A 13-year-old Ohio boy has died from an overdose on the allergy medication Benadryl after attempting a deadly challenge popularized on the Chinese social media app TikTok.
The TikTok challenge involved taking 12 to 14 Benadryl pills, which killed 13-year-old Jacob Stevens, according to a report by ABC 6.
Justin Stevens, Jacob’s father, said his son was at home with friends when the overdose occurred. He explained that Jacobs’ friends filmed him attempting the TikTok challenge when suddenly his body started seizing.
The teen was then taken to a local hospital, where doctors told Justin that his son would never wake up again.
“No brain scan. There was nothing there,” the boy’s family told the outlet. “He said we could keep him on the ventilator, we could, you know. He could lay there like that but he will never open his eyes. He will never breathe on his own, do anything like that.”
Now, Jacob’s family is urging other parents to pay attention to what their children are doing on the phone, and to tell them about what happened to their son.
“Keep an eye at what they’re doing on that phone,” they said. “Talk to them about the situation — I want everyone to know about my son.”
The boy’s family are also trying to get lawmakers to put an age restriction on purchasing medicine like Benadryl. Justin told ABC 6 that he has contacted Ohio Governor Mike DeWine (R).
“It’s my life goal now to make that happen. I’ll go at it until the day I die,” he said.
The 13-year-old’s death is the latest TikTok-related fatality, as the Chinese-owned app has proven to be dangerous for kids and young adults.
The TikTok challenge that ended Jacob’s life first became popular in 2020. It involves urging users to take large doses of Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to induce hallucinations. The challenge has resulted in reports of teens being rushed to the hospital, and in some cases — like Jacob’s — dying.
Last year, the FDA warned parents of another deadly TikTok challenge that involves children cooking chicken in NyQuil.
Earlier this year, a 12-year-old girl died after participating in the deadly “choking challenge” popularized on TikTok. The girl’s death was also filmed in a video call while her classmates watched as she attempted the deadly challenge. Last summer, a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old in the U.K. allegedly died while attempting the same challenge.
You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.
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