Dangers of caffeine pills addressed by legislator after high school student overdoses

Dangers of caffeine pills addressed by legislator after high school student overdoses

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A north Mississippi legislator plans to present legislation in the 2015 legislative session that would ban the sale of caffeine pills to minors.

Representative Tommy Reynolds (D- Dist. 33) is working with the mother of a 17-year-old who died from cardiac dysrhythmia due to "excessive caffeine use" several weeks ago.

Caffeine pills are commonly found in gas stations, usually sitting in a case near the cash register. Each pill has 200 mg of caffeine, which is more than a NOS energy drink, which contains 120 mg of the drug.

In order for caffeine to be lethal, Petal pharmacist Kim Rodgers said 10 grams of caffeine must be consumed in one setting. That much caffeine would be found in 80 energy drinks.

"Caffeine is a stimulant, so high quantities of caffeine are going to cause your whole body to be stimulated," explained Rodgers. "The main thing we worry about in that case is heart patients."

Rodgers said patients who have underlying heart conditions- which he said could be there without even knowing- would have a stronger reaction to smaller amounts of caffeine than those who have a healthy heart.

"Their heart starts beating real rapidly. They could get out of sync real quick and develop an arrhythmia," he said.

Hattiesburg Police Department's Lieutenant Jon Traxler said caffeine pills have not been a problem that his officers have come across, but it does not mean that parents should ignore it if it is there.

"Parents need to know what their children are taking," said Traxler. "That gets back to you being able to talk to your child. Explain to them the dangers."

Rodgers said caffeine pills take about 30 minutes to dissolve, but they are commonly mixed with other caffeinated drinks and alcohol.

Caffeine pills have a warning for children under the age of 12, but there is no legislation that regulates the sale to minors.