Caffeine powder was supposed to be the new way to get ahead. If not careful, it’s another way to get dead.
The recent deaths of two persons has prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue a warning about caffeine powder. Ohio high school senior Logan Stiner, 18, went home for lunch in May and ingested some of the powder. His brother came home to find Logan dead next to the white powder. In October of 2013, a British man ingested some caffeine powder with some energy mints, which killed him. There have also been numerous reports of caffeine powder overdoses nationwide. The Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating Stiner’s death and the reports of the overdoses, and “will consider taking regulatory action.”
At this time, caffeine powder is not regulated by any governmental agency. It has been reported by NBC News that a teaspoon of the powder is the equivalent of 25 to 30 cups of coffee.
The main difference between the powder and the caffeine you find in your soda is small, but powerful, states Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren. The caffeine used in sodas and coffee is a diluted derivative, while the caffeine powder is a pure chemical marketed as a dietary supplement. Symptoms of caffeine overdose or toxicity include rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, disorientation, and not being able to get to sleep or stay asleep.
According to Boston.com, Stiner, a wrestler, had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, as much as 23 times the amount found in a typical coffee or soda drinker, according to the county coroner. Steiner’s mother has stated she was unaware of her son’s caffeine powder usage. Steiner was days away from graduation and beginning his college career at the University of Toledo.
What is truly frightening is the ease with which a person can acquire this potentially fatal substance. Look no further than your computer.
“This product, unregulated by the FDA, is a soft, white, powdery substance, touted as being an instant pick-me-up that can be sprinkled onto any food or mixed into any liquid,” reports the Drug Free Action Alliance. “While you’re not likely to see it on store shelves, it’s all the buzz online, as well as easy and cheap to order (even cheaper if you buy in bulk). One site sells 100 grams of “pure powder” for under $12,” per the Nyack-Piermont Patch.
The Food and Drug Administration did not set a timetable for any decisions to be made regarding this action.