Teen Dies From Caffeine

Its always tragic when a young person dies, but especially so when their death is entirely preventable. Davis Allen Cripe was 16 when he collapsed in class in Chaplin, SC, but when the autopsy was performed, it came back “inconclusive.” However, afterwards the coroner’s office released a statement that said that while Cripe was in excellent health, his death was caused by a completely legal drug: caffeine.

Before you frantically consider how many cups of coffee you’ve had today, it should be noted that caffeine causes different reactions in different people. “You can have five people line up and all of them do the exact same thing with him that day, drink more, and it may not have any type of effect on them at all,” notes coroner Gary Watts. What Cripes “had that day” was a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonald’s, and a energy drink, all very close together. This caused arrhythmia (irregular beating in his heart), which can be harmless but in this case was fatal.

The USDA recommends people consume no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, which is roughly two cups of coffee (depending on how strong you like it). However, Cripe’s father Sean made a public statement against the dangers of caffeine in general and energy drinks specifically. “Parents, please, talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks. And teenagers and students, please stop buying them. There’s no reason to consume them they can be very dangerous.” Davis Cripe’s story is a sad one, but perhaps it can serve as a warning for other parents and teenagers.