Borg Drinking: What is the Dangerous New Social Media Trend?

BORG drinking, which stands for blackout rage gallon, is a new social media trend that has emerged on college campuses. The new drink craze, which has spread primarily through Tik Tok, has parents and university staff concerned about the safety of young people who are trying it.

The BORG trend has swept across social media with reports that it reduces hangovers and keeps you more hydrated than other forms of alcohol consumption. However, health professionals have responded with concerns that it’s just another form of binge drinking that carries the same risk of alcohol poisoning and heart problems.

What is BORG Drinking?

A BORG drink is made by emptying half the contents out of a gallon bottle of water, and some suggest emptying it into another bottle filled with electrolytes placed near your bed for later. Up to a fifth of vodka is then poured into the half-filled gallon bottle and topped off with a caffeinated flavor booster and electrolytes. The idea is that if this is consumed over a six-hour period, it will keep you hydrated, limit alcohol intake to what has been previously added, and perhaps most alluring for college students, reduce the probability of a hangover.

While some people have pointed to the benefits of borg drinking by highlighting the control over mixing drinks yourself and controlling the contents, college staff and emergency workers have indicated that this is likely not the only alcohol that many young people drink over the course of the night.  In many cases, it also entails a dangerous consumption of alcohol in and of itself.

BORGs made the news this month when the University of Massachusetts Amherst announced on March 4th that, “a significant number of alcohol intoxication cases” had resulted in the Amherst Fire Department (AFD) dealing with 28 requests for ambulance assistance. On 4th March alone – during the Blarney Blowout, an annual off-campus precursor to St Patrick’s Day – 46 students were hospitalized. Fortunately, none of these cases were deemed life-threatening, and all students were medically cleared and discharged.

Potential Benefits of BORG Drinking

There are potential, comparative benefits to BORG drinking, although most of them are based on the assumption that if young people were not drinking a BORG, they would be consuming alcohol in a more hazardous way. There are no benefits when the alternative is sticking to non-alcoholic drinks or the CDC’s daily recommended limit of 2 drinks or fewer in a day for men or 1 drink or fewer in a day for women.[1] According to the CDC, one drink is 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine (a small glass), or 1.5 ounces of liquor (one shot).

Although BORG drinking generally means consuming more than the recommended safe amount, it does encourage young people to limit their consumption to their own personal tolerance instead of trying to keep up with the consumption of others.

Students who wish to join in college campus events and parties that involve drinking can pre-make their BORG to include one or two shots, or even none at all, without facing as much pressure to drink alcohol that is mixed or provided by others. This may seem like a tenuous link to a benefit of BORG drinking, but it could alleviate the pressure to drink liquids you don’t know the origin of, such as the infamous Jungle Juice, and reduce the risk of people sneaking other substances into your drinks. Many feel that drinking from a container with a sealable lid could significantly reduce college-party date rape cases facilitated by “roofies,” as the drug Rohypnol is commonly called.

The Dangers of the BORG

Despite the potential for increased autonomy and responsibility that BORGS could facilitate, there are numerous causes for concern. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines binge drinking as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks for males or four or more alcoholic drinks for women on one occasion.[2]

Videos explaining how to make BORGS online – primarily on Tik Tok – often suggest that at least six shots of liquor should be added. It is frequently claimed in such videos that the addition of so much water and electrolytes “cancels out” the danger or the adverse effects of alcohol. This isn’t necessarily accurate and sends the potentially dangerous message to young people that if you drink enough water and electrolytes, you can safely and without consequence drink as much liquor as you like.

For young people who may not have previously consumed liquor and have no sense of their limit, this can result in alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal. Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it slows breathing and heart rate. If enough alcohol is consumed, heart rate and breathing can slow to such a rate that oxygen traveling to the brain is limited, causing brain damage and eventually death.

In addition, because both alcohol and caffeine are diuretics, they make you urinate more frequently and increase dehydration. Contrary to popular belief, combining the two can increase the risk of dehydration despite the water content of the drink.

Moreover, mixing alcohol with caffeine can increase the risk of drinking too much. Caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol and cause you to feel more alert – or sober -than that you actually are. This can cause young people to continue to drink more alcohol and become more impaired than they realize. This comes with the additional risk of alcohol-attributable harms, such as having unprotected sex, driving under the influence, or attempting to do dangerous activities like swimming or climbing.

What is Behind BORG Drinking?

Although binge drinking has existed for many years on college campuses, taking slightly different forms across generations, BORGs are thought to be linked to the increased awareness of cross-contamination through sharing drinks as a result of COVID-19.

Some mental health professionals suggest that the isolation and loneliness caused by the pandemic have also contributed to the number of young people BORG drinking and the high number of hospital visits.

To summarize, despite various claims from college students and preventionists, BORG drinking has no scientific basis as either a hangover cure or a harm reduction strategy. Despite presenting harm-reduction potential, this would need to be backed up by effective alcohol safety education and measures in place to address the underlying causes of self-destructive alcohol intake that has the potential to spiral into something more serious. There are over 1,500 alcohol-related deaths in college students a year,[3] so the normalization of excessive drinking should be a cause for concern for students, college staff, and parents alike.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anything you have read in this blog, please get in touch with Heather R. Hayes & Associates – call 800-335-0316 or email today.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, April 19). Facts about moderate drinking. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from,days%20when%20alcohol%20is%20consumed.

[2] Samhsa – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

[3] Consequences of College Drinking. Retrieved March 14, 2023, from

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