7Healthcast: Powder caffeine's deadly consequences - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

7Healthcast: Powder caffeine's deadly consequences

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UNDATED (NBC) - The growing use of a pure powder form of caffeine sold as a dietary supplement is getting a second look due to some deadly consequences.

This summer, Dennis and Kate Stiner thought they'd be getting their son, Logan, ready for college. Instead, they're mourning his death.
 
Logan, a straight-A student, wrestler and prom king died suddenly three days before graduation. Later, a plastic bag with a white powder was found in his house. It contained pure, concentrated caffeine.

An autopsy found Logan had 23 times as much caffeine in his system a typical coffee or cola drinker, enough to kill him.

Pure caffeine is sold as a dietary supplement to boost alertness and athletic performance, and doctors say it appears to be most popular with young men. It's not regulated. A teaspoon is equivalent to 25 cups of coffee. Effects can include irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms and kidney failure.

They would think, you know, 'I use caffeine all the time,' you know, 'I'm tolerant to this,'" said Dr. Henry Spiller of the Central Ohio Poison Center.

Dozens of websites sell it for as little as $12 for 100 grams. One site suggests users should only have a 1/16th of a teaspoon at a time and no more than three servings a day. That retailer, Bulksupplements.com, says it has "taken steps to educate our consumers on the dangers of overdosing."

There's also growing scrutiny of caffeinated energy drinks like these. Annual sales: $10 billion. Since 2007, emergency room visits related to them have doubled.

"This particular stuff, being as lethal as it is, needs to be banned completely," said Kate Stiner.

For now, Dennis and Kate Stiner take comfort and strength from the message on Logan's twitter profile: "cherish the seconds, everything happens for a reason."

"Caffeine overdose. We need to educate our parents. And children need to be educated," said Dennis Stiner.
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