What is BORG Drinking? A Look at the Dangerous Social Media Trend

Drinking alcohol, particularly binge drinking, is often viewed as a rite of passage for many college students. When leaving the freedom of their parents’ homes and enjoying the freedom of adult life for the first time, many students find themselves attending parties, drinking alcohol, and even experimenting with illegal drugs. In the process, trends come and go, but one of the latest trends recently went viral on social media: BORGs or BORG drinking.

What is a BORG?

The acronym BORG stands for “blackout rage gallon,” a term created by college students to describe a potent alcohol concoction. A BORG is created by filling an empty one-gallon plastic jug with a mixture of water, alcohol, flavorings such as powdered lemonade or Mio water enhancer, and some type of hangover remedy, such as Liquid I.V.
BORGs are easy to drink and can contain exceptionally high alcohol content. The flavor enhancers and hangover remedies used in BORGs produce robust flavors that can easily mask the taste of alcohol. This allows people to put large amounts of alcohol in their BORGs and drink it quickly without realizing just how much alcohol they’re actually consuming.

The BORG drinking trend went viral on social media after people began getting creative with their BORGs, decking them out in extravagant decorations and even giving them clever names like “SpongeBorg Square Pants” or “Captain Borgan.” However, BORG drinking isn’t all fun and games.

The Dangers of BORG Drinking

BORG drinking is a trend that poses serious risks to the well-being of individuals, particularly among college students. Binge drinking of any kind can be dangerous, however, the BORG drinking trend has sparked concern among some college officials.

According to the New York Times, earlier this year the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Town of Amherst, MA issued a joint statement addressing a “significant number of alcohol intoxication cases” after an event where many students were observed drinking from plastic gallon containers.[1]

The dangers of BORG drinking extend well beyond the risk of a typical alcohol-induced hangover. Here are some of the key concerns associated with this trend:

  • Alcohol Poisoning – BORGs are a recipe for alcohol poisoning. The rapid and excessive consumption of alcohol within these concoctions can lead to a dangerous level of intoxication, potentially requiring emergency medical attention.
  • Memory Loss – The term “blackout” in “blackout rage gallon” should not be taken lightly. Binge-drinking episodes often lead to complete memory loss of the events that transpired during the episode (an alcohol blackout), resulting in embarrassment, confusion, and regret.
  • Physical and Mental Health Implications – Long-term participation in BORG drinking can lead to a myriad of health problems, including alcohol dependence, liver damage, heart complications, and an elevated risk of accidents and injuries. Furthermore, it can exacerbate or trigger underlying mental health issues.
  • Social Consequences – Beyond the physical and mental health risks, engaging in BORG drinking can strain personal relationships, hinder academic performance, and result in legal repercussions. Driving under the influence (DUI) and engaging in risky behaviors while intoxicated are common outcomes of such dangerous drinking practices.
  • Impaired Decision-Making – Excessive alcohol consumption impairs judgment and decision-making. Participants in BORG drinking challenges may find themselves engaging in risky and dangerous activities that they wouldn’t otherwise consider in a sober state of mind.

Are There Any Benefits to BORGs?

There are plenty of risks associated with BORG drinking, but many people are quick to point out the benefits. In addition to tasting great, drinking from a personally prepared BORG can reduce the risk of being drugged with a substance like a “roofie” (a common slang term for the date rape drug, Rohypnol). BORGs are prepared by the individual at home, can be carried around the entire event, and have a cap that can easily be twisted back on while not drinking.

Some students say drinking from a BORG actually helps them be aware of exactly what and how much liquor is in their jug–something that can’t be said about a similar trend from the past known as Jungle Juice, a punch drink that would contain various types of alcohol and drink enhancers, often shared by numerous people.
BORG drinking may also reduce the risk of germ transmission and lower the potential for dehydration due to the water and electrolytes inside.[2] However, it’s important to note that BORGs will not prevent a hangover. The only way to prevent a hangover is to drink responsibly or not drink at all.

Tips for Safer Alcohol Consumption

Whether you’re drinking from a BORG or not, these tips can help you drink responsibly.

  • Know Your Limits – Understand your tolerance for alcohol and consume it in moderation. Avoid peer pressure and set personal limits on how much you’re going to drink in a single setting.
  • Stay Hydrated and Eat – Consume water and eat food while drinking. This can help reduce the risk of alcohol-related issues.
  • Designated Driver – If you’re going out, have a designated driver or alternative transportation arranged to ensure you get home safely.
  • Alcohol Education – Be aware of the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption and seek help or support if you have concerns about your drinking habits.
  • Host Responsibly – If you’re hosting an event, make sure to offer non-alcoholic beverages and encourage your guests to drink responsibly.
  • Seek Help – If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse or addiction, don’t hesitate to seek help from medical professionals or support groups.

1. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/09/style/borg-drinking-tiktok.html
2. https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2023/04/borg

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