‘Dewshine’ Poisoning Named The Cause Of Death For Two Tennessee Teens

Two Tennessee teenagers have died from consuming a new drink known as “Dewshine” in Robertson County Tennessee. The teens’ deaths add to a total of claimed by the deadly concoction.

USA Today writes that this cause of death was confirmed by medical director Donna Seger of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

In a statement she gave, quoted on the Tennessean, she claimed that the teens simply didn’t know what they were getting into.

“They thought they knew what it was, that it was a substitute for alcohol,” Seger said. “They thought they would get the same effects as alcohol, but they weren’t aware of how toxic it was,” the Vanderbilt Medical Director added.

Investigation began when authorities arrived at the home of Logan Stephenson, 16, only to find him lifeless in his bed after drinking Dewshine with his best friend, J.D. Byram.

Authorities later discovered Byram dead after witnesses saw him suffering from seizures.

These two Dewshine-related deaths were within minutes of each other.

Dewshine is the latest, and extremely volatile, drink to have taken the lives of young teens. Four teens, all of whom in Tennessee, have reportedly died so far.

Authorities are still trying to figure out just how prevalent the Dewshine is to spread awareness. So far, the concoctions seems to only begin to have surfaced in Tennessee. Seger noted, “These two deaths have brought it to our attention. We have to try to make sure that adolescents are aware of the toxicity. Kids usually communicate more among themselves, and we need to make more kids aware of this, statewide.”

Dewshine is the poisonous combination of the Mountain Dew and racing fuel. Mountain Dew, being harmless enough to be sold and marketed as a beverage, isn’t the problem.

The killer in the mixture is the racing fuel which contains a near 100 percent methanol content. USA Today reports that methanol, commonly used in drag racing, can give the same effects as ethanol.

Ethanol is used in many alcoholic drinks. The notion of methanol being similar to the alcohol additive, ethanol, is what gives Dewshine its appeal among young unsuspecting teens who are too young to purchase alcohol.

However, even pure ethanol, the reactive chemical that teens are trying to substitute, can have dangerous symptoms as well, including:

  • Blurred vision
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • seizures
  • blindness
  • coma
  • death

And methanol is even worse, with just as little as two tablespoons being enough to blind a child, USA Today reports. Just two to eight ounces is dangerous enough to kill an adult.

The concept, and reported deaths, of Dewshine may be something new, but the name is not. In fact, PepsiCo actually marketed a retro version of Mountain Dew — a drink already popular among teens — also called Dewshine.

The Inquisitr reports that bottles of Dewshine were released for sale in March 23, 2015. The new drink was ironically sponsored by NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to celebrate the throwback Mountain Dew flavor. Earnhardt, Jr. did so by unveiling a new “Dewshine” paint job on his car.

Earnhardt Jr. racing in Bristol donning the Dewshine logo in 2015. [Photo via Getty images/Jared C. Tilton]

However, the only secret ingredient in PepsiCo’s version of Dewshine, upon its release last March, was real cane sugar instead of any artificial sweeteners.

Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the classic bottle featured a barefoot “hillbilly” aiming a shotgun at his neighbor, paying homage to “family feuding”– an old practice of territorial dominance and disputes practiced primarily in the Appalachian South.

Do you think that other teens will attempt to make Dewshine?

[Image via Shutterstock/Sfam_Photo]