Nearly 50 students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst were hospitalized this past weekend after engaging in a drinking challenge popular on social media platform TikTok, CBS News reported.
During their annual “Blarney Blowout,” an unsanctioned event related to St. Patrick’s Day,” the UMass Amherst students had taken part in the dangerous “borg” drinking challenge, resulting in 28 ambulances transporting students to the hospital – 46 students were hospitalized.
All of them were later medically cleared, Amherst town manager Paul Bockelman said.
Also known as “blackout rage gallons,” the activity in question consists of drinking one-gallon mixtures of water, alcohol, sweeteners, and electrolyte solutions, such as Pedialyte. The trend has gotten more than 80 million views on TikTok.
“UMass officials said this is the first time the university has observed notable use of borgs,” according to 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.”
The sheer size of the drinking container may encourage binge drinking, given that one borg could contain 16 or more servings of alcohol.
“Consuming this much alcohol would be fatal for the vast majority of people, even if spread out over a full day,” said Dr. George F. Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).