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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

College binge drinking turns into a dangerous trend

“BORGs,” also known as Black Out Rage Gallons, have emerged as a new troubling drinking trend that made its way to the college scene just in time for Spring Break and St. Patrick’s Day. Thanks to social media platforms like TikTok, tutorials on making a BORG have exploded, with colleges all over the country reporting their use on or around their campuses [1,2].

According to the National Capital Poison Center, also known as Poison Control, a few steps are involved in making a BORG. Users mix up to a fifth of vodka, water flavor enhancers and electrolyte powder such as Liquid IV with half a gallon of water [1].

Naming or labeling the BORG with a clever pun is the final step. The name must include the word BORG tied into a creative title. According to Poison Control and the New York Times, some popular BORG names that went viral include “Borgan Donor” and “Justin BieBorg” [1,2]. 

The concerning factor of BORGs is the amount of alcohol college students put in the jug. Poison Control has broken down the alcohol contents in the typical BORG, with a fifth of alcohol, as containing 750 milliliters or 25.4 fluid ounces of liquor. Compared to a standard drink containing 1.5 fluid ounces of alcohol, a BORG with a fifth of alcohol has roughly 17 shots of liquor [1].

Grace Mueller, a first-year undergraduate student at UMass Boston, expressed her opinion on the upward trend of BORGs. “I think they could be done safely and well if people just measured the alcohol they put in there instead of pouring half a bottle in it. I approve of them; some people just go overboard” [4].

Due to the water flavoring, college students can drink extremely high alcohol content with ease. Poison Control states, “consumption of the high amounts of alcohol often found in Borgs can cause harmful health effects, similar to those resulting from heavy alcohol use or binge drinking” [1,2].

The biggest incident of the excessive use of BORGs in Massachusetts so far was seen at UMass Amherst’s annual “Blarney Blowout,” an off-campus event that takes place at the beginning of March [2].

UMass Amherst sent out a media release to the public explaining the events and nature of the Blarney Borg disaster: “The Amherst Fire Department (AFD) said they handled requests for 28 ambulance transports, prompting mutual aid and a task force activation for additional resources. AFD said none of the cases were life threatening. Students gathered in a number of locations in town and joint planning minimized large-scale disturbances. Amherst Police and UMass Police reported two arrests for underage possession of alcohol and responded to numerous calls for service” [3].

Opinions on whether Borgs are safe or not have been floating throughout the country. While some people on social media claim that BORGs keep you hydrated due to the amount of water they contain, Poison Control has noted that the considerable alcohol concentration in BORGs can still lead to alcohol poisoning[1].

Frequent use of BORG consumption may also increase the risk of cancer. If you or someone around you experiences unusual symptoms due to a BORG, Poison Control encourages you to seek immediate medical assistance. Poison Control offers free and confidential guidance on its website, www.poison.org, and at its 24-hour hotline, 1-800-222-1222 [1].

Sources:

1.     https://www.poison.org/articles/what-is-a-borg

2.     https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/09/style/borg-drinking-tiktok.html

3.     https://www.umass.edu/news/article/media-update-umass-town-amherst-5-pm

About the Contributor
Samantha Beady, News Editor