Health officials warn of the dangers of lethal powdered caffeine after teen’s overdose in May sparks fears about the unregulated drug
- Logan Stiner was just days away from graduating from high school when he overdosed on a powder form of caffeine
- An autopsy revealed that Stiner had 23 times the amount of caffeine in his blood than is in a cup of coffee
- Medical officials warn that as little as a single teaspoon of powdered caffeine can be fatal
But it was one of the world’s most widely accepted drugs that killed Logan Stiner – a powdered form of caffeine so potent that as little as a single teaspoon can be fatal.
The teen’s sudden death in May has focused attention on the unregulated powder and drawn a warning from federal health authorities urging consumers to avoid it.
Tragic: Popular Keystone High School student Logan Stiner died in May from a caffeine overdose
‘I don’t think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there,’ said Jay Arbaugh, superintendent of the Keystone Local Schools.
The federal Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it’s investigating caffeine powder and will consider taking regulatory action. The agency cautioned parents that young people could be drawn to it.
An autopsy found that Stiner had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died May 27 at his home in LaGrange, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland.
Stiner, a wrestler, had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, as much as 23 times the amount found in a typical coffee or soda drinker, according to the county coroner.
His mother has said she was unaware her son took caffeine powder. He was just days away from graduation and had planned to study at the University of Toledo.
Caffeine powder is sold as a dietary supplement, so it’s not subject to the same federal regulations as certain caffeinated foods. Users add it to drinks for a pick-me-up before workouts or to control weight gain.
A minuscule amount packs a punch.
A mere 1/16th of a teaspoon can contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the equivalent of two large cups of coffee. That means a heaping teaspoon could kill, said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
The powder is almost impossible to measure with common kitchen tools, the FDA said.
‘The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small,’ FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren said.
Glatter said he’s seen several younger patients experience complications from caffeine in the last few months. Some arrive with rapid heart rates.
‘They’re starting to latch onto the powders more because they see it as a more potent way to lose weight,’ Glatter said.
Health officials worry about caffeine powder’s potential popularity among exercise enthusiasts and young people seeking an energy boost.
(My Comment: Does this strike anyone else besides me as really hard to understand and believe?
Why would any one want to produce a compound of a normally safe and accepted product in such sophisticated, complicated and dangerous strength, that individuals are not even capable of determining a safe dosage? Why is this allowed? Why isn’t the FDA jumping all over this? Jan)