Logan Stiner, an 18-year-old Ohio high school graduate, was found dead in late May. Results from the autopsy and a toxicology report indicate that Stiner died from a “lethal dose of caffeine,” highlighting the enormous pressure and workload put on young people to succeed in their academics.
MSN News reported on July 1: “On May 27, recently elected prom king Logan Stiner, 18, came home for lunch and ingested enough caffeine powder to cause an irregular heartbeat and seizures. His brother found him dead next to the white powder.”
Stiner’s mother, Lora Balka, said she “never thought it would hurt an 18-year-old child.”
Investigators said they are unsure where Logan, who graduated from Keystone High School in LaGrange, Ohio, obtained the bag of caffeine from. Powdered caffeine is not illegal to purchase, though some states may have restrictions on it because caffeine is often used to “cut,” or dilute, powdered Methamphetamine.
MSN reported that Lorain County Coroner Dr. Steven Evans equated 1/16 of a teaspoon of powdered caffeine to the caffeine equivalent of one can of Mountain Dew or a similar high-power energy drink.
“This is news to the coroner’s office, we had never seen this before,” Evans said.
The report showed that Logan had more than 70 micrograms of caffeine in his body – toxic levels are considered anything over 50 micrograms. Evans said one teaspoon of straight caffeine is like drinking 30 cups of coffee – at once.
“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. “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.”
According to Fox8.com out of Cleveland, Ohio State Senator Gayle Manning said she’s willing to head up an investigation into this growing problem among young people looking for an “edge,” either academically or is sports.
“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 percent 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.’”