It's back-to-school time, meaning students everywhere are unpacking their suitcases, rolling out their new bedspreads, and picking out their first-day-of-school outfits. Of course, college is primarily centered around the whole "learning" thing, but for many, it's also the first time they can really let their party flags fly. With the recent popularity of Borgs, otherwise known as "blackout rage gallons," it's safe to assume the gallon drinks with colored, flavored liquor water will make their great return for the 2023 fall semester. Between homecoming, tailgates, frat parties, and the like, everyone is going to be putting their brain power into making the best Borg recipes and writing funny Borg names. Borg safety is vital when you're heading to your first party. Don't look at this like a mom trying to lecture you. Think of me as your fun aunt who wants you to have a good time, stay safe, and remember the experience to tell the tale at Thanksgiving. 

#SpoonTip: Drinking can be fun, but be responsible. Spoon does not promote binge or underage drinking. Stay safe!

Follow this tip when making your first Borgs

"If you've never made a Borg, it's a good idea to start out with at least half a gallon of water," says Rachel Nguyen of Bunk Police, a company specializing in selling drug testing kits and promoting harm reduction knowledge. "Definitely add in electrolytes of some kind (like Liquid IV) — this will help you stay hydrated and avoid a bad hangover the next day."

Say what you will, but the electrolyte additions in your drink are much better than the college drinks of the past. (Looking at you Four Loko.)

The pros and cons of Borgs

Harm reduction specialists are in favor of the concept of Borg, as drinkers have their own closed container and know exactly what they put in their own Borg. This is unlike your typical college big-batch drinks such as "jungle juice." Additionally, you don't have to put any alcohol in your Borg at all if you don't want to, and you'll still have a fun time without being pressured to drink something else. Nguyen notes, "A single Borg allows you to monitor exactly how much you're consuming, and it has a closed lid, which prevents people from easily slipping something into your drink." 

Of course, a drawback is that standard TikTok recipes for Borgs contain a little too much alcohol for one person to drink in one night. "We'd warn against adding a full fifth (like a lot of videos suggest) because that's around 16 shots — which is way too much for one person in one night," Nguyen says. 

Truly, just consider how the average person begins feeling tipsy after three or four shots. Remember, you do *not* have to have a full gallon of liquid. You can make a small mixture to keep with you all night.

Ngyuen suggests planning how many drinks you want, and then you can "add this number in using a shot glass to measure." There's no need to guesstimate by pouring your liquor directly from the bottle when you have a little shot glass.

What if I drink too much Borg?

When drinking alcohol, sometimes you might exceed your limit, especially if you're new to it. No need to worry, it happens to many people. Nguyen has some Borg safety pointers if you've overdone it yourself, or notice a friend or stranger who needs some help. "Start by drinking some water or electrolytes to avoid dehydration, and eat a bit of bland food to settle your stomach and help you sober up," Ngyuen says. "If you choose to go to sleep, make sure to sleep on your side, and prop yourself up with a pillow, to avoid aspirating while sleeping."

Of course, sometimes drinking too much alcohol can lead to much worse than just a bad hangover. Nguyen says, "Make sure to look for signs of alcohol poisoning, and seek medical help if they are displaying any of these symptoms:"

- Trouble staying conscious or awake

- Vomiting excessively

- Slowed breathing (less than 8 breaths a minute)

- Irregular breathing (more than 10 seconds between breaths)

- Blue or pale skin

- Low body temperature

If you seek medical attention and you or your friend are underage, you will not face legal consequences due to the "Good Samaritan" law or protocol that many schools adopt.  

Bunk Police specializes in test kits for seeing the strength and purity of substances including cannabis and they also sell fentanyl-detection kits. No matter how you party, make sure you do it safely.