Online drinking game NekNominate, also known as Neck Nominate or NekNomination, is the latest craze to sweep social media, as young adults and college students around the world post videos of themselves drinking large amounts of alcohol in risky situations — some, with grave consequences.
The game was made famous in Britain last Christmas by a professional rugby player who chugged or “necked” a beer on camera, posted it online, and challenged others to out-do him, according to an article by the United Kingdom Daily Mail.
NekNominate has only two rules: one, the participant has to drink something alcoholic; two, the participant has to dare or “nominate” another person to drink next.
The first rule has since evolved to encourage players to drink as much as they can stomach in effort to outdo their challengers. The nominees then have 24 hours to complete the challenge.
The consequences of this massive, viral college party have quickly taken a turn for the worse with five young adults now dead after participating, according to the New York Daily News. The deaths have all occurred in the United Kingdom and were linked to alcohol poisoning or alcohol-related accidents after downing lethal amounts of alcohol during the challenge.
Junior Performing Arts and Social Justice student Tommy Ferdon played the game recently for the first time. “I was nominated by a friend from high school,” said Ferdon, who made a Manhattan cocktail — a mix of Sweet vermouth, Bourbon, and Angostura bitters — and drank it in one sitting. “I might do it again if I got nominated again, but after two times I think it would get pretty old,” he said.
Other NekNomination videos include various stunts, like a teenage girl stripping down to lingerie in a crowded store and throwing back a pint of Stella Artois, and a young man mixing vodka, tequila, and two live goldfish, before chugging the concoction on camera in his underwear.
Even after being linked to the deaths of five men under age 30, the Neknominate Facebook page has over 37,000 likes.
“I think the idea of the game is fun, but when when people feel challenged to take it to an irresponsible limit I think that is stupid and it should stop,” said Ferdon.
“I do realize there is a certain element of ‘raising the bar’, for example I heard of someone who filmed themselves drinking a Baywater — a mix of Hypnotic and Hennessey — while driving across the Bay Bridge,” he continued.
Senior Communications major Natalie Killinger also agrees that the game can and has been taken too far, calling it “unnattractive” and a “disgusting way for guys to try and show off their masculinity.”
In an effort to stop this game from sweeping the United States, organizations dedicated to putting a stop to alcohol poisoning, like U.S. non-profit Aware Awake Alive, are working with colleges and high schools to create awareness and education about alcohol poisoning, according to a press release.
USF currently has EMRs (Emergency Medical Response services) in place on weekends every Friday and Saturday night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for students at risk of alcohol poisoning or other medical emergencies.
EMRs is a volunteer group of 13 students who are trained EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) that respond to campus emergencies. Last semester, they responded to 14 calls, over 80 percent of which were related to alcohol or drug use, according to Professor Octavia Struve, EMRs faculty advisor.
Junior biology major William Glazier, an EMT for USF EMRs said the game “seems to mix all the worst aspects of drinking, prioritizing excess and peer-pressure. It’s no surprise to me that alcohol poisoning is often the result.”
Students who call EMRs with an alcohol or drug related emergency will not be punished.
In the event of an emergency on campus, EMRs can be reached at (415)-422-2911.