July 21, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
In February of this year I wrote a blog on the dangers of over-caffeinated Energy Drinks like Red Bull. Many consumers, especially teens, just can’t seem to get enough of these stimulants. When they should be drinking water, they are guzzling NRG drinks like Red Bull, Rock Star or “UPSHOT.”
Teens are getting sick and there is evidence that such consumption may be acting as a gateway to harder and harder substances like a variety of drugs, including cocaine and heroine.
Now, it seems like an increasing number of teens are simply bypassing most of the “Bull” and going straight for the stimulant.
Caffeine to be exact. In its absolute, pure, anhydrous and possibly lethal form.
Just ask the parents of Logan Stiner, an 18 year-old wrestler and prom king who sadly, didn’t live to attend his own graduation from LaGrange, Ohio high school just a few weeks ago.
The toxicology reports just in make it clear. Young Logan died from a lethal overdose of caffeine powder. He was using it to both lose weight to ensure he made his wrestler weight and to stay super-alert for his matches.
Be all you can be, until you can’t.
His body had 70 micrograms of caffeine per one milliliter of blood. That’s about 23 times more than an adult who drinks about 8 cups of coffee will have in their system at their peak in any given day.
Local school superintendent Jay Arbaugh probably captured most if not all the sentiments of teen parents everywhere when he said, “I don’t think any of us knew that this stuff was out there.”
But teens seem to know the “stuff” is out there and frankly, easy, legal and completely unregulated to purchase.
For $12.95 anyone can purchase pure caffeine powder from retailers like “The Variety Shoppe.” This will get you a small can of about 1 oz. Yet, all it takes is one small teaspoon of the powder to equal 25 cups of black, caffeinated coffee. According to Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, even just 1/16th of a teaspoon contains 200 milligrams of caffeine and that can cause sickness, dizziness, hallucination and vomiting.
Worse, because of the pure form of the powder measuring it in accurate amounts even by ordinary kitchen spoons or measuring cups can result in erroneous weights. A fairly sophisticated scale is needed. And let’s face it unless your teen is already building a meth lab or a serious chemistry student they tend to not have those lying around the home.
A day after the toxicology report came out on Logan the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) issued a warning about the possible dangers of caffeine powder.
At the moment this may be a classic case of “too little, too late.”
Too late for Logan and too little to be of much good for the literally thousands of teens who are using and abusing this product as a dietary supplement and as a sort of “super-sized” NoDoze pill.
This is because the only action that the USFDA has officially committed to is “to look into the matter” and to “take appropriate regulatory action” if warranted.
When this product first was being manufactured and sold the FDA was fully aware it was hitting the mainstream market. But through effective lobbying, the makers of this product fought to ensure that it was seen as falling under the safe umbrella of “natural herbal and organic plant health” products.
Even today in the wake of Logan’s death, retailers like “The Variety Shoppe” only disclose that a side effect is “possible increased urination.”
Yeah, okay, so that is what killed Logan.
Dr. Henry Spiller of the Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio appeared as stunned as the rest of the community when he said, “I can’t believe you can buy this…honestly, I mean, it’s frightening…It makes no sense to me.”
Well, you, and by that I mean teens who will almost absolutely abuse this product can and are getting their hands on this product. And the sense is more like “cents” as this is one of the fastest growing “health” products being sold in retail stores and on-line.
Last year hospitals across the US saw a continued increase (over 30,000) of emergency care to mostly teens due to abuse of, you guessed it, energy drinks and water laced with caffeine.
A CDC official recently expressed concern that the next “wave” of visits may be due to the increased popularity and easy access of anhydrous, pure caffeine powder.
Exactly the stuff that killed Logan.
So, here’s a piece of unsolicited advice. Don’t wait for the FDA to maybe, possibly, someday, take action. Ask a simple question of your teen today. And if the answer is yes then do the right thing. Toss the caffeine powder away.
Make them a cappuccino instead. And everyone lives to see another day with just a little bit of luck.
Being a parent of a teen these days may have just gotten a bit harder.