I'm seeing stories such as this Daily Mail article, claiming that there's a craze amongst teenagers to basically play chicken with paracetamol (acetaminophen).

a dangerous online trend has emerged encouraging young people to take large quantities of the drug, known as the Paracetamol Challenge. [...] 'Now you see teenagers egging each other on, and it's a peer pressure thing where they clearly don't know what they're doing.

However, I can't find anything on this except for other similar news stories, most of which are published by news sources with a reputation for hysteria. I don't consider the Daily Mail as a reliable source because they have a very poor reputation. Even they admit that the girl who died in their story was really a suicide rather than a kid following a social media meme.

I don't see any reason for people to be doing this, as paracetamol is not a psychotropic substance (it won't get you high) and it will kill in a high enough dose. Then again people do play chicken so there may be something to it.

Are people really taking high doses of drugs as part of a "paracetamol challenge" circulating on social media?

  • So; you don't trust dailymail.co.uk. Which news site do you trust? Do you find the independent.co.uk trustworthy? mirror.co.uk?
    – My Name
    May 26 '15 at 22:22
  • Definitely don't trust the mirror, they're embroiled in the phone hacking scandal. Can't comment on the independent as I've never read it. I'd be more inclined to believe places like the Huffington Post or the BBC, but even then a story like this would still sound improbable to me. I don't think even teenagers are daft enough to play chicken with over the counter drugs.
    – GordonM
    May 26 '15 at 22:24
  • 1
    I don't think this should be locked as it is at least somewhat verifiable whether this was occurring before the earliest news reports though may need to be reworded to ask whether it was happening before the news claimed it happened.
    – Murphy
    May 27 '15 at 15:32
  • 1
    Google search: set date range: before may 19 "paracetamol challenge" -"risking lives" -"Mother of girl" -"grieving mother" -"Police warn youngsters" -"Police have issued" -"damage your organs" -"craze in our schools" -"warning parents" -"social media craze" -" Children risking lives" The terms with minus signs before them are to exclude news articles warning against it. About 8 pages of results, none of them appear to be teenagers challenging each other. mostly mouse drug research and a few news sites that slipped through.
    – Murphy
    May 27 '15 at 15:55
  • 1
    @GordonM ROFLMAO. You would believe a random blog collection (which is what HuffPost is) just because they post stories you agree with? And disbelieve a paper becuase they did some questionable stuff to obtain true information? That seems... faulty judgement.
    – user5341
    May 28 '15 at 16:49

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .