13-year-old dies from overdose after attempting TikTok challenge

Published: Apr. 17, 2023 at 9:51 PM CDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio. (WSYX) - A family from Columbus, Ohio is dealing with a horrific tragedy.

Their 13-year-old son, Jacob, died after he overdosed on an over-the-counter medicine.

The family says their son was trying to copy a TikTok challenge.

“I am going to do everything I can to try to make sure another child doesn’t go through it,” Jacob’s grandmother, Dianna Stevens, said.

“The worst day of my life,” Justin Stevens, Jacob’s father, said.

Jacob overdosed on Benadryl after attempting a TikTok challenge. He died after six days on a ventilator.

Jacob’s family told WSYX the challenge was to take 12 to 14 pills and it would create a hallucination.

Jacob took more than that.

“They kind of just all come at one time and it was too much for his body,” Justin Stevens said.

Jacob’s father says the teen was at home with friends when he overdosed. He says Jacob’s friends filmed him attempting the social media challenge when all of a sudden his body started seizing.

Justin Stevens says he felt like time stopped when doctors told him his son would never wake up.

“No brain scan. There was nothing there. He said we could keep him on the vent, we could, you know. He could lay there like that but he will never open his eyes. He will never breathe on his own, do anything like that,” Dianna Stevens said.

“Smile, he’ll never walk, talk,” Justin Stevens said.

His parents described Jacob as a well-mannered, funny loving kid. He played football for Greenfield schools.

“It didn’t matter how bad of a day I was having and nobody else could make me smile. Jacob is who made me smile,” Justin Stevens said.

His father says what community members said about his son brought him to tears.

“It made me feel really good to see some of the posts that, you know, his peers had put on Facebook about how he helped them,” Justin Stevens said.

And now his family has a warning for other parents.

“Keep an eye on what your kids doing with that phone, talk to ‘em about, you know, the situation. I want everybody to know about my son’s situation,” Justin Stevens said.

They’re also trying to get lawmakers to put an age restriction on buying medicine like Benadryl.

“I already sent a message to Mr. DeWine,” Dianna Stevens said.

“If it’s my life goal to, to make that happen, I’ll, I’ll, I’ll go at until I die,” Justin Stevens said.

Jacob’s father also wants social media platforms like TikTok to have age restrictions.

Jacob’s funeral will take place in the coming days.