‘Borg’ drinking trend on college campuses raises concerns among Boston health experts

BOSTON - There’s a new drinking trend being talked about on college campuses across the nation that is raising concern among some doctors.

A drink called the borg, which stands for “blackout rage gallon”, is making regular appearances on TikTok and other social media platforms.

Some are praising the blend of water, vodka, caffeine and powdered electrolytes as a way pace their drinking and prevent a hangover.

Boston 25 News spoke with two health experts who disagree with the perception that the trend mitigates the dangers of college drinking culture.

“In my opinion, it actually makes it more dangerous,” said Gus Colangelo, MD, Emergency Medicine Physician at Tufts Medical Center. “Rather than having a cup of alcohol and someone saying, finish your beer, you have a gallon jug. Now someone’s saying to you, you got to finish that gallon jug.”

Dr. Colangelo calls the very nature a borg “uncontrolled drinking”.

“If you take a fifth of vodka, which is about 16 shots, and pour that into a half a gallon of water with some electrolytes, it doesn’t absolve the fact that you’re still drinking 16 shots of vodka,” he explained.

According to Colangelo, the majority of patients that come into the Tufts Medical Center Emergency Department on a weekend night are dealing with some sort of complication from binge drinking.

“It can be, on a Friday night or Saturday night, 30, 40, 50, 70 percent of our patients in the Emergency Department in downtown Boston,” he added. “Sometimes they drank five Manhattans and sometimes they drank a borg.”

Those who are standing by this new trend on social media are touting it as an effective way to prevent drinks from being spiked.

“There’s still a dangerous drug in that drink. It’s called alcohol,” said David Jernigan, Professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy & Management at Boston University. “Calling this a trendy thing is trivializing. This is simply encouraging more binge drinking.”

Jernigan believes the popular portrayal of borgs on social media has the potential to put students in harm.

“Making claims about these as a form of harm reduction for drinking have absolutely zero evidence of any basis,” he said. “Keeping yourself hydrated is not going to meaningfully reduce the risks of drinking.”

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW

Comments on this article