Drinking games
Can be deadly

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What are drinking games?

Drinking games

Drinking games are contests or challenges during which a maximum amount of alcohol is consumed in a very short time. The practice is also known as binge drinking.

Drinking contests may take place casually, among friends, or be more formally organized by a bar or a club. They can be public or private, with or without spectators.

The games go by various names. Century Club, Quarters, Boat Races and Chug-a-Lug are a few you may have heard about.

The point is that these are all very dangerous “games” that can lead to severe intoxication and alcohol poisoning. The danger begins when your blood alcohol level hits 400 mg per 100 ml of blood (commonly referred to as .40). More than that, and there is a serious risk of coma and even death.

Drinking games = Danger

Many things can happen when you drink too much. The effects become more serious the more you drink, and the risk is extremely high when your blood alcohol level is over 200 mg per 100 ml of blood (.20).

Blood alcohol content

(mg/100 ml of blood)
Stage Effects
0 to 50
(0 to .05)

normal behaviour
  • Little or no significant influence
  • Anxiety and inhibitions may be reduced
50 to 100
(.05 to .10)

mild intoxication
  • Euphoria (feeling of well-being and satisfaction)
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Increased talkativeness, sociability and liveliness
  • Progressive decrease in attention, concentration and judgment
  • Coordination impairment begins
100 to 200
(.10 to .20)

moderate intoxication
  • Progressive decrease in memory and comprehension
  • Difficulty paying attention and exercising judgment
  • Progressive visual impairment
  • Face pale or flushed
  • Slurred speech
  • Emotional instability
  • Augmentation du temps de réaction
  • Increased reaction time
  • Slower reflexes
  • Poor coordination
200 to 300
(.20 to .30)
Advanced inebriation:

severe intoxication
  • Spluttering
  • Incoherence
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Marked sensory impairment
  • Alteration in perception of colours, shapes, motion and dimensions
  • Insensitivity to pain
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Apathy, drowsiness
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Temporary blindness or blackouts
  • Marked decrease in motor coordination
300 to 400
(.30 to .40)

extreme intoxication
  • Significant decrease in response to stimuli
  • Daze accompanied by numbness (loss of sensitivity and slowed thinking)
  • Very marked decrease in motor coordination
  • Deep sleep
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Hypothermia (reduced body temperature)
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Risk of inhaling vomit
400 to 500
(.40 to .50)
Coma or death
  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Marked respiratory depression
  • Coma or death due to respiratory arrest

Source: Ben Amar, Champagne, Vallée, Cyr, Léonard et Charbonneau, Les Psychotropes : pharmacologie

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