A New Warning About Energy Drinks After a Teen Overdosed on Caffeine
A coroner has warned parents to talk to their kids about the effect of energy drinks, after a 16-year-old boy died from a caffeine overdose after drinking one of the drinks.
Davis Allen Cripe overdosed on caffeine after drinking caffeine laded soft drinks, coffee and an energy drink which caused the teen to collapse and die from arrhythmia.
Gary Watts, Richland County coroner, said at a news conference about the teen’s death, “On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald’s and also some type of energy drink,” Watts said.
“It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia.”
Even though Watts is not a medical doctor, nor could he confirm how he came to his conclusion, he believes the over-ingestion of caffeine can have dire effects on the body, causing death.
“The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it’s ingested, can have dire consequences. And that’s what happened in this case,” Watts said.
The boy’s father agrees with the coroner and said at a news conference, “It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink.”
“Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks.”
Researchers have recently reported that energy drinks can cause changes in heart function and blood pressure. Similar dangers were found by another research team in 2015.
The maximum dose of caffeine is around 400mg, which equates to five cups of coffee. Anything more than this and the body can release natural compounds called catecholamines, including norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone that speeds the heart rate.
Deaths due to caffeine are not common, but nor are they rare. There are documented deaths of people who have overdosed on caffeine. The symptoms are rapid heart rates and seizures, which can cause them to choke on their own vomit.
It’s important for all children to understand energy drinks may not be a good drink choice. Education about caffeine overdose is important, especially when caffeine can be found in a number of soft drinks, not just energy drinks.