Thumbnail photo of 6 Dangerous TikTok Drinking Challenges

TikTok Drinking Challenges

It’s hard to go a day without seeing media coverage of a new trend circulating on TikTok. TikTok is known for its user-created videos that cover a wide range of content from DIYs and humorous sketches to recipes and drinking challenges. With many of these challenges aimed at legal-drinking aged users, there is a disconnect with the intended audience and the (often-underaged) audience watching.

Adolescents between the ages of 10 to 18 make up the largest percentage (25%) of users on the platform. This coincides with a 2022 survey from Pew Research Center, where 67% of US teens say they had used TikTok at least once with 16% admitting to using it “almost constantly.” This popularity among adolescent and teen users should be a cause for concern for parents, caregivers, and teachers alike, who know how this vulnerable population is easily influenced by online content and peers.

The presence of alcohol in social media has been well documented. A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs took the top 100 videos on TikTok including the hashtag #alcohol and looked for trends in categories such as user attitudes towards alcohol and level of alcohol use. They found most videos had a pro-alcohol sentiment (98%) and often depicted the consumption of large amounts of alcohol (61%). Based on these findings, caregivers need to be aware of the drinking challenges that have become popular on TikTok.

Below are some popular drinking challenges and the health risks they can pose.

1. BORG (Blackout Rage Gallon)

In the spring of 2023, the BORG (Blackout Rage Gallon) trend started circulating on TikTok. The challenge is characterized by filling a 1-gallon container with a concoction of alcohol, water, and an electrolyte drink (often Pedialyte). The prevailing thought is that, by intentionally hydrating while drinking, the water and electrolytes will slow down the alcohol absorption process and cause less of a hangover.

Does it work? Not exactly. Forty-six University of Massachusetts students were hospitalized for conditions related to alcohol intoxication after partaking in the challenge at an off-campus event. As these students found out, the true danger lies in the recipe.

When broken down, the amount of alcohol by volume (ABV) in a BORG can be astonishing. Some recipes call for a ½ gallon of vodka, which equates to about 43 servings of alcohol if the whole gallon is ingested. Consuming such a large amount of alcohol places it in the category of binge drinking, so it shares many of the same dangerous side effects.

Dangerous Side Effects of BORG:
  • Poor decision making
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning

Need Addiction Support?

It’s time to reclaim your life from addiction. Call now to connect with a treatment provider and start your recovery journey.

- OR -

Enter your phone number to receive a call:

2. PK (Player-Knockout) Challenges

PK drinking challenges, where creators participate in dares and games against other influencers or viewers, have recently gained popularity with dire consequences. These challenges are often live-streamed and seen as a way to gain followers and interact with other content creators. Unfortunately, the loser’s penalty often includes binge drinking. This has resulted in the deaths of a few participating influencers.

Influencer Zhong Yuan Huang Ge, 27, was taking part in a drinking challenge on Douyin, China’s version of Tik-Tok. During the livestream, Zhong was viewed drinking numerous bottles of baijiu, a popular Chinese liquor known for its high alcohol content (50-60% ABV), by his audience of 176,000 followers. He was found dead in his home the next day from alcohol poisoning.

Like many other TikTok drinking challenges, PK challenges often push the participant to binge drink and suffer many of the same consequences.

Dangerous Side Effects of PK Drinking Challenges:
  • Memory loss
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Death

3. Neknominate (aka NekNominate, Neck Nomination)

Neknominate started as an online drinking challenge where participants film themselves drinking a pint of alcohol (often beer) in one gulp and upload the footage. Next, they nominate another person to do the same (or worse) in the next 24 hours. The game quickly evolved to include drinking strong and more potent beverages or engaging in dangerous activities during or immediately after completion of the drink.

Due to this risk-taking behavior, people who engage in Neknominations are at a greater risk for alcohol-related injuries as well as the many physical side-effects already connected to heavy drinking. Sadly, Neknomination is credited with the deaths of at least five people aged 19 to 29.

Dangerous Side Effects of Neknominate Challenges:
  • Stroke
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Death

4. Eyeballing (aka Vodka Eyeballing)

Eyeballing is a different type of drinking challenge found on TikTok, as it deviates from normal alcohol consumption.

Eyeballing is the practice of pouring a shot of alcohol (often vodka) into the eye socket, where it is then absorbed through the mucous membranes into the bloodstream. The thought is that the alcohol will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, shortening the amount of time it takes to become intoxicated. Many medical professionals quickly denounced the claims of rapid intoxication, as the amount of alcohol absorbed by this method is low.

Dangerous Effects of Eyeballing include:
  • Corneal abrasions and scarring
  • Ocular infections
  • Vision damage
  • Complete loss of vision

5. Rainbow Drink Challenge

While seemingly not as focused on the end-goal of intoxication, the Rainbow Drink challenge still has its risks. This challenge urges the drinker to consume a drink for every color of the rainbow (7 drinks in total) in one bar crawl or day drinking session.

The drinking requirement puts this challenge squarely into the category of binge drinking, which is defined as the consumption of 5 or more drinks by a man or 4 or more drinks by a woman during one occasion.

Dangerous Side Effects of the Rainbow Drink Challenge:
  • Dehydration
  • Liver damage
  • Memory loss
  • Alcohol poisoning

6. First Drink, Last Drink Challenge

The #FirstDrinkLastDrink hashtag has over 50 million views on TikTok. The First Drink, Last Drink challenge is a video trend where the user films their friends or family drinking their first alcoholic drink of the night and their last drink of the night. Often, people are seen disheveled and intoxicated by the end of the video.

While there are no specific drinking guidelines or limits to this challenge, it often results in alcohol intoxication, which can have numerous negative side effects.

Dangerous Side Effects of the First Drink, Last Drink Challenge:
  • Dehydration
  • Coordination problems
  • Poor decision making
  • Blacking out

Does TikTok Do Enough To Protect Its Underaged Users?

In their Safety and Civility guidelines, TikTok states that they disable hashtags they deem dangerous and do not allow the promotion of any criminal activity that may cause harm to people; however, the act of underage drinking is not directly addressed and could easily fall into that category.

TikTok claims to put the safety of its users as its top priority and does have age-limit restrictions (13 years to have an account; 16 years to utilize direct messages) for those it refers to as their “youth” users (13 to 17 years of age). However, age limits can be easily bypassed, and there is no guaranteed way to stop these young users from accessing dangerous content.

What Can Caregivers Do?

On TikTok’s Guardian’s Guide page, they encourage caregivers to openly discuss the rules and privacy features that should be followed on the platform and any personal expectations and guidelines coming from home.

Other suggestions to make sure your child or teen is safe on their platform, include:

  • Knowing TikTok’s policies regarding privacy and safety guidelines.
  • Using the Family Pairing feature that lets caregivers place content controls on the child’s/teen’s account.
  • Being aware of the Teen Appeal process for age verification.

Overall, direct and clear communication is the best course of action when talking to adolescents about the dangerous drinking trends found on TikTok.

Support Is Available

If you suffer from binge drinking or frequent alcohol intoxication, it is important to know that there are resources and support available to you. There are also treatment centers specifically designed to help teens overcome addiction. To learn more about the treatment options that are available to you and your family, contact a treatment provider today.

Will My Insurance Cover Rehab?

Check My Coverage

Alcohol Rehab Guide is not affiliated with any insurance.

Get help for alcoholism today.

If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today. Treatment providers can connect you with programs that provide the tools to help you get and stay sober.