Police and schools warn parents and pupils over latest “dangerous” social media craze
Parents are being warned of dangers of a new craze amongst young people termed as the “Paracetamol Challenge”, which has spread via Facebook and Instagram.
Children are risking their lives in a new social media craze involving the abuse of over-the-counter paracetamol.
In large doses, paracetamol causes a slow and painful death, where victims wake up after overdosing with their livers already irrevocably destroyed, dying hours or days later.
The dangerous 'Paracetamol Challenge' appears to have spread via Facebook and Instagram, and encourages youngsters to take multiple painkillers.
Police and schools have warned parents and pupils after the craze started in Ayrshire, Scotland, where a teenager was reportedly hospitalised.
Alan Ward, head of schools at East Ayrshire Council, said the craze is 'a matter of great concern'.
Mr Ward, who was first contacted by police in March said: “We are urging parents to talk to their children about the potential dangers of taking paracetamol and to discourage their children from engaging in any online activity in support of this dangerous craze.
“The challenge results in young people daring each other, through Instagram and Facebook, to take excessive amounts of paracetamol and this is a matter of great concern.”
Elsewhere, the craze has seen a grieving mother speak out against the dangers of excessive paracetamol consumption.
Mandy Yousaf's daughter Charlotte, 19, lost her life after overdosing on the pills following a split from her partner in 2011.
Charlotte was rushed to hospital in Blackpool, Lancs, after collapsing days after taking the tablets, but died the next day.
Mrs Yousaf, 48, has warned other teens 'not to end up like my daughter'.
She said: “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.
“But it is not just teenagers we need to tell about this - it's teachers. It's parents. Everyone.”
If you feel affected by any of the issues in this story or want to speak to someone in confidence, contact The Samaritans.