South Carolina, USA – A teen from South Carolina died of a caffeine overdose after he consumed coffee, soft drinks, and an energy drink.
Davis Allen Cripe, 16, died on April 26 at Palmetto Health Parkridge Hospital after collapsing in a classroom at Spring Hill High School.
“On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know he had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonald’s and also some type of energy drink,” Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said in a press conference. “We lost Davis from a totally legal substance. These drinks can be very dangerous.”
Watts also said there was no evidence of an undiagnosed heart condition.
“These drinks can be very dangerous,” Watts said. “I’m telling my friends and family don’t drink them.”
He said a medical examiner and a forensic toxicologist both examined Cripe. “Based on his weight, the intake of caffeine that he had exceeded what is considered a safe level,” Watts told NBC News.
“It wasn’t a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink,” the boy’s father, Sean Cripe, said at the news conference.
“Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks.”
Up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee, 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks.
You know you’ve overdosed if you’re feeling tremors or shaking throughout your body, which are the signs preceding the more life-threatening side effects. The overdose happens when the body’s central nervous system is thrown into a state of over-stimulation called caffeine intoxication. The body will actually expel the caffeine when it signals to itself it has had too much, just as the body would try to get rid of an alcohol overdose.