Neknominate – The Dangerous Binge Drinking Game That Has Already Killed Five People
What began as a harmless and friendly drinking challenge between friends more than a year ago quickly caught fire this past Christmas thanks to social media. Today, only a few months later, at least five people have died from Neknominate. Like so many alcohol-related deaths, all of them were preventable.
In the beginning, it was known as “Neck and Nominate,” and it really was only a harmless dare to “neck” or down a beer and then challenge a friend to do the same. Similar drinking behavior is quite common with almost no consequences, except for maybe a stained shirt. Add video and social media to the mix, and the simple challenge snowballed as others upped the ante from a pint of beer to full bottles of liquor as the challenge morphed into the now popular “Neknominate” or “Necknomination.”
The Neknominate rules are simple: Shoot a video of “necking” or chugging a drink, post it on social media like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, then challenge or nominate another friend to do the same. Things went viral when rugby player, Ross Samson, posted his Christmas Day Facebook challenge and nominated everyone whose birthday wasn’t on Christmas.
Not all Neknominate challenges have posed health risks, as many stick to the pint of beer routine with an added twist, like doing it in a public place while wearing skimpy lingerie (men and women). Granted, that’s pretty funny and nobody gets hurt. But too many people pushed the boundaries to dangerous by swapping out a pint of beer for hard liquor like gin or vodka. In such circumstances, the body is no match for the bottle, no matter how manly you perceive yourself to be.
There’s never been a shortage of drinking games among young adults, especially around college campuses. They run the gamut from fun and “almost” innocent to full-blown toxic binge drinking. Every year, it seems that a new game or challenge is created that outdoes the previous ones, and we’re now pushing the limits of what the human body can endure.
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), more than 1800 college students die from alcohol related incidents in the United States alone. The sad part is these are preventable deaths. Binge drinking is a big part of the equation for a number of reasons, including ego, bravado, and lack of understanding about how alcohol affects the body.
Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and the remainder through the small intestine. The liver metabolizes alcohol and breaks it down, but only at the rate of one drink per hour. Any more than one drink per hour, and the rest builds up in the blood and tissues until a later time when the liver can do it’s work. Because the body can’t store alcohol, the liver can’t metabolize anything else until it finishes it’s main priority, namely alcohol. You can see where this is going.
The one drink rule means, 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor – that’s how much the liver can handle in an hour. Going over that limit by one or two drinks might not be a big problem, but a full pint challenge of gin or similar spirit in one gulp is a seriously dangerous. One casualty of Neknominate was a 20-year old man who died after downing two pints of gin and uploading the video to Facebook. His mother posted the message, “You all need to stop now!!!” the day his body was discovered.
The unfortunate truth is, alcohol related deaths are preventable and there’s no reason for anyone to prove they can outdrink anybody else. Being good at drinking should mean you know the limits of the human body and if you drink, you do it responsibly. Nobody needs to die or end up in an accident because of a drinking game. The bottle will always win when pitted against the human body. That’s a fact and there’s no getting around it.
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