Jacob Stevens, 13 years old, after participating in an alleged Tik Tok Challenge where young adults take Benadryl.
Jacob was at home with friends when he ingested the over-the-counter medication. Sadly, he was on a ventilator for about a week before he passed away. His friends were recording him as he was actively partaking in the challenge when his body began to seize. The challenge encourages viewers to take as many as 12 tablets at a time to induce hallucinations. For perspective, the maximum allowed dose in a 24-hour period is six tablets for children 6 to under 12 years of age and 12 tablets for adults and children over 12 years of age.
In a statement to CNN, 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 parent company of Benadryl, Johnson & Johnson, has labeled the challenge as dangerous, and released the following statement, “We understand that consumers may have heard about an online ‘challenge’ involving the misuse or abuse of diphenhydramine. 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.”
In 2020, a 15-year-old Oklahoma girl lost her life after attempting the challenge. At the time, her aunt shared a social media post and wrote, ”This needs to stop taking our kids or putting them in the hospital.” That was the first reported case of death from the social media stunt.
The FDA states, ”Consumers, parents, and caregivers should store diphenhydramine and all other OTC and prescription medicines up and away and out of children’s reach and sight.”