DORSET youngsters are being warned to say no to a dangerous drinking game which has claimed four lives in little more than a week. The ‘NekNomination’ craze sweeping social media can have lethal consequences, the county’s police force has warned.
The game sees a nominated person filming themselves downing a potentially lethal concoction – mostly a mixture of alcoholic drinks, but in some cases washing up liquid and even urine – posting it to social media and then ‘nominating’ two internet friends to take part.
Dorset Police Superintendent Andrew Clowser said: “Drinking games such as this may appear harmless but usually encourage irresponsible drinking.
“Such games may seem fun and exciting but could have life threatening consequences.
“I ask that people do not react to peer pressure and always remember to drink responsibly, otherwise they could be putting themselves in danger.”
So far four young men have died from taking part in the game. At the weekend, Stephen Brookes, aged 29 from Cardiff died after downing a pint of vodka and Isaac Richardson, 20, collapsed in London after reportedly wanting to try to ‘outdo’ other participants in a NekNominate contest.
In Ireland, Ross Cummins, aged 22, collapsed after reportedly downing spirits and the body of Jonny Byrne, aged 19, was found in a river after he jumped in as part of a dare in a separate incident.
Dorset County Hospital has so far not had anyone admitted after playing the lethal game and staff are hoping it stays that way.
Alison Tong, director of nursing at the hospital, said: “We would strongly advise anyone against taking part in these sorts of drinking games.
“Young people especially have a lower tolerance to mixed alcoholic drinks.
“Alcohol poisoning is extremely serious and can lead to death.”
Meanwhile, there are also fears that animals across the county may have come to harm as the craze takes grip.
The Echo has been told of Dorset youngsters reportedly drinking urine and beer with things like moisturiser and insects as part of the dare.
The National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs – the biggest youth movement in the UK – is urging members to heed the warnings.
Although no local members are believed to have taken part, Adam Penney, chairman of the Dorset Young Farmers Club, said: “I completely agree with the national line.
“It’s been quite worrying- people have done some very silly things.
“Unfortunately it shows the negative power that social media can have.
“We can’t stop anyone from taking part but we want to make them aware of the implications it could have.”
RSPCA investigating complaints
The RSPCA is still investigating whether any of the complaints it has received about NekNominations involving animals have come from Dorset.
So far 14 calls have been made about nominees swallowing live fish, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act.
Because investigations are still ongoing, the charity is unable to confirm yet whether they have taken place in the county. RSPCA wildlife scientist Nicola White said: “We have had quite a few similar cases reported to us in a very short space of time – but this could be just the tip of the iceberg as there’s probably many more we have not been told about. Eating a live animal and posting of a film of it on the internet is not some light-hearted joke – it is unacceptable.
“We urge people not to take part in this horrible craze and to report to us anyone who is taking part.”