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Three-shot social media challenge ‘very dangerous’

Rodney Hussey taking part in the three-shot challenge on Facebook. VIDEO IMAGE
Rodney Hussey taking part in the three-shot challenge on Facebook. VIDEO IMAGE
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

The man behind the bar in a viral Facebook video amping up the three-shot challenge says the hard-drinking post is out of character.

“I am not trying to promote drinking. I always drink responsibly. I never let it get out of hand. I don’t drink that often, believe it or not,” Rodney Hussey said in a phone interview Thursday.

Hussey said there’s a three-shot drinking challenge going around Facebook and he was nominated. If you don’t complete the challenge in 24 hours, you have to pay $100 to the charity of your choice, he said.

“As you can see from the look of the bar, I ain’t doing no f---ing three shots,” Hussey says in the video, where he proceeds to down seven shots in succession and tell those he challenges to beat that.

While the hard liquor is of various kinds — black and Jamaican rum, tequila, scotch, vodka and two whiskeys — the total amount downed in the roughly two-minute video is equivalent to a 13-ounce flask.

As of Thursday afternoon, about 97,000 people had viewed the video and there were more than 500 comments.

“Good night,” said one poster.

“Nice job, buddy,” said another friend. “Nailed it.”

“Watched this last night, reminded me of Fort Mac,” said one commenter.

“I hope teenagers don’t see this nonsense and try this stupid challenge,” said another person.

Hussey told The Telegram he would never do such a thing in front of his daughter.

He said he isn’t sure where the three-shot challenge started, but it has been going around on Facebook for about two weeks, mostly in Newfoundland and Labrador, though he has seen some from other places.

Hussey posted the video Wednesday night.

“I am still sick. The aftermath is not pretty,” he said.

“It wasn’t bad at the beginning, but two hours after wasn’t very good.”

Hussey said he’s not a big social media person, and people have been texting saying, “‘It’s gone pretty viral,’ whatever that means.”

Hussey said while he upped the stakes when challenged and people are calling him a champ, in retrospect he probably should not have done it.

“Some people don’t know me. … It was a spur of the moment thing, a joke between friends. It really wasn’t meant to go viral," Hussey said.

“When I put it on Facebook, I didn’t foresee what would happen. I say it’s not one of my prouder moments.”

The negative comments, Hussey said, hurt him, as he meant to give people a laugh.

“I am not trying to promote drinking or be political, hurt anybody or influence anybody," he said.

On his time off from offshore turnaround work, he said, he might drink three times on a week home, always at night, and moderately, such as a couple of beers by the fire.

“I never took it to excess,” Hussey said.

“People who know me know that I am a family man first, not a stark-raving alcoholic that some might look at the video and think.”

‘Very concerning’

While many people participating in the challenge appear to take a light-hearted approach, at least one expert said this social media trend is not light-hearted at all, but quite serious.

Heidi Edgar is a program manager with the Canadian Mental Health Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“It’s a very dangerous activity to participate in,” she said.

“It began as a trend, I guess, of three drinks … but, certainly, humans, by nature, will try and up the ante and continue to challenge each other to do more and more.”

Edgar said it’s very concerning from a binge-drinking standpoint. Edgar said binge drinking is when men consume five or more drinks within two hours, or women consume four or more drinks within two hours.

“If people are having three or more drinks in very quick succession, that’s very concerning.”

Edgar said she suspects the trend’s popularity has a lot to do with people being more socially isolated now due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but she has concerns about the possible outcomes of the challenge.

“I look at people who up the ante, some very competitive people that we have out there who say, ‘Well, I can do 15.’ You know, what’s that going to look like? Alcohol poisoning. And if they’re in isolation, they’re there by themselves when this happens. They’re at extreme risk, so (I have) great concern about what can happen for folks.”

With files from Juanita Mercer

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