Tennessee teens dead after apparently drinking fatal concoction

Mixture of soft drink with racing fuel proves leads to death.

Two Tennessee teenagers have apparently died from drinking a mixture of Mountain Dew and racing fuel. according to an article on NBC News.

Teens Logan Stephenson and J.D. Byram, both 16 of Greenbrier, Tennessee, are believed to have died from methanol poisoning, from the mixture.  Stephenson died last Thursday, while Byram passed away at Vanderbilt Memorial Hospital in Nashville on Tuesday morning.

Greenbrier Police Chief K.D. Smith told NBC News that a lot of people refer to the concoction as “moonshine on steroids,” and refer to the mixture as Dewshine.  PepsiCo, the maker of the Mountain Dew beverage, also makes a product called DEWshine, a non-alcoholic drink that is advertised as a “craft, premium soft drink inspired by the brand’s roots in the backwoods of Tennessee.”

Donna Seger, medical director of the Tennessee Poison Center and a professor of clinical medicine at Vanderbilt University said she believes the teens were trying to substitute the methanol in the racing fuel, easily available in stores, for alcohol in the mixture.  Initially, ingesting methanol can make a person feel as if they were getting drunk from alcohol, but Seger says consumption of methanol “causes the cellular machinery to break down.”

Seger added, “Methanol is metabolized to very, very strong acid. The pH of the blood goes so low, it’s incompatible with life.”   She continued to say that one of the unique things is that methanol is metabolized in the eyes and can cause blindness.

The Tennessee Poison Center says they have not received any calls about the “dewshine” mixture previously, and it would be difficult to determine how many others may be attempting to use the concoction.

Seger adds she thinks the deaths of the two teens are the first in Tennessee from the “dewshine” mixture, and that she believes the incident was just a very unfortunate accident.

An investigation is ongoing, with an autopsy report expected within two weeks, but police do not suspect any foul play was involved.

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