A teen who had his whole life ahead of him has sadly passed away after taking part in a dangerous TikTok trend.
Jacob Stevens, a 13-year-old Ohio native, is dead after overdosing on allergy medication in the name of the“Benadryl Challenge” — a trend that has plagued the video sharing app for years. The goal of the life threatening dare is to consume 12-14 pills of the allergy drug in order to experience a hallucinogenic high — but sadly for Jacob, it instead claimed his life.
His father, Justin Stevens, spoke with ABC over the weekend, where he shared details of his teen’s final moments:
“When he did it all came at once and it was too much for his body.”
He added that the 13-year-old was at home with friends when he attempted the challenge, but his body quickly began seizing. Immediately, the concerned father rushed his son to the hospital, where he was met with devastating news:
“No brain scan, there was nothing there. They said we could keep him on the vent that he could lay there but he will never open his eyes, he’ll never breathe, smile, walk or talk.”
We can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to receive that world shattering news. Ugh. How awful.
After six days on a ventilator, Jacob passed away last Wednesday in what his father called “the worst day” of his life. The late teen is described in his obituary as, “a well-mannered, funny, loving kid,” who “enjoyed listening to music, playing football, and hanging out with his friends.”
In an official statement to multiple outlets, a spokesperson for TikTok said:
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family. At TikTok, we strictly prohibit and remove content that promotes dangerous behavior with the safety of our community as a priority. We have never seen this type of content trend on our platform and have blocked searches for years to help discourage copycat behavior. Our team of 40,000 safety professionals works to remove violations of our Community Guidelines and we encourage our community to report any content or accounts they’re concerned about.”
The official Benadryl brand has also come forward with a statement of their own, declaring:
“We understand that consumers may have heard about an online ‘challenge’ involving the misuse or abuse of diphenhydramine. The challenge, which involves ingestion of excessive quantities of diphenhydramine, is a dangerous trend and should be stopped immediately. BENADRYL® products and other diphenhydramine products should only be used as directed by the label.
Collaboration and education are critical to putting an end to this dangerous misuse. We are working with TikTok and other social platforms to remove content that showcases this behavior. We will look to partner across industry and with key stakeholders to address this dangerous behavior.”
Jacob’s grandmother, Dianna Stevens, told ABC:
“I’m going to do anything I can to make sure another child doesn’t go through it.”
Watch more (below):
A GoFundMe put on by Jacob’s aunt, Ashley Dean, which you can visit HERE, added:
“No mother should have to say goodbye to their baby! This is so heartbreaking and I have no words to comfort her please anything will help.”
So, so sad.
This, of course, was not the first fatality from the dangerous challenge, as we reported back in 2021 that a user had died in 2020 from the trend. At the time, the US Food & Drug Administration warned in a statement:
“Taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.”
We’re so sad to see another young life lost to the dangerous challenge. This has to be stopped. What are your thoughts? Share your support in the comments down below.