TikTok Challenge Results In Fatal Overdose


Source: ABC7 Chicago

An Ohio family is sharing a new warning about the viral Benadryl challenge on TikTok after their 13-year-old son Jacob Stevens died from an overdose trying to do. The teen tried it while filming, his family said, but instead of hallucinating, his body started seizing.

Jacob was on a ventilator for six days before doctors determined he would never wake up. “He said we could keep him on the vent — he could lay there like that. But he will never open his eyes, breathe on his own, smile, walk or talk, anything like that,” said Dianna Stevens, Jacob’s grandmother.

The medicine is commonly used to treat allergy and cold symptoms. According to the dosing guide, Benadryl users aren’t supposed to take it more than six times in 24 hours. The dosage also varies by age. The FDA has encouraged parents to lock up the drug to prevent an accidental overdose, but said the most effective thing parents can do is sit down with their children and talk to them about the dangers of misusing drugs.

The challenge first surfaced in 2020, prompting the FDA to put out a warning to parents about the devastating effects that abusing the medicine can have including serious heart problems, seizures, coma and death. The challenge at the time was linked to a 15-year-old girl’s death in Oklahoma and also sent teenagers who were reportedly doing it to the emergency room.

TikTok blocked the challenge’s hashtag on the app. A recent search doesn’t populate content and instead directs users to a resource page on substance abuse.

TikTok has over 150 million users in the U.S. Last month, the CEO Shou Zi Chew faced United States congressional representatives about the app’s safety related to how it stores Americans data and teens.

While the vast majority of people using the app are over 18, Chew testified, “we spend a lot of time adopting measures to protect teenagers. Many of those measures are firsts for the social media industry.

“We forbid direct messaging for people under 16. We have a 60-minute watch time by default for those under 18. And we have a suite of family pairing tools so parents can participate in their teen’s experience and make choices that are right for their family,” Chew testified.

The Stevens family say they plan to push U.S. lawmakers to impose age restrictions on medications like Benadryl.

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