Health officials are in a panic in Tennessee after two teens were killed after drinking a deadly cocktail known as Dewshine. According to Tennessee Poison Center Medical Director Donna Seger, teenagers in Robertson County drank methanol, which is an industrial substitute for ethanol and used in racing fuel. Ethanol is the compound found in alcoholic drinks, while methanol is poison. Seger says the teenagers were unaware that the drinks were lethal, and the poisonings were accidents. No other cases have been reported outside of Tennessee.
Here’s what you need to know about this deadly drink:
1. The Drink Is a Mixture of Racing Fuel & Mountain Dew
Tennessee Poison Center Medical Director Donna Seger told the Tennessean that the deceased teenagers “thought they knew what it was, that it was a substitute for alcohol. They thought they would get the same effects as alcohol, but they weren’t aware of how toxic it was.”
Racing fuel, which is used in the cocktail, is essentially 100 percent methanol. It’s used on cars and in industrially. In her interview with the Tennessean, Seger said that methanol initially gives off the same effects as ethanol but eventually users succumb to seizures, blindness, nausea and diarrhea to name but symptoms.
2. Tennessee’s Poison Center Director Doesn’t Know How Prevalent Dewshine Is Among Teens
Seger and her department are working hard to establish how much of a trend Dewshine is among teens in Tennessee, reports the Tennessean. “These two deaths have brought it to our attention. We have to try to make sure that adolescents are aware of the toxicity. Kids usually communicate more among themselves, and we need to make more kids aware of this, statewide.”
On the National Institute of Health website, two to eight ounces can be fatal for an adult while a child can be killed by two tablespoons. The national Department of Health have been notified about Dewshine.
3. A Go Fund Me Page Has Been Set Up to Help the Family of Logan Stephenson
One of the deceased teenagers in Robertson County has been named as 16-year-old Logan Stephenson. A Go Fund Me page was set up to raise money for a drug and alcohol program at Stephenson’s high school. At the time of writing, over $2,000 has been raised of a $10,000 goal. He was found dead on January 21, reports WGRZ. Within minutes of Stephenson being found, authorities were called to the home of his best friend close by. There, Stephenson’s friend, who has not been named, also died.
After Stephenson’s death, two other teens came forward to say they had become sick from drinking Dewshine. Logan Stephenson’s funeral was held on the January 25, reports News Channel 5. The station adds that in Tennessee, racing fuel retails for $7.50 a gallon.
4. In March Mountain Dew Rolled Out Its Own Version of ‘Dewshine,’ With Critics Saying the Soft Drink Was Posing as Booze
5. In 2012, There Was a Spate of Deaths in Europe When People Drank Methanol
Above, a man drinks alcohol from a bottle on a street in Prague in the above photo on September 12, 2012. At least 14 people died and more than 20 were hospitalized in the Czech Republic that year after drinking spirits apparently tainted with methanol, Czech officials said. “The last figure I’ve heard was 14, but the numbers… must be taken with caution as it takes two or three days to confirm the cause of death by autopsy,” Health Minister Leos Heger told reporters.