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‘BORG’ Is Gen Z’s Favorite Drink — Here’s Why It’s Dangerous

BORG drinking is all the rage among college students, but experts say it’s a dangerous trend that young people should stay away from.

If you’re at all in touch with Gen Z’s habits, then you may be familiar with BORGs — the latest drinking trend sweeping college parties and TikTok.

The term, which stands for “blackout rage gallon,” refers to an alcoholic beverage made up of vodka or some other distilled alcohol, water, some type of sweetener or water enhancer, and an electrolyte powder or drink, all mixed together in a gallon-size plastic bottle. BORGs are commonly consumed at college day parties, also known as “darties.”

And while TikToks about the trend — of which there are many — may make it out to be just another harmless party craze, experts are warning that BORGs present unique dangers to young people.

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“The dangers of BORG consumption are multifaceted,” says Sarah Church, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and the founder of addiction treatment center Wholeview Wellness.

The risks of BORG drinking

For one thing, BORGs are incredibly large, Church says, so they contain a very high volume of alcohol.

“When served a large sized beverage, people tend to drink far more than they normally would,” Church tells Healthnews. This can lead to more intoxication and, in severe cases, life-threatening alcohol poisoning.

Young people may also be under the impression that they’re reducing their risk of hangover and dehydration by adding electrolytes and a large amount of water into the BORG, but Church says this isn’t the case. Despite containing water and electrolytes, the diuretic effect of alcohol can still lead to dehydration, she says, which can then cause electrolyte imbalances.

Plus, sweetening a BORG or adding flavor enhancers and sugar can mask the taste of the alcohol, which can lead people to drink more than they normally would and increase the risk of alcohol poisoning. If caffeine is added, it can cause additional dehydration, and its stimulant effect can mask the depressant effects of alcohol — misleading people about their level of intoxication.

Not to mention that when intoxicated, people have impaired judgment and lack of coordination, which can lead to accidents and injuries.

The trend component makes BORGs all the more enticing to young people. It offers a sense of belonging that is often particularly attractive to young people who want to fit in. The social media aspect means young people aren’t just exposed to the practice at parties, but everywhere they go.

“Young people are drawn to these drinks because they can customize how much of each ingredient they add, and they name them ‘punny’ names that reflect their personalities such as Ruth Baden Gins-borg, Arnold Borg-inator, and Justin Bie-borg,” Church adds.

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Education is key

To reduce the negative effects of BORGs on young people, Church recommends that adults step in.

“Adults, including parents and educators, can help by talking to their children and other young people about the risks of binge drinking,” she says. “By having open communication about alcohol use, adults can help young folks understand the risks and can help them make more informed choices about their drinking.”

The risks of binge drinking are indeed significant. Research suggests that alcohol causes at least seven types of cancer, and the World Health Organization has stated that when it comes to alcohol consumption, there is no safe amount that does not affect health.

Church says young people should instead be encouraged to drink healthier alternatives, including sparkling water, herbal tea, and mocktails. And if they choose to drink beer or wine or other alcoholic beverages, she says it’s a good idea to teach them that a standard drink is equivalent to one beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1.5 ounces of a distilled spirit.

“When they see the discrepancy between the amount of alcohol in two to three standard drinks and a BORG,” she says, “they can quickly understand how the BORG can be dangerous.”


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