Larne residents have been warned to steer clear of a potentially deadly online drinking craze that is sweeping the country.
The ‘Neknomination’ game – which is proving a hit on social networking sites such as Facebook – encourages participants to film themselves downing an alcoholic drink in bizarre circumstances before nominating a pal to do the same.
The deaths of two young people in the Republic of Ireland have been linked to Neknomination.
And there have been claims that people from the Larne borough have been putting their lives at risk by taking part in this dangerous activity.
Local charity Preventing Addiction Larne (PAL) has urged local people not to get involved.
PAL press liaison Beverly White said:“This is sheer madness. You are taking your life into your hands if you play this game.”
The Neknomination phenomenon has only sprung up in Northern Ireland in the past week, after spreading from Australia.
And Beverly said one of the most dangerous aspects of the so called ‘game’ is that can involve people on different sides of the globe interacting with each other.
She added: “I think the whole thing started out as a bit of fun. For example, you would have someone drinking a glass of beer while wearing a costume.
“But it has quickly spiralled out of control and has been taken to extremes.
“I have seen videos of people – not just teenagers, but grown men and women as well – mixing massive amounts of alcohol and drinking it as quickly as they can. One particular video had someone downing two bottles of Buckfast.
“Some of the people in these videos are from the Larne area, and our message to them is that alcohol is there to be enjoyed in moderation.
“The kind of behaviour that Neknomination encourages is completely irresponsible. The human body can only take so much punishment.”
Meanwhile, Larne Mayor Councillor Maureen Morrow has also spoken out against the dangers of this latest social media craze.
She told the Times: “There are people from all over this borough getting involved.
“I have seen a video of people of someone downing large amounts of alcohol and then jumping into Carnlough harbour.
“Most of those involved seem to be young men, but there are women doing it as well. I want to urge these people to take a step back and think about what they are doing.
“If you nominate someone and something happens to them as a result of this game, you will have to live with that for the rest of your life.”