As various challenges continue to go viral on TikTok, users do not hesitate to take each one of them to remain in the limelight. And, it’s only a matter of time before things turn into an absolute nightmare. TikTok’s “Benadryl challenge” has proven to be an absolute nightmare, especially for teenagers.
Recently, a 13-year-old Ohio kid, Jacob Stevens, passed away after overdosing on Benadryl while attempting this viral challenge. This viral trend encourages people to take large amounts of antihistamines to induce hallucinations. Johnson & Johnson, who makes Benadryl, was issued a warning in 2020 regarding this challenge.
Jacob Met A Tragic End With “Benadryl Challenge”
TikTok is a bizarre place to be, but again, the Gen-Z can’t just do with the video-sharing platform. Even though TikTok is a place where users can create a massive fan following, the site comes with its own share of trouble. Certain challenges have taken over the minds of TikTok users, and some have deadly consequences.
Recently, a 13-year-old teenager, Jacob tragically passed away after trying the viral “Benadryl challenge”. The boy passed away after spending almost a week on the ventilator. It was reported that he had ingested 12 to 14 pills of an over-the-counter antihistamine so he could experience hallucinations.
Jacob’s Parents Issue Warning Amid Tragic Loss
The deceased teen’s parents warned others about the dangerous trend. Jacob Stevens’ father, Justin Stevens revealed in an interview that his son was at home last weekend with his friends when he overdosed.
His parents revealed that Jacob’s friends were also present during the incident, and made a video, wherein Jacob started to seize up after attempting this challenge. His father said, “It was too much for his body.”
His father described the incident as the “worst day of his life”. His devastated father revealed, “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.”
Besides this, Jacob’s grandmother also revealed in a local interview, “I’m going to do anything I can to ensure another child doesn’t go through it.” Jacob Stevens was described as a well-mannered, fun-loving kid by his family members. While Jacob’s parents are trying to seek legal regulations on preventing kids from buying the above medication.
Johnson & Johnson Issued Warning In 2020
As for the challenge, Johnson & Johnson, the creators of Benadryl, issued a warning about the “Benadryl challenge” following a 15-year-old female death, who ingested a large amount of diphenhydramine to record her hallucinations.
In Jacob’s case, the teen’s body began to convulse during the incident. The trend resulted in numerous cases of diphenhydramine poisoning. The US Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in September 2020 regarding the increase in these cases.
Tiktok’s Other Dangerous Challenge
Last year, TikTok faced a lethal “wrongful death” lawsuit for the death of two young girls, Lalani Erika Walton, 8, and Arriani Jaileen Arroyo, 9, who died after copying the viral “Blackout Challenge” in which participants try to choke themselves into unconsciousness.
Walton, who was from Texas, was found “hanging from her bed with a rope around her neck” in her bedroom. When the police took Walton’s phone and tablet, it came out that the young girl was watching blackout challenge videos “on repeat” and the same has been confirmed by her stepmother.
On the other hand, Arroyo, from Milwaukee, was found “hanging from the family dog’s leash” in her basement, according to the suit.
She was taken to the hospital and put on a ventilator but sadly, lost all brain function. As a result, she was pronounced dead and eventually taken off life support. The Lawsuit alleged that:
“TikTok unquestionably knew that the deadly Blackout Challenge was spreading through their app and that their algorithm was specifically feeding the Blackout Challenge to children. The company knew or should have known that failing to take immediate and significant action to extinguish the spread of the deadly Blackout Challenge would result in more injuries and deaths, especially among children.”
TikTok denied responsibility for the issue, saying “choking game” injuries from young people long predate the Blackout Challenge. The Social Media Victims Law Centre also stated that:
“It’s an indication that TikTok — the wildly popular, algorithmically curated video app that has its U.S. headquarters in Culver City — is a defective product. TikTok pushed Lalani and Arriani videos of the dangerous trend, which is engineered to be addictive, and didn’t offer the girls or their parents’ adequate safety features, all in the name of maximizing ad revenue.”
If you recall, another lethal challenge called the “Angel of Death” challenge surfaced on TikTok in June 2022. This challenge reportedly claimed the lives of two teenagers after they jumped in front of trucks. In times when children are exposed to such content, it is the responsibility of parents to take control of their social media behavior.