It’s been linked to at least five deaths around the globe and now the online Neknominate challenge has made its way to Prince Rupert.
Neknominate involves a person recording themselves guzzling a substantial amount of alcohol in a short period of time and challenging their friends to do the same. The video is then posted to social media where the challenge becomes public. Those who don’t accept the challenge are then ridiculed online.
But the challenge goes beyond beer. Videos posted by people in Prince Rupert include chugging a combination of hard alcohol — including a concoction of beer, vodka, tequila and Kahlua and another mixing two beer with two shots of Jack Daniels all consumed in less than one minute.
“With that level of alcohol consumption, they are putting their lives at risk,” said Northern Health’s acting chief medical officer Ronald Chapman.
“One risk associated with drinking, and particularly binge drinking, is if people consume too much they can suffer alcohol poisoning. Common symptoms include confusion, vomiting, breathing can stop, you can get irregular heart beating and unconsciousness … a lot of the people, when unconscious, can vomit. If they are not in a proper position they can end up breathing that into their lungs, which causes suffocation.”
In response to reports from the Northern View of the game happening on the North Coast, Const. Matt Ericson said Prince Rupert RCMP are asking the community to be vigilant and call if they have any information relevant to the spreading of Neknominate.
“This is an extremely disturbing trend that has become a viral sensation,” he said.
“We want to inform the community about this trend that is potentially putting people at risk due to the large volume of alcohol that is being consumed in a very short amount of time. This is not only unhealthy, but has the real potential to cause serious medical complications associated with alcohol poisoning, and even death.”
Most of the videos from Prince Rupert residents on social media involve young men, but the game has been taken up by teenagers and youth in other areas. In the U.K. over the weekend, a 10-year-old boy was taken to hospital after downing a vodka cocktail after being nominated.
Chapman said the involvement of youth presents an even greater danger.
“For teenagers, they should not exceed one or two drinks at a time because exceeding that amount can affect their development, including their neurological development,” he said, noting the community at large needs to know about the risks.
“It’s not just the kids, the parents should be aware of it, teachers should be aware of it and we need to get the kids to encourage others not to participate in this risky behaviour.”
Neknominate is believed to have originated in Australia, but has since become a global trend.