards are forced to chase away people.
Matchett said his understanding of the game was that multiple people climbed a single tree, taking with them large amounts of alcohol and sometimes food.
Matchett’s staff is working closely with the nearby University of Otago’s Campus Watch in keeping an eye on the area.
Matchett added that food scraps, broken bottles and vomit are often left behind, and there was the potential for someone to get injured falling from a tree.
Additionally, the game has a negative effect on other users of the gardens.
Staff were also concerned about the damage that could be caused to trees, some of which were classed as heritage trees and were more than 100 years old.