Forget keg stands, quarters, and beer pong. There’s a new drinking trend making its rounds on TikTok and it’s resulting in a concerning number of alcohol poisoning-related hospital visits for college students.
The trend in question is called BORG (yes, like the Star Trek aliens) and it’s an acronym for “blackout rage gallon.” The typical BORG is a gallon container that’s filled with water, alcohol, sweet juice, and some type of hangover remedy like Liquid I.V. or Pedialyte. Most BORG recipes call for one-fifth alcohol (about 16 drinks), but there are some recipes out there that call for as much as a half gallon of vodka (around 43 servings).
The drinking trend started on TikTok and has since gone viral. For college students, it represents an easy and cheap way to get drunk, supposedly with less risk of a hangover because of the electrolytes.
One TikToker who also touts hydration and trace mineral substances through her account describes BORG as follows: “BORG stands for Blackout Rage Gallon and it’s essentially a hack to have a crazy night and not feel terrible the next day.” She then proceeds to provide detailed instructions on how to make BORGs in a post that has 143.5K likes, 9,048 shares, and 1488 comments. Other BORG enthusiasts share posts that have likes climbing to numbers in the millions, and the hashtag alone has garnered more than 74.7 million views.
While this trend might seem like it’s all in good fun, note that harmful alcohol consumption is one of the leading causes of bad health and premature death worldwide. And social media posts about stuff like “BORG” don’t just promote a little bit of fun underage drinking, rather, they actively encourage something really dangerous.
Let’s face it—binge drinking is no joke, and just because it’s actively encouraged on some social media channels doesn’t mean you should do it. One university in the US handled requests for 28 ambulance reports called in response to student intoxication. It actually prompted mutual aid and task force activation for additional resources. Once again, the whole binge drinking thing is no joke.
The CDC defines binge drinking as consuming 5 or more drinks (men) on a single occasion and 4 or more drinks (women) on a single occasion. Since BORGs (aka, gallon jugs that contain anywhere from 16 up to 43 servings of hard liquor) are often chugged, they take binge drinking to a whole new level.
So, what do BORGs have to do with alcoholism? While they’re not directly related, the whole idea behind them seems to encourage drinking alcoholically. So, while they’re potentially deadly at worst, they’re also dangerously alluring to anyone with a propensity toward addiction or alcoholism.
Regardless of your point of view in relation to this particular drinking trend (or any drinking trend, really), the simple fact is that blackout drinking is dangerous and, well, pretty dumb. Blackouts are most commonly caused by a rapid increase in blood alcohol concentration levels, resulting in temporary memory loss. Repeated blacking out can alter the brain’s functioning over time and, ultimately, have irreversible consequences. None of this is positive.
If you or someone you love (i.e., a child or significant other) finds this trend appealing, it might be time to speak with someone about why. Romanticizing the idea of getting blackout drunk is not something that casual drinkers typically do. If you have a desire to blackout when you drink, then please consider the idea that you might be using alcohol as a means of escape. Does it mean you’re an alcoholic? Only you can ultimately answer this, but if you’re beginning to question your drinking habits or you’re finding yourself drawn to social media trends that involve abusing substances, there are resources out there and people you can talk to.
Kembali Recovery Center can help
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, addiction, or you’re simply questioning your behavior in these areas, please reach out to us. A qualified counselor will be happy to answer your questions and talk to you about our recovery program. Please remember that you never have to do this alone.