An Irish alcohol charity has reacted with outrage after a Facebook meme that encourages its users to "neck" pints has begun to spread in Ireland.
MEAS, a group for the Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society, has said that the "game," in which users down a pint of alcohol on camera and then tag their friends to encourage them to do the same, promotes irresponsible drinking fuelled by peer pressure.
A spokesperson for the organisation said that it was "very concerned" about the new social media trend, which is primarily being organized through status updates and Facebook groups.
The fad has even spread to other social networks and may have originally started in Australia, where it began as a game in which users encouraged their friends to drink alcohol in outlandish and unusual ways, such as from a toilet bowl or on the roof of a garage.
Twitter and YouTube, as well as Vine, have also emerged as major platforms for the fad, with users simply adapting the "neck nominate" request to the requirements and format of the network being used.
Irish players have so far favoured spreading the game in its crudest form -- simply downing large volumes of strong alcohol and daring others to follow suit -- while American users have tended to stray towards adopting complex and arbitrary rules, such as having a female participant dance with men while they chug the beverages.
Australian videos have veered towards other extreme behaviours, such as chain-smoking marijuana and even eating chicken heads, according to reports.
Although Irish groups have been in existence since December, the trend is thought to have only gained significant traction in the past couple of weeks.
A UK drugs experts said that engaging in the game was tantamout to “playing Russian Roulette” with your life given the extremity of some of the stunts being shared.
Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) said that it was “no coincidence” that a number of games such as Neck-nominate had emerged simultaneously with the increased affordability of alcohol in recent years.
A spokesperson for that organisation pointed out that spirit measures of alcohol costing less than the price of a supermarket bottle of wine were now readily available from liquor stores around the country.
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