College officials and health experts concerned about popular drinking trend

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:11 PM EDT
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - While it sounds like something from Star Trek, it’s also the name of a drinking trend.

BORG, or Blackout Rage Gallon, has become popular on college campuses across the country.

A gallon jug of water is half-emptied, then filled with alcohol and electrolyte solutions.

The idea is even though one may be drinking up to 17 servings of alcohol in one container, the water and electrolytes reduce the effects of dehydration or a hangover.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s a “healthy” way to drink.

“I do think it’s a misconception that by diluting alcohol is going to be maybe better for you, or you’re not going to feel those after effects the next day, right? Maybe less of a hangover if you’re hydrating, but if you’re consuming that amount of alcohol in a small period of time, it’s definitely going to increase your blood alcohol content pretty quickly. And nothing you do as far as electrolytes or hydration is going to speed up that metabolism, and the alcohol it’s still sticking around and building up,” said Sean Sibley, nurse Practitioner at Northern Light Health Culter Center.

Sibley added high amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time do not lead to good outcomes and can have long-lasting effects.

In addition to liver damage and other effects, binge drinking can lead to high blood pressure, lowered seizure threshold, and cognitive decline.

Around college campuses near and far, people are feeling the effects of the BORG trend.

“I do think that there is a new amount of danger to the, so there is less control over the amount that the person is drinking. You know, we give harm reduction strategies, right? Measure your alcohol before you put it in or draw lines, make sure that you’re pacing yourself. That’s difficult for a person to slow down and want to do so. That is a new element of dangers that, you know, you have that large amount of alcohol in there. And there’s no measure as to how much the student is consuming that time. So it is a little scary,” said Kevin Hudson, UMaine Student Life educator.

Many BORGs are even decorated and given names.

Binge drinking is already an issue in the U.S., but with this newer way to consume, it’s problem that’s spreading.

At UMaine, folks at Student Wellness are working to educate students about the effects of BORGs.

“We at the university always take like a harm reduction approach. You know, this is a systemic problem, and we’re trying to to allow people that education to go out this with a better sense of what they want out of the experience, versus what Tiktok or social media is telling them,” Hudson added.