Neknominate highlights binge drinking issues: expert

THE Neknominate craze taking social media by storm does nothing more than highlight the ever-present dangers of binge drinking and alcohol abuse, according to Lyndon Community addiction medicine specialist Rod McQueen.

A social media drinking stunt that started as a chain-mail game in the United Kingdom in January last year, Neknominate relies on participants filming themselves skolling alcoholic drinks before nominating their friends to do the same.

The videos are then posted on social media sites, more often than not Facebook and Twitter.

Mr McQueen said the nature in which the game has spread proves alcohol is still one of the biggest drug problems facing all levels of government.

“It illustrates an interesting point,” Mr McQueen said.

“The state and federal governments are out there telling us synthetic drugs cannabis, speed ... they’re all dangerous and addictive substances, but alcohol has always been a problematic substance. 

“You only have to look at what they’re facing in Sydney at the moment.”

Mr McQueen said there was also “social pressures to deal with” when encountering such a craze, adding adolescents battle certain patterns, peer acceptance and peer identity when participating in such games.

A 24-year-old Orange man, who declined to be named, said what originally started out as a bit of fun between his circle of friends has quickly become something “social media has taken hold of”.

He added peer pressure ensured most people completed their nomination.

“There is [peer pressure] to a point,” he said.

“I know in my group of friends if it wasn’t done they’d have a bit of a go at you.”

A string of videos has emerged of nominees going to great lengths to out-do their mates, and it’s then Neknominate becomes dangerous, the 24-year-old said.

“I’ve heard of people being handed penalties if their nomination isn’t done in 24 hours,” he said. “With mine, I was always going to do it. But it’s when people take it to the next level, like necking a bottle of [Jim] Beam or doing it upside down, that’s when it gets out of hand.”

The social media prank has also claimed its first high-profile victim, with All Black flanker Steven Luatua forced to apologise for his appearance in a video involving the social media-fuelled drinking game.

The Auckland Blues star is seen in a video pouring beer down the throat of an unidentified man.

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