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Students asked to refrain from partaking in ‘BORG’ drinking trend this St. Patrick’s Day weekend

BOSTON — With St. Patrick’s Day weekend upon us, local college students are being urged to refrain from partaking in “BORG,” a popular binge-drinking trend that has resulted in a slew of medical emergencies in recent months.

BORG, which stands for “blackout rage gallon,” has gained popularity on college campuses, in large part due to videos that have been making the rounds on TikTok and other social media platforms.

In these trending videos, students are seen carrying jugs with a mixture of alcohol, electrolytes, flavoring, and water. Many BORG recipes call for up to 17 shots of liquor.

After 28 ambulances were summoned to off-campus parties at the University of Massachusetts during the “Blarney Blowout” in Amherst earlier this month, Boston University Student Health Services issued a warning to students ahead of the holiday weekend.

“This is enough alcohol to cause an emergency. The size of a BORG makes it hard to track how much you’ve had to drink. Mixing alcohol with caffeine can mask the feeling of intoxication and other effect from alcohol, making it more likely for someone to overdrink,” health officials said.

Some have praised the blend of the BORG as a way to pace drinking and prevent a hangover, but health experts told Boston 25 that they disagree with the perception that the trend mitigates the dangers of college drinking.

“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.”

Colangelo added, “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.”

Colangelo also noted that 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.

A memo that was sent out this week from the Dean of Students at Boston University encourages students to avoid drinking borgs for this year’s St. Patrick’s festivities.

“Avoid the dreaded BORG. They are dangerous,” it says. “Know your limits. You don’t magically handle alcohol consumption differently because it’s St. Patrick’s Day.

An Instagram post from BU Student Health reiterates the concern and also offers tips for those who plan to drink borgs anyway.

You may have heard of BORGs - either online or in the news because of alcohol emergencies. For a safe St. Patrick’s Day,...

Posted by Boston University Student Health Services on Tuesday, March 14, 2023

“Putting less alcohol than a borg might call for and skipping the caffeine, which can mask the feeling of intoxication and other effects from alcohol,” said Katharine Mooney, Director of Health Promotion & Prevention at Boston University.

Mooney told Boston 25 News that the school will also be reminding students about concerns over borgs for this year’s Boston Marathon.

“That’s another Boston holiday, an exciting day and event in the city, and a day when college students might drink more than they typically and during the day,” added Mooney.

Boston 25 News spoke with several Boston University students who said the warnings are not swaying their opinions about the “blackout rage gallon”.

“I don’t think it’s really going to be effective,” said BU student Demi Kayode. “I think there’s concern within like older people,. probably parents and stuff… but amongst us, no.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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