Interest in NyQuil chicken appears to have increased significantly after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about the “recent social media video challenge” which garnered widespread media coverage.
On September 15, the FDA issued a statement warning against social media videos encouraging people to cook chicken at NyQuil: “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing – and it is. But it could also be very dangerous.
“Boiling a drug can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the vapors of the drug while cooking can cause high levels of the drug to enter your body. body. It could also injure your lungs,” the notice reads.
According to data provided by TikTok to BuzzFeed News, NyQuil chicken searches increased significantly after the FDA announcement and subsequent media coverage, from five on September 14 to around 7,000 on September 21.
Chicken NyQuil seems to have been born on 4Chan in 2017 and earlier this year made the rounds of the news cycle.
It is unclear to what extent users sharing content about the phenomenon actually participated in a “trend”. Most related content on TikTok shows people reacting with outrage to the same video of someone cooking chicken at NyQuil, TechCrunch reports.
But the controversy highlights the difficulty for government agencies and the media to respond to increasingly extreme social media challenges. At least one person is believed to have died after taking part in the 2020 ‘Benadryl Challenge’, in which people ingest large amounts of antihistamines in an attempt to induce hallucinations. The families of an eight- and nine-year-old child who died attempting a ‘blackout’ challenge have sued TikTok.
The FDA said in a statement to the Guardian that it released the consumer update after “observing social media trends promoting dangerous misuse of drugs” through routine drug safety monitoring.
“The communication informs healthcare professionals and consumers (including parents) of this safety issue to facilitate its monitoring, management and, hopefully, risk reduction,” a spokesperson said. “To that end, the consumer update proactively communicates how to keep children safe and prevent potentially harmful trends, and the update includes instructions on how to store and use the drugs on sale. safe free.”
“The FDA has taken some steps to raise awareness, but has it gone too far to be helpful at this point?” Corey Hannah Basch, professor of public health at William Paterson University, told The New York Times. “Probably because it made a lot of people think about something they hadn’t thought of before.”
TikTok diverted searches for “NyQuil chicken” to a warning about online challenges, a spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
“Content that encourages dangerous behavior has no place on TikTok. It’s not trending on our platform, but we will remove content if found and strongly discourage anyone from engaging in behavior that could harm himself or others,” the company said in a statement.
Johana Bhuiyan contributed reporting