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US teen's death after caffeine binge sparks concern over energy drinks

18 May 2017

Physicians are warning patients about the harmful effects of excessive amounts of caffeine following the death of a SC teenager April 26, reports WJZ-TV.

A 16-year-old high school student from SC collapsed and died from ingesting too much caffeine, according to a Richland County coroner.

Davis was a healthy and active teen who shunned drugs and alcohol, his parents said.

Adults can consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day without any adverse affects, according to Health Canada.

Watts determined the high school sophomore experienced a "cardiac event" after consuming so much caffeine in less than a two-hour span. "We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving, but it wasn't a vehicle crash that took his life, instead it was an energy drink".

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Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said at a news conference Monday that Davis Cripe drank a large Mountain Dew, a latte from McDonalds and an energy drink in the two hours before his heart fell out of rhythm at Spring Hill High School near Chapin on April 26.

The death of a SC teenager, who a coroner said died of a caffeine overdose, is prompting concern across the country.

"You know it when it happens". You can begin to imagine how jittery you might feel, and more so if you're not even accustomed to having so much. "You can feel it in your chest", said CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus.

Agus says energy drinks send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room annually. Any underlying health problems, as well as medications or other drugs, can also stimulate a stronger reaction to caffeine.

Regulations governing energy drinks in Canada differ from those in the USA and those sold in Canada have "roughly half the caffeine of an equivalent-sized cup of coffee-house drip coffee", she said by email. Instead, it was an energy drink. "And so all the caffeine give this big peak in the body and that's when bad things happen".

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Davis Cripe with mother Heidi, father Sean and sisters.

"Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks", Cripe said.

Authorities say the teen's autopsy showed no diagnosed heart conditions and was overall a healthy person. The caffeine use warning also cites the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations that children and adolescents do not ingest any caffeine. Caffeine was only considered a factor after witnesses told officials what he had been drinking prior to his death.

The bottom line: If you stick to regular coffee, tea, and the odd energy drink - and avoid chugging these beverages in Herculean doses - you should be just fine.

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