This man removes the plastic seal on a one-litre bottle of vodka and drinks its entire contents in less than 15 seconds. Photo: Facebook
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A new social media craze in which people are encouraged to film themselves skolling alcoholic drinks, including whole bottles of spirits, could have potentially fatal consequences for anyone participating in the game, according to a leading alcohol and drug researcher.
It's competitive, heavy drinking, and that tends to end up with people coming to serious grief through alcohol poisoning. It isn't a thing to be encouraged at all.
Police are already investigating at least one so-called "Neknominate" stunt in which a young Australian allegedly was filmed breaking the law by riding in the boot of a vehicle in the pursuit of the ultimate drinking game video.
An Australian man prepares to skoll a beer while riding a motorbike without a helmet in Vietnam. Photo: Facebook
The new digital chain mail game encourages a person to film themselves "necking" or skolling a drink, then nominating a friend at the end of the film to take up the same challenge.
The videos are shared on social media, with participants trying to out-do each other and come up with more outlandish ways to complete the challenge.
The description of the trend on Facebook says: "Neck your drink. Nominate another. Don't break the chain, don't be a dick. The social drinking game for social media! #neknominate. Drink Responsibly."
A man pours a beer into a toilet, before his friends pick him up by the legs and he drinks from the toilet bowl. Photo: Screen grab, Facebook
One Facebook page, entitled "The Best Neknominate Video's (sic)", has attracted nearly 160,000 likes and features some participants skolling litre-bottles of vodka, bourbon and Jagermeister in a matter of seconds.
In one video, a man nicknamed "Dangerous Dave" appears to skoll a bottle of bourbon through a funnel, before smoking cannabis.
In another video, a young Australian man is shown skolling a beer while riding a motorbike without a helmet in Vietnam. Another man is shown standing on the roof of a garage and downing a beer, before somersaulting off the roof into a child's wading pool.
A man calling himself "Dangerous Dave" skulls a bottle of bourbon. Photo: Screen grab, Facebook
While the craze appears to be most popular among young Australians, it is also sweeping the globe as people nominate their international friends.
One man in the US is shown removing the plastic seal on a one-litre bottle of vodka and drinking its entire contents in less than 15 seconds. "Don't worry kids, I haven't drunk in like a week," he says.
Other videos show a man pouring a beer into a toilet, before his friends pick him up by the legs and he drinks from the toilet bowl, while another video shows a man dressed in a Superman costume pouring a can of scotch into a dog food can and drinking it. "Wow, that tastes beefy," he says.
In Victoria, police have interviewed a 21-year-old man after he was filmed allegedly travelling in a car boot in the suburb of Eltham, in Melbourne's north-east.
The vehicle stops and the man gets out and "necks" a full schooner of beer, before he gets back into the boot and the car drives off.
Professor Michael Farrell, the director of the University of NSW's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, said the game was potentially deadly for participants.
"It's like Jackass and that type of wild behaviour, and it's not necessarily very impressive," he said.
"The main issue is the question of scale and context. In general it looks like it could get people into a lot of trouble, with a lot of pressure to drink. It's competitive, heavy drinking, and that tends to end up with people coming to serious grief through alcohol poisoning. It isn't a thing to be encouraged at all," he said.
Professor Farrell compared it to some competitive drinking games associated with college fraternities in the US.
"Every year there are a number of men and women who die from alcohol poisoning as a result of that, and that is one of the main concerns here," he said.
Drunk people also were at more risk of harming themselves by, for example, falling from heights, Professor Farrell said.
Some people have hit back at the "irresponsible" game online.
"This is pathetic. That not only are you encouraging people to skoll alcohol. But your (sic) promoting those that do," wrote one person on the Facebook page.
"We have way to many drunk drivers and alcohol fuelled violence that acts like this should be discouraged. NOT ENCOURAGED."
Another reader, responding to a video of a man skolling a whole bottle of bourbon, wrote: "What an absolute moron, I dare say he would have needed a hospital visit after this and wasted the time of doctors and nurses that could have been caring for needy patients rather than this half wit."
NSW Police said they would not be commenting on the trend.