On May 27 a high school senior from LaGrange, Ohio was found dead near bags of white powder.
Logan Stiner, age 18, had recently been elected prom king and was supposed to graduate from high school in just a few days. His brother found him in his room during a lunch break. Lorain County coroners have confirmed that the teenager died of a caffeine overdose.
Popular Teenager Killed by Caffeine
Caffeine overdoses are rare because the substance is normally found in food and drink in low levels. A caffeinated beverage has three to 15 milligrams of caffeine. Doctors estimate it would take approximately 10 grams of caffeine to kill an average adult. That figures out to be 50 micrograms per milliliter of blood. The autopsy showed Stiner had 70 micrograms in his bloodstream.
According to Dr. Stephen Evans, the coroner who performed the autopsy, he has only heard of 18 other cases of caffeine toxicity in the U.S. Normally it’s not possible to ingest a lethal amount of caffeine by drinking coffee or energy drinks. But it’s easier when you add in other supplements.
Dangerous Caffeine Powder
Stiner was found with a type of pure caffeine powder that can be easily bought in bulk over the Internet. One teaspoon of the powder contains the same amount of caffeine as 70 cans of Red Bull. The recommended maximum dosage is 1/16 of a teaspoon per day.
Evans stated that Stiner probably did not understand how much he was taking when he died. The toxic dose of caffeine caused a cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure.
Kelly Stiner, Logan’s mother, stated that she did not even know that caffeine powder existed. Her son had mentioned taking a supplement before workouts. They talked often but she had not noticed anything unusual. Logan was a healthy teenage boy who fought on the school wrestling team.
On Caffeine Abuse in the U.S.
Caffeine is by far the most popular and easily accessible controlled substance in the U.S. Students under pressure to get good grades may feel the need to stay up all night studying. Does that mean they are starting to abuse caffeine powders and pills that are readily available online? The FDA recently opened an investigation on caffeine in wake of all the new energy products.
Stiner’s family said that they hope that other young people will take a lesson from their son about the dangers of caffeine powder. According to Dr. Evans, "I think it’s dangerous. I didn’t realize it was sold in bulk over the Internet.”