Beware of the BORG! Doctor talks about drinking trend on college campuses

BORG, also known as "blackout rage gallon," is becoming a popular drinking trend among Gen-Z on college campuses. This term refers to a concoction made in a gallon jug filled with liquor (such as vodka), water, and a flavored electrolyte enhancer. These drinks are typically consumed during day parties, also known as "darties."

The drink can be extremely dangerous, according to health experts. 

"Because it’s all in one jug or container, people tend to drink a lot more than they normally would," says Dr. Sarah Church, the founder and executive director of Wholeview Wellness. Dr. Church explains that the beverage can contain 17 to 19 alcoholic drinks in one batch, which is far more than most people would consume on an average night.

The health risks associated with such high levels of consumption can be life-threatening, ranging from extreme intoxication to alcohol poisoning. "There have been cases of people being hospitalized because of this; they’ve even had their stomach pumped," notes Dr. Church.

Dr. Church believes that the aspect of personalization makes the drink attractive to college students. They can show their personalities by customizing the flavors or decorating the jug with Sharpies.

"They create their own recipe and can personalize it and name it. People name their BORGs with punny names like Ruth Bader Ginsborg, Cyborg, or Justin Beiborg," she explains.

Another reason for the drink’s popularity is the misconception that the electrolytes and water in the drink reduce the likelihood of experiencing a hangover. However, due to the high alcohol content, hangovers are inevitable. Dr. Church adds that the sweetness of the drink makes it even more intoxicating.

"One of the problems is that because people put a lot of sweetener or flavors in there, they can’t taste the alcohol, so they’re likely to drink more, especially because it’s so sweet."

Dr. Church first heard about the trend from her 19-year-old daughter, who saw it on TikTok. If people want to participate in the trend, she advises measuring the alcohol.

"If people really want to participate in the phenomenon of BORG, if they measure standard drinks and only put 3 or 4 drinks in there, they’re less likely to experience the negative consequences mentioned before, and it would be a safer way of participating."

She emphasizes that the safest method of drinking is to incorporate non-alcoholic beverages into the routine. "If people don’t want to do a BORG, they can drink one alcoholic drink and then a non-alcoholic mocktail or beverage in between." This allows drinkers to decide if they need to keep drinking or if it’s time to stop.

Regardless of whether or not they’re drinking BORG, Dr. Church urges college students to set a limit. "We know from research that the CDC says women shouldn’t have more than 7 drinks in a week and men 14 drinks in a week. I know that on many college campuses, kids are drinking a lot more than that."

It is crucial for people to be aware of the detrimental effects of exceeding these limits, and the BORG drink phenomenon often more than doubles it.

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