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Powdered Caffeine: If you have teenagers or college kids, be aware

Posted by on Jul. 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM
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  • 275 Total Views

Powdered caffeine is legal. It can also be deadly. 

And that's something parents of teenagers and college students need to know.

Logan Stiner was an 18 year-old prom king and high school wrestler ready to graduate this past May when he died from an overdose of caffeine.

"Merely 1/16th of a teaspoon can contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the equivalent found in 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."

Here's a excerpt from an NBC new story story by Robyn Haines in Ohio. (Click here for the video: http://www.nbc4i.com/story/25907752/caffeine-powder-a-scary-new-trend-in-ohio.)

Henry Spiller is the director of the Poison Control Center in Columbus. Spiller said that over the last ten years, the state has seen two deaths, five life-threatening cases and a couple hundred people admitted to the hospital for caffeine overdoses

Half of them were in their teens or 20s.

As Spiller explains, “They're not trying to hurt themselves- they just don't understand what they've got at their fingertips." 

And what they have - in just one teaspoon- can be comparable to 70 energy drinks in some cases. Knowing that has some parents taking a more extreme approach to caffeine-- usually seen as one of the more harmless drugs. 

And as fads will do, they spread quickly to other parts of the country. This story points to the importance of talking to teenagers and college kids about the dangers. 

http://www.koaa.com/news/teen-s-death-puts-focus-on-caffeine-powder-dangers/

Associated Press

Teen's death puts focus on caffeine powder dangers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The sudden death of a healthy high school senior has ramped up attention on unregulated caffeine powder, leading federal health authorities to warn consumers to stay away from the substance.

A recent autopsy found that Logan Stiner, 18, had a lethal amount of caffeine in his system when he died May 27 at his home in LaGrange, Ohio, southwest of Cleveland. The county coroner said Stiner had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, as much as 23 times the amount of a typical coffee or soda drinker.

His mother has said she was unaware her son took caffeine powder. The prom king and wrestler was days away from graduation. He had planned to study at the University of Toledo.

"I don't think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there," said Jay Arbaugh, the Keystone Local Schools superintendent.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it's investigating caffeine powder and will "consider taking regulatory action." The agency said it was aware of the teen's death and cautioned parents that young people could be drawn to it.

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 of caffeine powder packs a punch.

Merely 1/16th of a teaspoon can contain about 200 milligrams of caffeine, roughly the equivalent found in 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. Volume measures like teaspoons aren't precise enough and a scale may be needed.

"The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small," said FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren.

Glatter said he's seen several younger patients experience complications from caffeine in the last few months. Some have arrived at his hospital with high, rapid heart rates.

"They're starting to latch on to 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.

Dr. Henry Spiller directs a poison control center at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Over a week or so this month, the center took reports of three people hospitalized for misusing caffeine powder.

"I can't believe you can buy this," Spiller said. "Honestly, I mean, it's frightening. It makes no sense to me."

Federal investigations have recently prompted some companies to pull products with added caffeine.

Last year, Wrigley halted sales and marketing of Alert caffeinated gum after FDA discussions. In 2010, the federal agency forced manufacturers of alcoholic caffeinated beverages to cease production of those drinks. Authorities also have said they would take action if they could link deaths to consumption of energy drinks.

Hospitalizations from energy drinks have been on the rise.

The number of emergency department visits involving energy drinks doubled - from 10,068 visits in 2007 to 20,783 visits in 2011, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Most of the cases involved teens or young adults.

A full teaspoon of powder could contain 3,200 milligrams of caffeine.

In that concentrated amount, a person can experience adverse effects in a matter of minutes, said Dr. Bob Hoffman, a New York University medical toxicologist.

The brain becomes alert, then agitated and confused. The heartbeat picks up and can become dangerously irregular. A consumer can feel nauseous, vomit and potentially have a seizure.

"The thing about caffeine is just because you see it every day, just because it's naturally occurring - it comes from a plant - doesn't mean that it's safe," Hoffman said.

Three weeks before Stiner's death, students at Keystone Local Schools attended an assembly on heroin overdoses and painkillers, Arbaugh, the superintendent, said. "We were addressing things we thought we should be addressing."

Next year, he said, the dangers of caffeine powder will be added to the district's drug and alcohol awareness programs.

by on Jul. 19, 2014 at 1:32 PM
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Replies (1-10):
wildchild.com
by Rapunzel on Jul. 19, 2014 at 2:05 PM
1 mom liked this
Omg that's so scarey! That poor family. Thanks for sharing!
wenuck
by Moonshine on Jul. 19, 2014 at 2:14 PM
1 mom liked this
So Sad for the family!
Mznaye
by French Quarter Queen on Jul. 19, 2014 at 2:32 PM
1 mom liked this
So sad!
dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jul. 19, 2014 at 7:20 PM
1 mom liked this

 This is scarey! My hub was drinking the energy drinks and he was VERY unhealthy. I saw this thing on FB that said that they were made from bull sperm ( I know it wasnt and so does he but he said the thought of it) made him quit drinking them. He is doing better since getting off them.

I havent drank caffeine in years..

Thanks for sharing..

letstalk747
by Joyful on Jul. 20, 2014 at 12:26 AM
1 mom liked this

 thanks for the info , very good to know

Lb128f
by Silver sister on Jul. 20, 2014 at 11:35 AM
1 mom liked this

Sad. Thanks for sharing this important information! 

SeanandNoahsmom
by Manning Fan on Jul. 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM
1 mom liked this

 So sad and scary; thanks for the heads up.

MentorMom1
by Gold sister on Jul. 20, 2014 at 2:37 PM

Dana, I did not drink coffee until I was in my late 30s, not until my husband's cousin gave us a coffee maker for Christmas! Then we started to make it once in a while. With no children in the house, we now have a Wed. cup and a Sunday cup. Half-caf. That's it. I really like cafe au lait, made with Cafe Du Monde's chicory coffee blend. 

Quoting dana63:

 This is scarey! My hub was drinking the energy drinks and he was VERY unhealthy. I saw this thing on FB that said that they were made from bull sperm ( I know it wasnt and so does he but he said the thought of it) made him quit drinking them. He is doing better since getting off them.

I havent drank caffeine in years..

Thanks for sharing..


brooklynchic151
by Staten Island Psycho on Jul. 21, 2014 at 8:51 AM

 yuck!!!!!

Quoting dana63:

 This is scarey! My hub was drinking the energy drinks and he was VERY unhealthy. I saw this thing on FB that said that they were made from bull sperm ( I know it wasnt and so does he but he said the thought of it) made him quit drinking them. He is doing better since getting off them.

I havent drank caffeine in years..

Thanks for sharing..

 

dana63
by Momma of 40ish on Jul. 21, 2014 at 8:55 AM

 Your man could drink 4 of them a day. I would tell him it was bad for him and he laugh it off. As you know we spend many days in the hospital for high blod sugar (over 1150) and heart problems. Since I "showed" him that article he stop drinking them and blood sugar is almost normal and no heart problems... He lost 60 pounds and feels a lot better... SO I am saying YES these energy drinks can cause many health related problems as well...

Quoting brooklynchic151:

 yuck!!!!!

Quoting dana63:

 This is scarey! My hub was drinking the energy drinks and he was VERY unhealthy. I saw this thing on FB that said that they were made from bull sperm ( I know it wasnt and so does he but he said the thought of it) made him quit drinking them. He is doing better since getting off them.

I havent drank caffeine in years..

Thanks for sharing..

 

 

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