Durham University near Newcastle upon Tyne, North East England has come under fire after revelations that the Centurion Society, founded by a group of first-year students, subjects its members to a dangerous initiation of drinking 100 shots of alcohol in 100 minutes.

The students are allowed to choose any alcoholic beverage that they wish in order to participate. For some this may mean choosing a medium or high strength alcoholic beverage which could potentially be life-threatening.

The unofficial society of Durham University, County Durham was founded in September last year. One of its founding members, who wishes to be known only as “Caesar”, told BBC News that the society takes precautions to ensure that the drinking events are safe. He said:

“We have a lot of people who are not drinking. They’re there to help. No-one is forced to drink to excess. We think of it as an alternative to people sitting in their rooms and drinking.”

Officials of Durham University have insisted that they would not sanction such events or activities.

Universities alcohol initiation tests threaten to claim another life

The Centurion Society’s deadly drinking games came to light following on from an inquest into the death of one of Newcastle University’s students.

Ed Farmer, a 20-year-old student from Leicester tragically died from the toxic effects of too much alcohol. Mr Farmer was reported to have been on an “initiation-style” night out organised by Newcastle University’s Agricultural society. The young student tragically died following a cardiac arrest in December 2016. Mr Farmer was taken to a local hospital but sadly could not be saved.

Ed Farmer, 20, died from the toxic effects of initiation style drinking.

The fact that it has emerged that Newcastle University’s unofficial societies are still engaging in dangerous alcohol drinking games needs to be promptly addressed before another young life is needlessly lost.

How Much Alcohol Is Dangerous?

How much alcohol is dangerous to you very much depends on your alcohol tolerance levels. A regular heavy drinker or binge drinker will be able to tolerate more alcohol than a non-drinker or someone who drinks only occasionally.

Alcohol guidelines

The UK’s Chief Medical Officers low-risk drinking limits recommend the following guidelines for those that frequently drink alcohol:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it is safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread your drinking evenly over 3 or more days.
  • If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risks of death from long term illness and from accidents and injuries.
  • The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis.
  • If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week.

Drinking more than the recommended safe drinking limits on a regular basis does put pressure on the body’s system and increases the chances of developing a chronic drinking related illness such as alcohol addiction, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis and even cancer.

Realistically, most individuals will identify with “drinking too much”’, and suffering the effects of a hangover the next day. However, drinking toxic levels of alcohol can cause instantaneous death through alcohol poisoning.

PCP feel it is important to know your own safe levels of drinking. Drinking games and binge drinking are particularly harmful and dangerous, as is regularly drinking more than the Department of Health’s recommended alcohol intake limits.

Binge Drinking Can Lead to Alcohol Addiction

The initiation style drinking games that are often engaged in by University students are incredibly risky. At the very least they are likely to cause a severe hangover. Regularly consuming alcohol can also lead to alcohol dependence and alcohol addiction. An alcohol-dependent person may not even realise they have a drinking problem until they start to suffer alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one are drinking too much and need professional help to stop, please call PCP to find out more about our private alcohol detox and alcohol rehab programmes.