LAGRANGE, Ohio – The sudden death of a local high school student a few weeks ago is now being blamed on something almost everyone consumes every day.
The Lorain County Coroner has traced the death of Logan Stiner, 18, back to an overdose of caffeine.
“This is news to the coroner’s office, we had never seen this before,” said Dr. Stephen Evans, the Lorain County Coroner.
According to Dr. Evans, Stiner’s autopsy didn’t reveal anything but additional blood tests were conducted after a family member found a bag of caffeine.
Dr. Evans said Logan had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine in his body and 50 is considered toxic.
The doctor said Logan mixed the powder with a drink and his body couldn’t handle it. “What it does is, it leads to cardiac arrhythmias - speeding heart and it leads into seizures and those two things are what took his life,” said Dr. Evans.
Logan was a senior at Keystone High School where students were left with heavy hearts following his death at the end of May.
“He was just a terrific kid, he was a role model for the Special Olympic athletes, they loved having him there,” Superintendent Jay Arbaugh told FOX 8’s Melissa Reid following his death.
Caffeine powder isn’t illegal in Ohio and it’s available online, which is a problem for Dr. Evans. He said people don’t understand the danger.
“We found out this was being sold in bulk form - in a powder form - and it was being used by young people, especially students, especially athletes and it was just to give them an edge because most of them like all of us thought it was innocuous you know, it can’t hurt you,” said the coroner.
Blood tests didn’t show how much caffeine powder Logan consumed but Dr. Evans said one teaspoon mixed with water is like drinking 30 cups of coffee in one sitting.
“That’s a very dangerous situation and I think it needs to be regulated better,” he said.
State Senator Gayle Manning from Huron and Lorain Counties is willing to consider looking into caffeine powder abuse.
In a statement, Sen. Manning told FOX 8 News, “My heart aches for Logan’s family. Like all drugs, caffeine can be toxic in large quantities. And because research has shown that youth are up to 50% less likely to use drugs when parents talk to their children about substance abuse, it is crucial that we continue talking to our friends and families about the danger involved with any substance. I have been in contact with local officials to determine the scope of this issue and to determine if any action would be beneficial to address it. I encourage anyone with additional insight or ideas to contact my office.”
Dr. Manning said something needs to be done to prevent another death. “It’s the number one stimulant drug in the United States and it can be abused just like any other drug can.”
On Monday, the school superintendent told FOX 8’s Mark Zinni that caffeine powder abuse is no more prevalent in his district than anywhere else in Ohio.
He does plan to address the dangers associated with it when they talk about other drugs in the classroom.