The Rise of BORGs: A Dangerous Drinking Trend Among Generation Z

The Rise of BORGs: A Dangerous Drinking Trend Among Generation Z May, 21 2024

The Rise of BORGs: A Dangerous Drinking Trend Among Generation Z

In recent years, a new and alarming drinking trend has emerged among Generation Z, particularly within the college student demographic. Known as BORGs, or 'blackout rage gallons,' these oversized alcohol concoctions have quickly replaced the large-party-sized mixed drinks of the past. This trend sees students preparing massive gallon-sized plastic jugs filled with vodka or other distilled spirits, water, a variety of flavor enhancers, and electrolyte powders or drinks. What makes BORGs particularly concerning to health experts is their sheer volume and the dangerously high alcohol content they often contain.

One can't ignore the social appeal that BORGs offer. During parties, each individual creates their own personalized BORG, often giving it a unique and playful name. This act of customization not only makes the drink more palatable but also adds a layer of social interaction that many students find enjoyable. However, the fun and games mask a much darker side to this trend. Health experts, including Dr. Anna Lembke, have expressed grave concerns about the potential for life-threatening alcohol poisoning. A standard BORG can hold up to 17 standard drinks, significantly exceeding the recommended daily alcohol intake limits.

The dangers were starkly highlighted following a recent incident at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. During an off-campus event, more than two dozen students were rushed to the hospital due to acute alcohol poisoning, with BORGs being a common factor among those hospitalized. This alarming incident has brought national attention to the risks posed by this new drinking phenomenon.

The Ingredients and Risks

At its core, a BORG is a cocktail that might seem innocuous due to its basic ingredients: alcohol, water, flavorings, and electrolytes. Yet, this simplicity belies its potential for harm. The electrolytes, often intended to stave off hangovers, can create a false sense of security. Diluting agents like water and flavor enhancers may make the drink more palatable, encouraging higher consumption rates without immediate awareness of the escalating alcohol intake.

For the liver, processing such a large volume of alcohol is a strenuous task. Overwhelmed by the quantity, the liver fails to metabolize the alcohol efficiently, leading to rapid increases in blood alcohol concentration. This can result in severe alcohol poisoning, which can manifest through symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, slow or irregular breathing, and unconsciousness. The danger is particularly pronounced for individuals who are not habitual drinkers, as their tolerance levels are substantially lower.

Moreover, the culture of binge drinking that BORGs promote is another significant concern. At parties, the encouragement to consume large quantities quickly can lead to dangerous drinking behaviors. The practice of creating and naming one's BORG often transitions into a challenge to finish it, pushing individuals to consume excessive amounts in a short period. This irresponsible drinking pattern is a direct pathway to acute health crises and long-term consequences.

Health Experts Sound the Alarm

The World Heart Federation has taken a strong stance against alcohol consumption, declaring that there is no safe level for alcohol intake regarding health. This statement directly counters the perceived social norms of moderate drinking being harmless. The shift towards BORGs, with their extraordinary alcohol content, only amplifies the threats outlined by health organizations. Binge drinking, amplified by trends like BORGs, can lead to various long-term health complications, including liver disease, cardiovascular problems, and mental health issues.

Health experts across various fields are urging for increased awareness and moderation. For some, the recommendation is clear—avoid alcohol altogether due to its inherent risks. For others, the advice remains to exercise extreme caution and practice moderation if one chooses to drink. The tailored nature of BORGs, designed to mask the strong taste of alcohol, makes it easier for individuals to underestimate their consumption, further underscoring the need for cautious and informed drinking behaviors.

The Spread to Younger Audiences

While college students are at the forefront of this trend, it is concerning to note its spillover into younger demographics, including high school seniors. The allure of BORGs lies not just in their potent kick but also in the creative freedom they offer. Despite being illegal for minors to purchase or consume alcohol, the DIY nature of BORGs means that underage drinkers find them relatively accessible. This broadening appeal underscores the urgent need for parents, educators, and community leaders to engage in proactive conversations about the dangers of such drinking practices.

The trend of BORGs serves as a stark reminder of the evolving landscape of alcohol consumption among young people. As new forms of consumption emerge, the corresponding health risks must be communicated effectively to mitigate harm. Effective education and preventive measures, along with a supportive environment that encourages safer drinking behaviors, are crucial in addressing the dangers posed by BORGs.


As BORGs continue to gain popularity, the accompanying risks cannot be overstated. The trend not only highlights the need for greater awareness of the potential for alcohol poisoning but also underscores the broader issue of binge drinking within Generation Z. Whether through policy changes, educational campaigns, or community initiatives, addressing the risks associated with BORGs is essential for safeguarding the health and well-being of young people.

BORGs, with their combination of high alcohol content and appealing flavors, represent a significant challenge in the ongoing effort to reduce alcohol-related harm. Understanding and acknowledging these risks, coupled with informed decision-making, can play a pivotal role in steering young individuals away from dangerous drinking behaviors and towards healthier lifestyle choices.