Move over jungle juice…there’s a new drink making the party rounds and it’s all the “rage” among college kids.
Famous for being TikTok’s favorite new party drink, the “black-out rage gallon” or BORG for short, seems to be living up to its name and the results are downright dangerous.
Over the weekend, 28 students from the University of Massachusetts were sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning. Officials say that BORG is to blame.
There were so many calls for ambulances, in fact, that neighboring agencies had to step in and help.
According to school officials, students celebrating “Blarney Blowout” ahead of St.Patrick’s Day were seen carrying large water jugs across campus – but the jugs were holding a heck of a lot more than water.
Most BORGs are a combo of water, vodka, and a few mixers, including Crystal Light, MiO drops, and Kool-Aid. Additionally, some borg recipes call for caffeinated flavor enhancers or Liquid I.V. electrolyte powder.
Instead of toting their alcoholic beverages around in pop bottles like in the good ol’ days, students have upgraded to using gallon jugs instead.
While most recipes call for a fifth of a gallon (or 17 shots worth) of vodka, others are a lot more heavy-handed, calling for a half gallon, or the equivalent of a whopping 43 servings of alcohol.
UMass officials said this is the first time the university has observed widespread use of BORGs at off-campus parties but it likely won’t be the last.
The BORG isn’t just about the drinking though.
The craze first started gaining traction on TikTok during the pandemic. It cut down on germy communal vats at parties and gave college kids control over what they were drinking.
They could add as little or as much booze as they wanted. And the fact that they also had lids to reduce the chances of being tampered with was an added bonus. Not to mention it all came in a handy “to-go gallon” option.
Since then the phenomenon has sparked an entire subculture of BORG tutorials, naming challenges, and comedy skits. Currently, the hashtag #borg has garnered a staggering 82.2M views.
Some TikTokers claim the beverage keeps them hydrated as they binge drink.
However, while the electrolytes and water can help with hydration, drinking a gallon of mixed alcohol is a BAD IDEA.
Plus, there’s no evidence to actually support the notion that mixing 17 shots with half a gallon of water will prevent a hangover, according to Johnson-Arbor of the National Capital Poison Center.
Experts warn that the large quantity of alcohol is what makes it so dangerous. And it could be lethal.
“Consuming this much alcohol would be fatal for the vast majority of people, even if spread out over a full day,” Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the NIH, told CBS News.
“It is unknown how many students actually follow borg recipes that call for a half gallon of vodka, but doing so could turn deadly depending on how much they end up consuming. Alcohol becomes a toxin as you increase the amount you’re taking in, especially in a short period of time.”
Something that 28 University of Massachusetts students know a little bit about. Thankfully, however, none of their cases were life-threatening, per the Amherst Fire Department.
With spring break just around the corner, Koob recommends that colleges and parents double down on talking to students about the dangers of binge drinking. UMass is already ahead of the game. After last weekend’s shenanigans, they are currently working on taking steps to improve alcohol education for their students.
For most college kids, going to parties and drinking is all part of the college experience. But it’s important to drink responsibly. As with pretty much anything in life, moderation is key.