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13-Year-Old Reportedly Dies After TikTok Challenge With Over-the-Counter Drug

A 13-year-old boy reportedly passed away after overdosing on an over-the-counter drug to complete a viral TikTok challenge.

According to reports, Jacob Stevens participated in the “Benadryl Challenge,” which involves taking 12-14 pills to induce hallucinations.

The teenager’s family spoke with ABC 6.

Stevens’ family said he was placed on a ventilator for about a week after he overdosed on the antihistamine.

“I’m going to do anything I can to make sure another child doesn’t go through it,” Dianna Stevens, his grandmother, said.

Justin Stevens, his father, said the day his son died was “the worst day of his life.”

Cont. from ABC 6:

Jacob overdosed on Benadryl after attempting a Tik Tok challenge.

“When he did it all came at once and it was too much for his body,” Justin said.

Justin said the teen was at home with friends when he overdosed. He says Jacobs’ friends filmed him attempting the social media challenge when all of a sudden his body started seizing.

Justin told ABC 6 he felt like time stopped when doctors told him his son would never wake up.

“No brain scan, there was nothing there. They said we could keep him on the vent that he could lay there but he will never open his eyes, he’ll never breathe, smile, walk or talk,”

Jacob’s parents described him as a well-mannered, funny, loving kid. He played football for Greenfield schools.

His father is also warning other parents about the dangers of social media.

From the New York Post:

In light of his son’s tragic death, the devastated Ohioan is also warning parents about the dangers of teens using social media unsupervised.

“Keep an eye at what they’re doing on that phone,” he said. “Talk to them about the situation. I want everyone to know about my son.”

In addition, Justin is imploring lawmakers to put age restrictions on over-the-counter pharmaceuticals like Benadryl — a campaign he describes as his “life goal.”

He wants TikTok to impose similar safeguards, including requiring users to provide an ID before creating an account.

Unfortunately, Jacob isn’t the first victim of the Benadryl Challenge.

In August 2020, a 15-year-old girl fatally overdosed on the allergy drug during another ill-fated attempt at the stunt.

Following the spate of deaths, manufacturer Johnson & Johnson issued a public advisory regarding the challenge, warning: “The Benadryl TikTok trend is extremely concerning, dangerous and should be stopped immediately.”

The Food and Drug administration also put out a public service announcement.

“Taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma or even death,” the agency wrote.

“We are aware of news reports of teenagers ending up in emergency rooms or dying after participating in the ‘Benadryl Challenge’ encouraged in videos posted on the social media application TikTok.”

They added, “Health care professionals should be aware that the ‘Benadryl Challenge’ is occurring among teens and alert their caregivers about it.”


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