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The BORG Drink Is a Dangerous Drinking Trend On The Rise

If you’ve spoken the words BORG drink recently, you’re likely a college student. And if you’ve heard the words and are wondering what it is, you’re likely the parent or loved one of a college student. The BORG drink (BORG is an acronym for BlackOut Rage Gallon) is an alarming new drinking trend that’s been rapidly spreading across university campuses. These single-use party jugs packed with water, liquor, electrolyte mix and flavoring represent one of the riskiest fads in binge drinking to emerge in years.

borg drink

Despite some students touting the alleged “benefits” of the BORG drink when it comes to hangovers and safety, medical experts overwhelmingly condemn the behavior as extremely hazardous and even potentially life-threatening. Here’s everything you need to know about the realities behind the BORG phenomenon.

What Exactly is a BORG Drink?

The term BORG stands for “blackout rage gallon,” though the origin of the peculiar name remains unclear. A typical BORG consists of a plastic gallon jug or water cooler bottle filled halfway with water or other non-alcoholic liquid. To that liquid base gets added several cups of a vodka or other hard liquor (usually an entire “fifth”), along with powdered drink mixes like Kool-Aid, MiO, or Crystal Light to add flavor. Some BORG connoisseurs also put in electrolyte blends like Liquid I.V or Pedialyte in an attempt to counteract dehydrating effects of the alcohol.

After the jug gets sealed up, shaken vigorously, and labeled with colorful markers or stickers (often containing puns on the word “borg”), the pre-made cocktail is ready for consumption by a single individual over the course of an evening or party. What goes into BORGs can vary, but virtually all contain a startlingly high volume of alcohol cloaked by all the other additives.

The Allure and Claimed Benefits of the BORG Drink

The BORG drink trend traces its origins back to around 2018 on college campuses before exploding in popularity over the past couple years via rampant promotion on TikTok. Many Gen Z consumers claim BORG drinks offer a fun, communal drinking experience while minimizing several common risks surrounding alcohol consumption.

Since the BORG drink remains largely closed systems portable for a single drinker, advocates argue they reduce chances of drinks getting spiked with illicit substances like date rape drugs compared to open punch bowls or coolers. Their individual nature also avoids germ exposure from shared vessels. Easy visibility into how much liquid remains provides a way to better pace overall intake too.

Proponents further tout the BORG drink as potential remedies for brutal hangovers and dehydration. The combination of water, electrolyte replenishment, and alcohol dilution is theorized to allow drinkers to consume more over longer periods while feeling physical effects less severely. But do these perceived benefits really hold up?

The Realities Behind the “Benefits”

Leading medical authorities emphatically dismiss any supposed upsides to BORG drink consumption as complete myths not supported by scientific evidence. The Cleveland Clinic stresses that no combination of mixers impacts how quickly the liver processes alcohol from your system – the rate remains fixed no matter how “hydrated” you attempt to stay. Caffeine and electrolyte powders may temporarilymask intoxication feelings, but they don’t accelerate metabolizing alcohol either.

More critically, BORGs pose extreme binge drinking hazards by design. With a typical recipe using an entire fifth of 80-proof liquor providing roughly 17 shots of alcohol, BORGs far exceed binge drinking thresholds for both men and women even before accounting for the extra dilution. Attempting to overconsume that quantity over a short period carries enormous risk of alcohol poisoning requiring hospitalization.

Content creator Victoria Vynn experienced this firsthand, requiring IV fluids and a hospital stay after polishing off a “GiVynn Tonic” BORG drink in February 2023. Ambulance calls related to BORG drink consumption have skyrocketed on campuses too — over 45 students landed in Massachusetts emergency rooms during March 2023 alone for BORG-induced alcohol overdoses and related injuries.

College binge drinking overall remains at crisis levels, representing a leading cause of death among that age demographic from alcohol poisoning, drunk driving accidents, and other consequences like sexual assault correlating with excessive intake. BORGs represent an egregious new twist fueling these normalized but immensely perilous behaviors, with their convenience and deceptive low-calorie formulations helping obscure just how potent they really are.

An Ill-Advised Craze Normalizing Dangerous Drinking

Despite being touted by some overzealous devotees as a progressive “harm reduction” practice compared to more chaotic tailgates or parties, BORGs reflect quite the opposite from a public health standpoint. Their shareable, customizable nature makes them enablers for competitive drinking games and overconsumption. Those looking for clout by showcasing outrageous punny names and recipes gain viral fame by promoting substance abuse lacking restraint.

Even respected health publications like Bon Appetit attempted framing BORGs as a natural evolution of young adult drinking routines before widespread backlash forced full-throated rebuttals of that stance. Emergency physicians such as Dr. David Jernigan of Boston University warn BORGs represent a step backwards by enticing and systematizing hazardous levels of consumption popular during zany college party phases most adults hopefully outgrow.

While BORGs may reduce specific risks in isolation like drink spiking or open container charges, the overwhelming consequence remains a potentially lethal cocktail masquerading as a fun new fad. But consuming such extreme volumes of liquor over a matter of hours cannot be spun as a positive behavior — no matter what hydrating ingredients get mixed in too.

Addressing the BORG Drink Crisis

Dangerous drinking trends like this one necessitate scaling up harm reduction resources, educational campaigns, and addiction treatment accessibility before tragic ripple effects emerge across entire campus communities.

Schools like UMass have issued forceful condemnations of BORG drink usage and pledged cracking down on enablers. But lasting change must come through coordinated initiatives involving administrators, coaches, counseling services, Greek life organizations and student leadership working towards healthier cultural shifts. Simply banning the consumption outright only forces these impulses back into darker corners harder to monitor and support.

College should remain times for exploring adulthood freedoms in lower stake environments compared to entering the full-fledged workforce. But turning a blind eye towards normalized binge drinking and alcoholism pipelines does generational disservices. Here’s hoping raised BORG drink awareness can spark broader student health conversations steering positive changes before more preventable emergencies and long-term impacts accrue. After all, young minds deserve protection from predatory trends masquerading as clever crowdsourced life hacks. The costs are far too steep and insidious to ignore any longer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Borg drink?

The Borg drink, short for “Blackout Rage Gallon,” is a homemade party drink that typically combines alcohol, electrolytes, and water. It’s designed to help partygoers stay hydrated while consuming alcohol, often seen at college parties and social gatherings.

How do you make a Borg drink?

To make a Borg drink, mix together one part of your preferred alcohol (usually vodka or rum) with three parts of an electrolyte-replenishing sports drink, then add water to taste. Some variations may include adding flavor enhancers or fruit slices for taste.

Why is it called Borg?

The name “Borg” comes from the phrase “Blackout Rage Gallon.” It’s a playful, if not cautionary, title that hints at the drink’s potency and its initial intention to be consumed in large quantities, specifically a gallon.

Is the Borg drink safe?

While the Borg drink includes water and electrolytes to aid hydration, its safety largely depends on the amount of alcohol used and the individual’s drinking limits. It’s important to consume it responsibly and be aware of its potential to facilitate overconsumption of alcohol.

Can you customize a Borg drink?

Yes, the Borg drink is highly customizable. Adjust the alcohol type and amount, choose different flavors of sports drinks, and add fruits or flavor enhancers to tailor it to personal tastes and preferences.

Where did the Borg drink originate?

The Borg drink gained popularity on social media and among college students, especially through platforms like TikTok. Its exact origin is difficult to pinpoint but is a product of party culture seeking innovative ways to enjoy alcohol responsibly.

Are there non-alcoholic versions of the Borg drink?

Yes, a non-alcoholic version can be made by simply omitting the alcohol and focusing on a mix of electrolyte sports drinks and water, making it suitable for those who want to enjoy the social aspect of party drinks without alcohol.