'Neknomination': Internet drinking game linked to two deaths over the weekend grows in popularity amongst British students

 

Social Affairs Correspondent

An online drinking craze linked to the deaths of two teenagers over the weekend continued across Britain today, despite warnings that it was lethal when taken to its extreme.

The internet trend, known as "neknomination", involves young people filming themselves gulping down large amounts of alcohol in increasingly dangerous settings and posting them online. At the end of the video they shout out a friend’s name and nominate them to perform their own stunt.

Jonny Byrne, a 19-year-old from County Carlow, Ireland, was discovered floating in a river on Saturday after jumping in as part of a nomination stunt. In an emotional plea to his son’s generation, his father Joe Byrne told Irish broadcaster RTE: “I'm pleading to every youngster to think of the things they're doing.

“It has cost my son his life. The whole family is devastated and our lives will never be the same again. I hope this message is heeded because for us, life is virtually over,” Mr Byrne said.

Jonny’s brother, Patrick Byrne, posted online: “This neck nomination s*** HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW my young 19 year old brother Jonny Byrne from Carlow died tonight in the middle of his nomination.

“He thought he had to try and beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river. After five hours of searching he is still not found. If people have any decency and respect they will refrain from any more of this stupid neck nomination shit.”

A Facebook page dedicated to the craze called NI NeKnomination has now been discontinued and turned to an alcohol awareness page.  

Just hours before the discovery of Jonny Byrne’s body, Ross Cummins, 22, was found unconscious in a house in Dublin and died later in hospital. Irish media reported that he was drinking spirits at the time of his death and that his extreme drinking was part of a neknomination.

The Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust said last night that at least one person had been admitted to North Devon’s accident and emergency department as a result of the craze over the last month.

The craze is understood to have started in a private college in Western Australia, before spreading across the world. It is particularly popular amongst students, many of whom continued to participate in it across the UK today.

Nishad Sanzagiri, a student at Edinburgh University, was sitting in a lecture on democracy yesterday afternoon when it was disrupted by someone performing a neknomnation. He said: “This guy got up and stood in the front next to the lecturer. He had a huge glass with him and opened the beer and started chugging. It was really shocking because the news had only just come out about the two guys that died.”

Other students also posted online about lectures being interrupted by a neknomination in Nottingham yesterday.

The mix of alcohol, dangerous stunts and peer pressure is noxious, according to experts. Once someone is nominated there can be pressure to accept the dare and those that do not can become a target for bullies.

Dr Sarah Jarvis, a GP on the DrinkAware advisory board, said: “ We know people who drink alcohol are at much greater risk of falls and accidents so if you combine alcohol with outdoing each other in dangerous situations it’s a real, real concern.

She said the likelihood of alcohol poisoning from drinking such large quantities in a very brief amount of time was high. “The sadness is we have now had deaths and serious injuries. You’d have thought that would make people think, wouldn’t you?”

Amongst the more extreme examples posted by Britons online include a man cheered on by a crowd as he downs an entire litre of rose wine in less than four seconds and a man drinking a mixture of vodka, cat food and urine.

In a video filmed last Wednesday afternoon in Coventry, a man dressed as a sheikh stops traffic in the middle of a busy road to down a pint and then strips naked. In another, a young man posted a video of himself drinking several cans of lager whilst riding his bike around Bristol.

Gerard Hastings, an expert on the promotion of unhealthy products at the University of Sterling’s Institute for Social Marketing, said the craze was indicative of how accepting society had become of binge drinking. “We’re bringing young people into a world where drinking is very much part of the everyday agenda and we don’t recognise alcohol as the very dangerous drug that it actually is”, he said, “We need to bring a balance back.”

“The reality is that for the young male age group alcohol is already a major killer. This social media effect provides another avenue for that. It’s a symptom of alcohol being more central in our lives than is healthy.”


Watch one South African turn a NekNomination into something positive

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Data Analyst - Essex - £25,000

£23500 - £25000 per annum + Training: Ashdown Group: Graduate Data analyst/Sys...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Account Manager

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Account Manager is r...

Guru Careers: Graduate Account Manager / Sales Executive

£18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Account Man...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project