‘Borg’ TikTok Drinking Trend Send Dozens of UMass Students to Hospital
The UMass Amherst students were participating in unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day celebrations dubbed “Blarney Blowout.”
AMHERST, Mass. — Dozens of University of Massachusetts Amherst students were hospitalized over the weekend during pre-spring break celebrations and school officials believe a TikTok drinking trend is largely to blame.
Officials said many students were seen Saturday carrying “blackout rage gallons,” more commonly referred to as “borgs,” which contain water, alcohol, flavoring, and electrolytes. Videos of college students making and drinking these concoctions have gone viral with the hashtag #borg receiving over 82.5 million views on TikTok.
“UMass officials said this is the first time the university has observed notable use of borgs,” reads a joint statement from the school and the town. “They will assess this weekend’s developments and consider steps to improve alcohol education and intervention, and communicate with students and families.”
All incoming UMass students are required to complete an online alcohol education program called AlcoholEdu. It includes discussions of the size of standard drinks, the physiological and medical risks of binge drinking, and how to “successfully navigate the social pressures of the campus environment and achieve academic success.”
According to CBS News, 28 ambulances from Amherst, neighboring towns, and the regional EMS task force transported students from off-campus parties during the unsanctioned St. Patrick’s Day event dubbed “Blarney Blowout.” In total, 46 students were hospitalized but were medically cleared and discharged with non-life-threatening injuries.
Many TikTok videos claim the combination of water and electrolytes prevents dehydration while binge drinking but experts say the large quantity of alcohol makes it dangerous.
“Consuming this much alcohol would be fatal for the vast majority of people, even if spread out over a full day,” said George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health. “It is unknown how many students actually follow borg recipes that call for a half gallon of vodka, but doing so could turn deadly depending on how much they end up consuming.”
The Globe also reported the celebrations resulted in 82 Amherst police responses for medical assistance, assaults, traffic collisions, noise disturbances, and fights. Two students were arrested for underage possession of alcohol.
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