Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
February 25, 2024 ·  5 min read

Ohio Boy, 13, Dies 6 Days After Attempting TikTok Trend ‘Benadryl Challenge’

Life is a learning experience for everyone. Additionally, no one knows better until they’ve tried and failed or watched someone they know try, and fail. As a result, children and teens make questionable choices, such as partaking in trending challenges. First were the ice bucket, tide pods, and cinnamon challenges. Tragically, a continuing trend called the “Benadryl challenge,” recently claimed a young Ohio boy’s life.

Benadryl Challenge Resurfaces

Surprisingly, the trend has actually been around for a few years, but recently resurfaced, now viral on TikTok. The newish “Benadryl challenge‘, may sound like absolute nonsense; no one enjoys taking OTC medicine for colds, the flu, or allergies. Therefore, few can imagine the appeal of taking Benadryl in excess. However, the packaging on OTC treatments often have a long list of warnings and side effects, including hallucinations, extreme drowsiness, or even the possibility of experiencing a “high“.

Image Credit:  Stevens Family | ABC6

Benadryl Challenge Took a Life

Justin Stevens is an Ohio father to 13-year-old Jacob, who’d participated in the dangerous “Benadryl challenge.” He disclosed that his son had begun seizing and was hospitalized, resulting in being put on a ventilator. Tragically, just 6 days later, Jacob passed away from the toxic effects of the “ Benadryl challenge“. “When he did, it all came at once, and it was too much for his body,” Justin explained. According to Justin the challenge is that users are to take 12-14 pills in order to participate. “No brain scan, there was nothing there. They said we could keep him on the vent that he could lay there, but he will never open his eyes, he’ll never breathe, smile, walk or talk,” he said.

Jacob actively participated in school, playing football and hanging out with his friends. He also is remembered for enjoying, “listening to music”. Unfortunately, the “Benadryl challenge” comes with dire consequences. In this case, 13-year-old Jacob suffered severe health complications before finally succumbing to the toxic “Benadryl challenge.” Although it is a tragedy, his family’s story will hopefully put things into perspective for the new generations to make better educated decisions.

Condolences to the Family

In the meantime, Jacob’s aunt stated a GoFundMe page for the family, stating, “No mother should have to say goodbye to their baby.”

A TikTok spokesperson was quick to comment, offering condolences. “At TikTok, we strictly prohibit and remove content that promotes dangerous behavior with the safety of our community as a priority. We have never seen this type of content trend on our platform and have blocked searches for years to help discourage copycat behavior,” the statement added. “Our team of 40,000 safety professionals works to remove violations of our Community Guidelines and we encourage our community to report any content or accounts they’re concerned about.”

Consider Safer Options

Parents and teens alike should look for dangerous trends, such as the Benadryl challenge. This is particularly true because peer pressure has always been a part of society, and even more so now that social media allows us to have constant access to one another. However, some healthy, 30-day challenges might be worth exploring. Not only will they have fewer damaging effects than the “Benadryl challenge”. They may also help improve mental and overall, physical health.

Safer than the Benadryl Challenge

  1. Record yourself saying positive affirmations every day for thirty days. Studies have shown that doing so in the mirror/ keeping eye contact with oneself has even more positive and impactful effects.
  2. Meditate every day for 30 days. Experts agree that just a few minutes a day can have notable effects.
  3. Walk or bike to work or school. Doing so will increase metabolism, boost an intake of fresh air, and release endorphins in the brain. Furthermore, it’ll be more time consuming so teens will have less free time to try harmful challenges like the “Benadryl challenge“.
  4. Doing 10 kind acts a week. Be helpful to adults, open the door for others, clean your room without being asked, etc.
  5. Show gratitude. Far too few of us, take time to let the people we love, know why we love them. Pick one person a day for 30 days to write a little note about them. It could be something we like about them, or admire in them, or appreciate how that behavior compliments one of our own. Doing this challenge will not only make others feel loved, but it will also remind us how much we have to be thankful for.

Challenges for a Happier Healthier Us

  1. Create something. Firstly, creative juices in the brain help stimulate intellect, cognitive, abilities, and of course the release of endorphins. Secondly, by getting in touch with the things we love to do, we find a sense of joy and inner peace. Lastly, creating something might give us supplemental income in case we ever find ourselves struggling to make ends meet.
  2. List something you love about yourself every day for 30 days. While positive affirmations can be helpful to provide inspiration and a positive outlook, focusing on the good within oneself can boost self-esteem.
  3. Pick up trash. Help clean up beaches, parks, and neighborhood streets. Luckily this can be done in a group so friends can get on board, together, with this challenge. Plan a picnic for after to appreciate your hard work and enjoy the serene beauty of nature.
  4. Start a donation cause. This challenge is easy to incorporate into whole schools, challenging each grade or class to try to donate more than the others. It can be toys, old clothes, canned food, the options are endless but can create a fun challenge for the whole school.
  5. Learn a new skill. To have fun, and give you one more thing to love about yourself.

The point of social media is essentially to allow everyone in your life to have all eyes on you at any given time. While some of these challenges don’t leave room for “publicity“, some can be recorded and shared with everyone. More than that, each challenge seems significantly less dangerous than the “Benadryl challenge”.

Keep Reading: Twin toddlers drown after grandmother with Alzheimer’s leaves door open – rest in peace


  1. Local teen dies attempting Tik Tok Challenge, parents warn other families.” WSYX. Stephanie Duprey. April 15, 2023
  2. 200 fun 30 day challenges that make your life better (2023 list).” Healthy Happy Impactful. Jennifer Kropf. January 3, 2023
  3. Ohio boy, 13, dies 6 days after attempting TikTok trend ‘Benadryl Challenge’. People Mag. Ingrid Vasquez. April 18, 2023.