College Student Dies from Drinking too much Water

A student at California State University at Chico has died of water poisoning (hyponatremia) from drinking too much water during a fraternity hazing ceremony. He is not the first student to die from “bingeing” on water as some fraternities have begun replacing beer with water in their hazing rituals because of university pressures.

Excessive water in the body causes salt levels in the blood to drop which interferes with brain, heart and muscle functioning, leading to death.

Water bingeing is becoming an increasingly common hazing ritual according to a national expert on hazing and author of four books on the subject, Hank Newer. “As universities crack down on hazing frats are turning to other things like water and milk to haze pledges, kind of like an ‘in your face’ thing to the university,” Nuwer explains.

Any substance, even water, is a poison in large enough quantities.


  • Associated Press. Police: Student in hazing dies drinking too much water. February 4, 2005; May, Meredith. Fraternity pledge died of water poisoning: Forced drinking can disastrously dilute blood’s salt content. San Francisco Chronicle, February 4, 2005.