HEALTH ALERT: Medical professionals warn parents after Ohio teen dies from TikTok challenge

Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 5:45 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Another TikTok challenge is viral for all the wrong reasons, this one deadly.

It’s called the ‘Benadryl Challenge.’

“Unfortunately we’ve seen it being used in different ways that’s tragic for a lot of families and stuff,” said Amer Najjar, a pharmacist at Broadway Pharmacy.

Earlier this month in Columbus, the Stevens family experienced it first-hand when their 13-year-old son, Jacob, tried to copy the Benadryl Challenge with his friends.

They said Jacob took more than a dozen Benadryl pills in an attempt to hallucinate as his friends filmed him but instead his body started seizing.

He was hospitalized and spent six days on a ventilator, but died.

Now, his parents are using their heartbreak to warn other families.

“Keep an eye on what your kids are doing with that phone, talk to them about you know the situation. I want everybody to know about my son’s situation,” said Justin Stevens, Jacob’s father.

Najjar said parents need to be proactive about social media restrictions but should also keep an eye on what’s in their medicine cabinet.

“A lot of times the thought is if something is over the counter, it’s not prescription then it should be safe but anything taken too much of can become poisonous and very dangerous, very fast,” he said.

CBS News reports the FDA has raised the alarm about overdoses tied to the Benadryl Challenge on TikTok for years but in the end adults should keep it and other medications out of reach from children.

“Talk to the kids let them know thing that may seem like they’re harmless but on top of it, be engaged with your kids,” said Najjar.