Dozens of UMass students hospitalized after consuming “borgs”

Dozens of University of Massachusetts Amherst students were hospitalized this weekend after taking part in the dangerous “deposit” drinking challenge that has become popular on TikTok, officials said.

A total of 46 students were hospitalized, but all were eventually medically cleared and discharged to campus or home with injuries that were not deemed life-threatening, Amherst city manager Paul Bockelman told CBS News.

Twenty-eight ambulances were deployed to transport students to the hospital. Due to the high number of students requiring medical attention, Amherst required the assistance of ambulances from neighboring cities and the regional EMS task force, Bockelman said.

Borgsor “blackout rage gallons,” are one-gallon containers of water that are emptied a bit and then filled with alcohol and some sort of flavoring agent, such as water-enhancing drops or powdered drink mixes.

The trend of making and consuming borgs on college campuses became popular on TikTok. The hashtag #borg has been viewed more than 82.5 million times on the social media platform.

“UMass officials said this is the first time the university has observed notable use of deposits,” a joint statement from the university and city said. “They will review developments this weekend and consider steps to improve alcohol education and intervention, and communicate with students and families.”

While there’s some logic behind the idea of ​​adding water and electrolytes to slow down the impact of alcohol or reduce hangovers, experts are concerned that the gallon size encourages binge drinking. A deposit can contain 16 servings of alcohol or more.

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

The school said all incoming students must complete an educational program on alcohol consumption. The program features discussions on “the size of standard drinks and the physiological and medical risks of binge drinking”.

The students involved in last weekend’s bail incident were celebrating the annual “Blarney Blowout,” “an unsanctioned event associated with upcoming St. Patrick’s Day,” according to an Associated Press report.

Amherst police also arrested two students for underage drinking during the incident, Bockelman said.

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