Speed Reads

'blackout rage gallons'

UMass warns against 'borg' TikTok challenge after dozens of students hospitalized

Dozens of students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst were hospitalized last weekend after participating in a viral TikTok drinking challenge involving "borgs," CBS News reports. 

Borgs, or "blackout rage gallons," are one-gallon water bottles filled with a mixture of water, electrolytes, alcohol, and flavoring. Tutorials for making and consuming borgs have become popular on TikTok. The hashtag #borg has over 83.1 million views on the platform. 

UMass students were celebrating the "Blarney Blowout" over the weekend, "an annual unsanctioned event related to upcoming St. Patrick's Day," The Associated Press explains. Amherst town manager Paul Bockelman told CBS News that 46 students were hospitalized with injuries deemed not life-threatening. Bockelman said that 28 ambulances were called to transport students to the hospital, including additional vehicles from neighboring towns and the regional EMS task force.

"UMass officials said this is the first time the university has observed notable use of borgs," read a joint statement from the university and the town. The university plans to assess the weekend's activities and "consider steps to improve alcohol education and intervention, and communicate with students and families."

Though there is "some logic behind the idea of adding water and electrolytes to slow down the impact of alcohol or lessen hangovers," CBS News says medical experts are concerned that the size of the borg encourages binge drinking, considering "one borg could contain 16 servings of alcohol or more."

"Consuming this much alcohol would be fatal for the vast majority of people, even if spread out over a full day," Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health, told CBS News.