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Borg Drinking: Another Dangerous Social Media Trend

Apr 18, 2023

The idea of drinking alcohol from a borg became popular on social media and is growing among college students. The term “borg” stands for “blackout rage gallon.” Borgs are large, personalized alcoholic drinks.

What is in a borg?

There are many videos on social media that show how to make a borg. Typically, users start with a gallon-sized jug of water and pour out half of it. Then, up to a fifth of vodka and flavorings are added. Some popular flavorings used in borgs are flavored drink mixes, electrolyte replacement fluids, and other flavor enhancers. Borgs are typically labeled with pop-culture references written in permanent marker, such as “Sponge Borg Square Pants,” "Borgan Donor,” and “Captain Borgan.”

What are the ingredients in beverage flavor enhancers?

Caffeine, B-vitamins, natural flavor enhancers, artificial sweeteners, and synthetic food dyes can be found in beverage flavor enhancers. Some beverage enhancers can contain cannabis, so it is important to read ingredient labels carefully.

How much alcohol is in a borg?

Any amount of alcohol could be added to a borg. Many videos on social media show people adding up to a fifth of vodka to their borg. A fifth of vodka contains 750 milliliters, or approximately 17 shots of alcohol.

What is a safe amount of caffeine?

A single serving of squeezable flavor enhancer usually contains around 60 mg of caffeine, though users often put more than one serving in their borg. On social media, ingredients are poured without measuring them, so it is not always clear how much caffeine is in a borg. An entire squeeze bottle of flavor enhancer can contain more than 1,400 mg of caffeine. For reference, a standard can of soda usually contains 30 – 40 mg of caffeine.

In healthy adults, consuming 400 mg of caffeine per day usually does not cause harmful effects. There is limited information on the safe dose of caffeine in children and adolescents. Due to differences between people, some may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Is a borg safer than drinking regular alcohol?

Some people claim that drinking alcohol from a borg has many benefits when compared to traditional alcoholic beverages such as:

  • Less risk of drink spiking because they can be capped shut
  • Less risk of germ transmission because they are made for a single person
  • Less risk of dehydration because they contain a lot of water

Even so, the large amount of alcohol contained in a borg can be extremely dangerous; users should know all the risks.

Does a borg prevent hangovers?

Some people develop alcohol hangovers the day after drinking alcohol. Symptoms of an alcohol hangover can include thirst, headache, muscle aches, nausea, and fatigue.

Some people think that drinking alcohol from a borg decreases the chance of alcohol hangovers because a borg contains a lot of water. Although hydration might help reduce the symptoms of a hangover, drinking large amounts of alcohol can still lead to hangovers.

Drinking water will not prevent someone from becoming intoxicated, or drunk, after drinking alcohol. Drinking water will not help the body get rid of alcohol faster, so it will not help someone “sober up.”

What to do if a borg makes you sick?

Save the national Poison Help Line number (1-800-222-1222) in your phone and post it in a visible place in your home. Call right away if you think your child or teen might have taken alcohol – or any substance – they shouldn’t have. The Poison Help Line provides free, confidential advice from experts, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

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Hannah is the Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, the Medical Director, Central Ohio Poison Center, and the Medical Toxicologist, Nationwide Children's Hospital

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