When you were a kid and someone triple-dog-dared you to do something you had to do it. There was some unspoken code that held you to it or, well, you sucked.
The newest online drinking game, NekNominate, thrives on this code. Players are dared to consume excessive amounts of alcohol with 24 hours, or they lose. Once the bottle, boot or toilet bowl (literally) is empty, the drinker passes the dare to another person, who then must drink whatever mix of booze he or she is told to drink. The dare is recorded and posted on YouTube or Facebook as proof for friends or future bosses.
There are more than 50,000 videos on YouTube and multiple Facebook pages devoted to NekNominate. In one video, a ten year old boy chugs a glass of vodka, Nando’s sauce, cream and mayonnaise. In another, a man adds a dead mouse to his brew before he chugs it. Expectedly, these drinkers become violently ill during or after the recording.
The game started in Australia, where to “neck” is to drink something all at once. Since it went viral on Facebook and YouTube and spread to the U.K. and parts of the U.S. in January, the game has killed five men, all younger than 35.
Earlier this month, 20-year-old Bradley Eames of the U.K. became the fifth known casualty. He downed two pints of gin and died four days later from alcohol poisoning complications.
I’m going to spare the sermon about surrendering to peer pressure. We’re adults on a college campus, and we’re responsible for our own choices. But before this goes viral in the U.S. and is copied by people closer to home, I’m going to give a disclaimer NekNominate doesn’t provide.
A lethal dose of alcohol is one that puts an individual’s blood alcohol content at .40 percent. BAC varies by weight, gender, genetics and how much food one has eaten; but generally speaking, 10 to 15 drinks in one hour is lethal.
The game’s initiators don’t consider this, but they should. Since Eames’s death, drinkers who dare friends to take on lethal challenges could face manslaughter charges.
If you’re nominated for the game, I’m won’t lie — there are probably plenty who will mock you for not wanting to slug back two pints of gin in under a minute. Perhaps that’s what the five dead players worried about before they died. But if they hadn’t cared about what other people thought, they’d probably all be alive. And the people they nominated would not be immortalized online as violently ill and obviously stupid.
Nobody our age drinks without knowing alcohol in excess can have be fatal. When drinking is a game of Russian Roulette, nobody wins, no matter how many “likes” you get.