*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Complex.
According to CNN, Davis Allen Cripe, a 16-year-old high school student from South Carolina, consumed just three caffeinated beverages within the span of two hours—a cafe latte, a large Diet Mountain Dew, and an energy drink—which caused what was ultimately a fatal cardiac event. Just over three hours after he purchased the first latte at a local McDonald's, Cripe was pronounced dead.
Cripe's autopsy showed no conditions or undiagnosed issues that would have left him particularly susceptible. Richland County Coroner Gary Watts summed up the nature of the situation, and stressed how it could have happened to any kid who binged on drinks like these.
"This was not an overdose," said Watts. "We lost Davis from a totally legal substance. Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis."
The rise in popularity of new types of caffeinated drinks has changed the way caffeine is consumed. Soda consumption has reportedly declined precipitously amongst young people, but coffee and energy drinks now represent a bigger portion of the market share. Energy drinks in particular have drawn the ire of researchers and nutritionists as they've become more of a staple amongst young people.
"It’s biologically active," said Dr. Steven Lipshultz of the University of Miami. "You have a child take an energy drink and his heart rate goes up, his blood pressure goes up. It affects almost every part of his body.”
"Like all parents, we worry about our kids as they grow up," said Cripe's father, Sean. "We worry about their safety, their health, especially once they start driving. But it wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink."