NekNominate - beware the drinking game of death

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HE places his glass on the table, smiles at the camera and pours himself a pint of cider.

So far, it all seems a bit of harmless fun – that is, until the young man continues to pour half a pint of vodka, raw eggs, engine oil and – to finish it off – three live goldfish.

Yazmin Cooper (21) is warning other people of the dangers of Neknominate.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14401-838)

Yazmin Cooper (21) is warning other people of the dangers of Neknominate.''Picture: Allan Hutchings (14401-838)

He proceeds to down the harmful concoction within seconds.

This is the new viral trend to hit the Portsmouth area called NekNominate.

The drinking game involves individuals downing various amounts and types of alcohol and daring each other to do stunts over the internet, then nominating someone to continue the game.

They then post the video online.

Participants are often dared to outdo the exploits of those who nominated them.

The drinking game has been linked to the deaths of four young men in the UK and is now becoming a big concern for the health authorities locally as it appears people of all ages and statuses are trying it out.

Liz Fairhurst, who oversees public health in Hampshire and is a local councillor for Leigh Park and Bedhampton, said: ‘It is highly dangerous.

‘Young people are risking their health. The damage they could do to themselves is immeasurable.

‘You just don’t know what’s going to happen if they are drinking all these noxious things. They could end up with a life of misery if they get it wrong.’

Yazmin Cooper, a 21-year-old mum-of-one from Emsworth, was nominated and got a friend to film her downing a pint of beer mixed with vodka.

She said: ‘I felt quite sick. Afterwards I spoke to my mum and she said it was stupid. I didn’t end up uploading the video.

‘You don’t have to do it, but because it’s such a trend, you feel a bit stupid not doing it because everyone can see it.’

Yazmin now wants to warn other people not to try the drinking game.

‘It’s very dangerous,’ she said.

‘People are putting cleaning stuff into stupid amounts of drink. Everyone has been trying to top the person before, but it’s getting silly. The only good thing to come from this has been drink awareness.’

A rugby player from Waterlooville, who did not want to be named, told The News: ‘I did it purely from a sport sense as a lot of rugby lads had done it and it’s kind of law to do whatever rugby players do.

‘I drank half a pint of gin mixed with Champagne and Famous Grouse as I didn’t want to let the side down.’

But he added: ‘It was amusing and harmless at the start from what I thought but then it started to spiral out of control.

‘It’s turned into more of a one up man-ship rather than people doing their own thing and now I find it laborious to watch.’

A trainee doctor from Portsmouth, who wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘I was initially not really into the whole NekNomination idea as it just looked like an excuse for people to drink ridiculous things and who could do the most extreme.

‘When I got nominated I was in two minds whether to actually do it and for me it’s only funny when it’s original and not insanely stupid.

‘I decided to drink Pimms and lemonade but out of one of my trainers as it was something silly and something I hadn’t seen yet. I had a laugh doing it and for me I didn’t cross any boundaries.’

A 18-year-old student from Havant College said she wanted to take part to prove girls could handle their alcohol.

She said: ‘I wanted to prove a point that it wasn’t limited to just men. I drank beer and wine with loads of Greek stuff in it like feta cheese and olives as it was just a bit of fun.’

The RSPCA have been inundated with reports of goldfish being eaten as part of the dare.

Nicola White, RSPCA wildlife scientist, said: ‘There have been at least 14 calls to the RSPCA about NekNomination footage.

‘Eating a live animal and posting a film of it on the internet is not some light-hearted joke – it is unacceptable.

‘It sends out a clear message that animal cruelty is okay as long as it is in the guise of entertainment. We urge people not to take part in this horrible craze and to report to us anyone who is taking part.

The NekNominate craze originated in Australia, where drinkers nominate friends to down large amounts of alcohol in unusual ways.

But there already appears to be a backlash.

Brent Lindeque, a young South African, decided to do something a bit different when he was nominated.

In his video ‘A South African NekNomination’, Brent is filmed handing a homeless man a sandwich, a chocolate bar and a bottle of Coke.

He then nominates two of his friends to do the same.

Underneath his video, which has amassed more than 500,000 views, he writes: ‘I’ve decided to create something positive out of the random global phenomena of NekNominations.’

The Random Act of Kindness Nomination has now been copied dozens of times.

Reckless - that was the description given to NekNominate by a senior official at Public Health England.

The News spoke to Rosanna O’Connor, the director of Alcohol and Drugs at Public Health England, who explained the severity of the drinking phenomenon.

She said: ‘We’re concerned by reports of the increasing popularity of the drinking dare NekNomination.

‘The game’s encouragement of participants to outdo each other with ever more reckless stunts brings with it significant risks of alcohol-related harm including acute intoxication, accidents and injury.

‘There is also the potential for cyber bullying of those who are seen to “chicken out”.

‘It has already cost lives and we would advise anyone against taking part in the game to avoid putting themselves in a potentially dangerous situation.’

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, in charge of public health in Hampshire, said: ‘It’s a worrying trend.

‘You would hope that people would have a bit more common sense than to take part in it.’

Faith Ponsonby, a local councillor for Leigh Park and a supporter of the young people’s counselling charity Off The Record, said: ‘They don’t know what risks they are taking.

‘If people realised what damage they are doing to their body organs, they would steer clear. They are setting up trouble for themselves in older age – if they get there.’

Cllr Ponsonby was saddened that uploading drinking videos on the internet was seen as a gratifying activity for some people.

‘Much better to go to the gym or take up a sport,’ she said. ‘What a waste – it’s really sad.’