CommunityPam's House Blend

Kids dying playing the 'passing out' game

Is there just nothing better for kids to do in small town America — getting high by cutting off your air supply? Note that this happened at a Christian school; parents of these kids think removing them from the evil secular schools will prevent their precious, God-fearing children from engaging in risky activities. Wrong.

This is just plain sad. I went to school in the big bad city and I didn’t know anyone that participated in this nonsense (or the other weird suburban/rural kinds of getting high that I knew about at the time — glue sniffing and huffing spray paint fumes in paper bags).

A teenager found hanging from a dresser drawer with a coated bicycle chain lock around her neck apparently died while playing the “pass-out game,” the girl’s parents said. Kimberly Wilson, a 15-year-old student at Veritas Christian School in Lawrence, died last week.

Her parents, Tim and Carol Wilson, began discussing the details of her death Monday because they wanted other parents to be aware of the dangers of playing the choking game, which cuts off the oxygen supply to the brain. Those who play achieve a type of “high,” they said.

“We are very close to our children, and we did not know this was going on,” Tim Wilson said Monday. “There were no outward signs. This isn’t like drugs or alcohol use, which a parent should be able to detect. “We want parents to know this is out there.”

The game has been in the news in recent weeks. Just last month, a 10-year-old Idaho boy was found dead, hanging from a tree. Authorities said he apparently died while trying to get high by playing the choking game. The case was similar to that three months ago in the Idaho town of Nampa, where 13-year-old Chelsea Dunn was found dead after apparently hanging herself in her closet.

Tami Radohl, a Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center counselor at Southwest Junior High School in Lawrence, said the behavior is not uncommon. “This is going on in every junior high in Lawrence,” Radohl said.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding