Editor’s Note: This article is a combination of human-crafted journalism and AI-generated content.
The latest data about campus tippling should be sobering. And that data was before the emergence of the social media propelled campus binge-craze — the BORG, or BlackOut Rage Gallon. Essentially brain damage in a jug, a BORG is a gallon container filled about half with water and half with vodka (or tequilla or gin) and topped off either with flavored electrolyte powder or concentrated energy liquid containing electrolytes, B-vitamins, and often caffeine. Students typically write a cutesie name containing the word “BORG” on the jug in marker.
BORGs have become popular on TikTok, where slurred videos of sloppy students making and drinking them have gone viral. The trend has also spread to other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Countless numbers of these containers were on scene at the annual Blarney Blowout at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a bacchanalian train-wreck historically held before St. Patrick’s Day just before spring break. Almost thirty students were hospitalized for probably alcohol poisoning, attesting to the highly effective alcohol delivery mechanism a BORG provides.
And, proving that reckless disregard for one’s health, safety, studies, or legal situation is not confined to public institutions of higher learning, Hoxsey Street was the site of carefree public BORG-ing on a warm day last week. The trend seems only to have arisen this year, so the numbers aren’t in yet about how many BORG swillers are in the hospital, morgue, or ground due to consuming a half gallon or more of 80 proof, electrolyte-fortified jet fuel.
Getting drunk on the quick and cheap is nothing new. This writer recalls parties some decades ago at which someone mixed up “Jungle Juice,” which was traditionally grain alcohol and Hawaiian Punch (or Kool-aid, if they were really cheap). The distinction is that Jungle Juice makes you stupid and stumbling nearly immediately, usually leading to passing out on a front lawn somewhere. With a BORG, the high alcohol content of the liquor is masked by the sweetness of the energy drinks, which makes it easy to drink large quantities quickly. The electrolytes, B-Vitamins, and caffeine give the drinker a false sense of “I’m okay-ness” until their blood-alcohol content is past any safe limit. This combination can lead to rapid intoxication, blackouts, and aggressive behavior.
College Drinking by the Numbers — NIH, 2020
Recent statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) estimate that college students ages 18 to 24:
Get behind the wheel
• about 3,360,000 students drive under the influence of alcohol;
Wind up in the hospital
• about 22,219 students are hospitalized for an alcohol overdose;
• about 696,000 students ages 18 to 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking;
Are raped or sexually assaulted
• about 97,000 students report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape;
End up dead
• about 1,519 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
The Dangers of BORG
BORGs are dangerous for a number of reasons. First, they are a form of binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men in a two-hour period. Binge drinking can lead to a number of health problems, including alcohol poisoning, liver damage, and brain damage.
The risks specific to BORG drinking are many and varied. For one, the large size of the container means that students are consuming much more alcohol than they would if they were drinking from a regular-sized cup or bottle. This can lead to rapid intoxication and increased risk of alcohol poisoning.
Another danger of BORG is that the mixture of hard liquor and energy drinks can mask the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Energy drinks contain caffeine, which can make students feel more alert and less drunk than they actually are. This can lead them to continue drinking even when they are dangerously intoxicated.
BORGs are often consumed quickly. This can lead to alcohol poisoning, which is a medical emergency. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, confusion, seizures, and loss of consciousness. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Furthermore, the aggressive behavior that often accompanies BORG consumption is a serious concern. When students are intoxicated, they may become more confrontational and violent. This can lead to fights, accidents, and even legal trouble.
The Risks to Health and Safety
The risks to health and safety associated with BORG consumption are significant. Alcohol poisoning is a real danger, and it can lead to serious health consequences, including coma and death. In addition, the aggressive behavior that often accompanies BORG consumption can lead to serious injuries or legal consequences.
Another risk to consider is the long-term health consequences of binge drinking. Binge drinking, which is defined as consuming four or more drinks in a single sitting for women and five or more drinks for men, can lead to liver damage, heart disease, and other health problems. BORG consumption often involves binge drinking, which means that students who engage in this trend are putting their long-term health at risk.
The Importance of Prevention
Preventing BORG consumption is crucial for the health and safety of college students. One way to do this is through education. Students need to understand the dangers of BORG consumption and the risks associated with binge drinking. They also need to know how to recognize the symptoms of alcohol poisoning and how to seek help if they or a friend are in danger.
Another way to prevent BORG consumption is through enforcement. Colleges and universities can take a strong stance against BORG consumption by enforcing strict alcohol policies and cracking down on students who engage in this trend. This may include penalties such as fines, community service, or even expulsion from school. Nothing can happen, however, unless the school acknowledges that this potentially fatal trend has landed on its campus. While the administration may be able to get away with semi-serious finger wagging about the occasional kegger that gets a little wild, BORG drinking represents the perfect opportunity for a student affairs officer to practice making phone calls to parents to let them know their son or daughter is dead from a binging craze ignored by the college one weekend too long.