Shocker: Ritalin-fueled Xbox marathon sends teen to hospital

Energy drinks, coffee and frozen foods are the weapons of choice for most hardcore gamers, but one 15-year old New Zealand boy took things too far last week when he attempted to fuel his Xbox 360 all-nighter by snorting the drug Ritalin. In a twist absolutely no one could have predicted, things did not go nearly as planned.

According to the New Zealand news outletTVNZ, the unidentified boy's efforts won him an all-exclusive trip to the local Wellington Hospital where he was reported by the boy's father to have arrived "white as a sheet and hyperventilating". The father claims his son obtained the Ritalin through a classmate at Hutt Valley High School, and used a homemade device to inhale the drug through his nose in order to stay awake and play games. The father has since taken it upon himself to warn other parents to be more vigilant in keeping tabs on the prescription drug, telling press, "If they have Ritalin in their houses it needs to be kept in a secure place. They all think their kids are angels."

Ritalin is a common drug prescribed to children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to help achieve better focus. Its active ingredient, methylphenidate, increases the patient's blood pressure and heart rate, making it an attractive recreation drug for cheap highs, or in this case, longer lasting game sessions. Although Wellington Hospital emergency medicine specialist Paul Quigley told TVNZ this is the first time he's ever seen someone admitted for sniffing Ritalin, he was not surprised at the result, explaining, "Snorting a drug is similar to injecting it in terms of the effect on the body. Whoever is teaching them to snort that's particularly dangerous. That may mean we'll see an increase in [hospital] presentations."

Aside from being great FOX News bait, this story is a reminder that snorting anything is a stupid idea, and one must take great care when subjecting their bodies and minds to extended periods of gaming. That said, if you're prone to playing for hours on end, let us know your strategy for staying awake (and sane) in the comments below.

Aug 9, 2011

Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.