Man Dies After Ingesting Enough Caffeine For 70 Energy Drinks

A 23-year-old man in the UK has passed away after he reportedly ingested “spoonfuls” of powdered caffeine at a party.

A statement on the caffeine’s packaging says to not ingest more than 1/16 of a teaspoon, but according to testimony given at the inquest, the man swallowed spoonfuls of the caffeine — the equivalent of 70 cans of energy drink. He became ill within a matter of minutes.

“He was puking up blood and he was sweating really bad,” one friend testified. Others said he became incoherent and his speech was slurred.

While police have said there were no suspicious circumstances and the deceased was not acting illegally, the local coroner criticized both the availability and labeling of the powdered caffeine:

Caffeine is so freely available on the internet for £3.29 [$5.27] but it’s so lethal if taken in the wrong dose and here we see the consequence…

Who would take [one sixteenth of a teaspoon]? It’s such a small dosage, the warning is so small on the front of it.

If you’re sharing a bag, carrying it around and if you hadn’t seen the warning – it could be that anyone at the party could have taken it. It’s so dangerous to take something like this.

‘Strong caffeine products should be banned’ says grandmother of overdose victim [Nottingham Post]

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  1. obits3 says:

    I was just looking in this today:

    http://www.energyfiend.com/death-by-caffeine

    • PhelpsG says:

      That web site is great! I just discovered that the lethal dose of chocolate milk for me is 2048 glasses.

      • McRib wants to know if you've been saved by the Holy Clown says:

        I think you’d explode before 2048.

        • jefeloco says:

          Your comment made me think about my mom and her obsession with those liquor chocolates from Costco. My mom loves them but is afraid of getting drunk off of them; yet each piece has about a teaspoon of liquor that, according to the packaging, contains 4-7% alcohol. Using those numbers you would need to consume 48 chocolates to get about the same amount of alcohol that you get in a beer.

          Even a flyweight drinker would be sick from sugar and buzzed from all of that caffeine way before they got so much as tipsy from the alcohol.

      • vastrightwing says:

        Interesting 2^11 glasses.

    • Jonbo298 says:

      Surprisedthat Four Loko (sp?) isn’t on that list considering the publicity it has gotten recently.

    • Beaufoux says:

      And I was just running out of hemlock. Now I can switch to caffine for my assassinations

  2. Angus99 says:

    “Did someone call my name?”

    Charles Darwin

    • obits3 says:

      How many spoonfuls of caffeine does it take to get to the center of a UK hospital?
      1, 2, 3 . . . x_x

    • Bativac says:

      May his invisible hand continue to guide us.

    • Mr_Human says:

      Always some blowhard brings that up as though he truly understands Darwin. But when the risk taker lives, it gets immortalized in their biography. I salute risk takers everywhere. They push us forward, even though sometimes the risks are stupid.

      • Angus99 says:

        Well, we’re lucky you’re here today, then – please enlighten us on the version of this scenario where this admirable 23 year old risk taker survives and apparently becomes a Lindbergh-like hero in your eyes? Unless, of course, this is just an example of the fact that there’s always some contrarian troll douchebag looking for attention?

        • Mr_Human says:

          I’ve been in these parts a lot longer than you, and have still managed to avoid using your language. And it’s trollish to call people you disagree with trolls.

          • jivesukka says:

            For the record, you didn’t answer his question.

            • Mr_Human says:

              This essay sums up my view on all this:

              But seriously, folks…
              What’s Wrong with the “Darwin Awards”?*

              by Molleen Matsumura

              One of my all-time favorite cartoons showed a man telling a woman, “Do you know feminists don’t have any sense of humor?” She replied, “No, but hum a few bars and I’ll fake it.” In breaking down barriers to full political and professional participation, feminists had to question a broad range of practices, including grammar, etiquette and humor. Sometimes, as this cartoon illustrates, they had to point out that if a joke was funny at all, the joke was on the teller.

              Could this be the case with the “Darwin Awards”? There are good arguments that folks reading the Awards should think twice (maybe even blush a little) after laughing, if not before; and definitely engage brain before clicking the forward button in their email programs.

              In case you’ve managed not to hear of the “Darwin Awards”, I’ll explain: they are not a prize for advances in evolutionary science. They are a brand of internet story: sometimes taken as truth and always as humor, they are short anecdotes about individuals who are recognized for doing the human species a favor by “removing themselves from the gene pool” through acts of extreme stupidity. An example is the tale of a man who, sleepily reaching for a ringing telephone, took a gun from his night-stand, put it to his ear and shot himself. These aren’t just any prize fools; they get the Darwin prize because their deaths supposedly demonstrate “evolution in action”. At odd times, people get these anecdotes in email, singly or in batches, and then forward them to friends. The “Darwin Awards” have spawned numerous “official” and unofficial websites, and speculations that they are among the most popular internet chain letters; at any rate, the first Award anthology spent five months on the New York Times best seller list. [i]

              If you already know about the “Darwin Awards”, odds are you’ve laughed at many of them. You’ve got enough company that you can afford to consider the possibility that sometimes, the joke is on the reader. First ask whether folks can get so busy laughing they forget to exercise due skepticism. The answer is often “yes”. It’s scientifically proven – or anyway, it’s been proven by a scientist. New Mexican scientist Mark Boslough got a list of Awards in his email one day in 1999, and decided to see what would happen if he made up “the most outrageous and twisted death-by-stupidity tale [he] could imagine”, added it to the end of the list, and sent it to a few friends. He even made sure the story’s characters had names like Baker, Burns, and Cooke that matched the story-line a little too well. The result? Within eight months, the tale was printed in a column in the Denver Post! (After hearing from Boslough, the columnist printed a retraction; you can read all about it, and savor Boslough’s puns, at the website of New Mexicans for Science and Reason.)

              Now, some people have questioned some of the stories. Debunkings appear on urban legend websites and in the pages of Award anthologies. Still, many of these tales are swallowed whole, and there’s a certain tasty irony at the thought of people laughing at somebody else’s “stupidity” just when they’ve taken the bait of an internet legend.

              So far, sounds fairly harmless. After all, laughing at yourself can be one of the less painful ways of learning not to believe everything you read. But after the first blush, a more serious question needs to be asked. What do the “Darwin Awards” mean in a society where public understanding of evolution is poor, and evolution education is continuously under attack? I should explain first that I am passionate concerning this issue. For over seven years my profession was defending the teaching of evolution in public schools. I lost count of how many times the “Darwin Awards” were emailed to me during those years; my reaction was always, “This doesn’t help!” Here’s why.

              The “Darwin Awards” are thriving in a climate of ignorance. In the U.S., limited public understanding of science has been documented in the National Science Board’s (NSB) biennial Science and Engineering Indicators[ii]. (This is not to say that there are not problems with scientific literacy elsewhere – as one example below will show – but I am emphasizing evolution understanding in the U.S.)

              In its 2002 survey, the NSB found, as in earlier years, that, “Most Americans do not know a lot about [science and technology]…,” and, “A majority of Americans (about 70 percent) lack a clear understanding of the scientific process….”[iii] Where evolution is concerned, the NSB reports that, “For the first time, a majority (53 percent) of NSF survey respondents answered ‘true’ to the statement ‘human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,’ bringing the United States more in line with other industrialized countries in response to this question.” That’s a slim majority, and worse, when the survey group was asked whether “The earliest humans lived at the same time as the dinosaurs”, only 48% answered correctly (down from 51% in the last survey). These findings are consistent with repeated Gallup poll findings that nearly half [iv] of Americans agree that “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so,” and it is likely that a large portion of these answers are due to scientific illiteracy, not religious belief.[v] Also, the NSB noted, “On a 10-question ‘pop quiz’ on biotechnology, most Americans, Europeans, and Canadians gave the incorrect answer (true) to the statement “ordinary tomatoes do not contain genes, while genetically modified tomatoes do.”

              The survey also found that Americans get most of their information on recent developments in science and technology by watching television, but when they want answers to specific science questions, most people turn to the Internet. Then what do they find? To check this, I visited seven major search engines – such as Yahoo and Google – and searched on the word “Darwin”. In every case, references to the “Darwin Awards” appeared on the first page of links[vi], and on six pages, the top of the screen displayed “meta-links” to sets of links for common topics, including numerous sites about the “Darwin Awards”. Searching on “evolution” was better, yielding links to sources of accurate and engaging information about evolution; unfortunately, the first page of links for either search also yielded links to creationist sites (where evolution is frequently described as Darwinism). Add to these results the likelihood that more people get emails about the “Darwin Awards” than about, say, major fossil discoveries, and the picture that emerges is one in which a common source of “information” about Darwin and evolution is the misinformation people get from the “Darwin Awards”.

              The premises of the “Darwin Awards” match existing misconceptions about evolution. By “premise”, I mean the joke’s assumptions about reality. Any joke has them, even when the humor depends on stretching them. For example, when a cartoon character steps off a cliff, they may fall and smash into sharp edged bits, fall and bounce like a rubber ball, or flap their arms a bit before falling, but in every case the (true) premise is that people who step off cliffs fall. The joke would fall flat for a viewer who was ignorant of gravity.

              There isn’t room to discuss all the misconceptions; I’ll mention two. The most obvious is that Awardees’ genes are removed from the gene pool. Awardees are always adults, who have had plenty of time to reproduce plenty of times. Natural selection depends on people lasting long enough to reproduce. It is just this kind of detail that makes it hard to teach and learn about evolution.

              The most serious problem is the premise that, “These people deserve to die.” I’ll admit the most tempting tales are the ones about would-be murderers caught in their own traps. But many (more?) stories are about people who are just trying to have a good time, or to survive. The “Darwin Awards” promote the idea that “evolution in action” means nothing more than weeding out the “unfit”, coupled with over-simplified notions of fitness. They reinforce the perception creationists strenuously cultivate: that evolution is a doctrine of cruelty, and the foundation of racism.[vii] A public that isn’t well educated about evolution is susceptible to such claims: Witness the legislation introduced in Louisiana in 2001, which would have curtailed the teaching of evolution on grounds that “… the core concepts of Darwinist ideology [are] that certain races and classes of humans are inherently superior to others….”[viii]

              A related problem is that scientists working to defend evolution are frequently accused of “arrogance”. One reason is that they are seen through the lens of popular ideas about evolution. There is a “Darwin Award” anecdote that I believe merits the charge of arrogance; it isn’t a far-fetched tale of elaborate machinations gone wrong, but a story of misfortune that actually was reported in newspapers. It is the story of an Egyptian farmer who climbed into a well to retrieve a chicken that had fallen in; he, and those who attempted to save him, were drowned by an unsuspected underground stream. As I write this, in August 2002, some coal miners who survived drilling into a water-filled shaft, and those who worked to save them, are being hailed as heroes. This isn’t the first such mining accident, and when miners drown it’s called a tragedy. Both the farmer and the miners took miscalculated risks while trying to make a living. The farmer is judged “stupid” because we forget that to a subsistence farmer, a chicken can be a serious economic loss. This comparison reminds us that it is easy to misjudge what is “stupid” or ignorant, rash or heroic.

              Scientists from Stephen Jay Gould to Joseph Graves[ix] have worked hard to dissociate evolutionary theory from misconceptions about “genetic superiority”. Such work is vital to breaking down resistance to evolution education, which in turn is crucial to good public understanding of science. The premise of the “Darwin Awards” undermines that work.

              Many jokes stop being funny precisely when people take them seriously. Possibly the humor of the “Darwin Awards” would be more innocent, and even funnier, in a world in which evolution is better understood. As it is, I urge people who really honor Darwin’s rich legacy to pass along other facts and fantasies. Samples of silly creationist pseudoscience might be a good choice!

              **For my article on the value of Darwin Day, click here.

              *©2002. Originally published in Darwin Day Collection One: The Single Best Idea Ever by Amanda Chesworth (Editor), published by the Darwin Day Celebration . Slightly adapted for web publication. For permission to reprint, contact the publishers.

              [i] Comments in this article are not directed to the “Darwin Awards” anthologies, though I do refer to them. I realize that, to her credit, the author attempts some serious education in the books and an associated website, but I haven’t read them thoroughly and am not reviewing them. I’m discussing the role of the Awards in daily life, as people forward them in email, discuss them with friends, and so forth.

              [ii] National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, Science and Engineering Indicators–2002;Arlington,VA(NSB 02-01) [April 2002] Fifteen such surveys have been issued to date. They study many aspects of science and technology, such as workforce, education, and research funding; here I draw on the chapter surveying public attitudes and knowledge concerning science. Internet Links to Science and Engineering Indicators (SEI) published from 1993-2002 are at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind/start.htm . A CD ROM containing .pdf files of SEI 2002 can be requested online at http://www.nsf.gov/sbe/srs/seind02/cdseind.htm, or by email to paperpubs@nsf.gov . Emails should request by both publication number NSB 02-01C and title Science and Engineering Indicators–2002 [As of March 2006, the most recent edition is at http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind06/ ]

              [iii] The number who could explain in their own words what a molecule is had climbed to 22% — yet strangely, 45% could give an acceptable explanation of DNA, which after all is a molecule. Answers to single survey questions are of limited value, but the entire set of questions and other discussion in the report support these conclusions.

              [iv] An average of 45.5% over four polls

              [v] Matsumura, Molleen, “Is It Fair to Teach Evolution?” Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 19(3): 19-21

              [vi] In January, 2006, I made a similar check. On Google, “Darwin Awards” was the first listing! On AltaVista, Ask Jeeves and Yahoo, the Awards were on the first page of listings. “Wikipedia” was a welcome relief, listing articles in several categories including “people” and “places”, with the Awards listed among “other uses” of the term.

              [vii] For example, the Institute for Creation Research’s Impact series of pamphlets includes titles like The Ascent Of Racism (online at http://www.icr.org/pubs/imp/imp-164.htm) and “Evolution and Modern Racism” (http://www.answersingenesis.org/home/area/faq/racism.asp). The Answers In Genesis website lists 15 articles linking evolution and racism, plus cross-references (http://www.answersingenesis

              [viii] [Anonymous]. Updates. Reports of the National Center for Science Education 2000 Sep/Oct; 20 (5): pp. 9-10.

              [ix] Graves, Joseph L., Jr. The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millenium (New Jersey, Rutgers University Press: 2001); Gould, Stephen Jay, The Mismeasure of Man (W J Norton, 1996). The expanded 1996 edition includes a critique of The Bell Curve.

          • Angus99 says:

            I see, but “blowhard” is different? How about you take your own advice. Feel free to disagree with me, but don’t get butt hurt when your insults are returned.

      • Billy says:

        If this guy actually lived, he’d still be labeled an idiot in his biography. A lucky idiot, but an idiot.

      • Spider Jerusalem says:

        Does no one understand Darwin like you understand Darwin? Are you two -involved-?

        Please, they’re CALLED the Darwin Awards. Its trademarked. The fact that it’s not an entirely appropriate application is now moot, in the same way that “bourgie” — short for bourgeoisie — now means “upper class” instead of “middle class” like it used to.

        And frankly, Darwin Awards were my first reaction, too. He had no right to ingest that much powdered caffeine and not expect his stomach or his heart to rebel. Him not breeding anymore is probably best for society.

        • mythago says:

          It’s not moot, in the sense that an awful lot of people (on the Internet! imagine!) don’t understand the distinction between “the Darwin awards” and “the actual mechanisms of natural selection/”

    • layton59 says:

      Well at least the dead guy didn’t go CAR SURFING after he spooned up all that caffeine. Now that would have been crazy. col (chuckle out loud)

  3. rpm773 says:

    A 23-year-old man in the UK has passed away after he reportedly ingested “spoonfuls” of powdered caffeine at a party.

    Hey, when you’re at a lame party and you can’t leave, sometimes you have to work with what you have.

  4. Platypi {Redacted} says:

    This is sad. Guy is showing off for his friends and the ladies, and doesn’t realize the concentration of the dose. Instead of having his stomach pumped or puking all night, he is dead. Yes, sometimes those dumb, attention-getting stunts will kill you.

    • obits3 says:

      (Daffy has blown himself up for a grand finale; the audience cheers)
      Bugs Bunny: That’s terrific, Daffy! They loved it. They want more.
      Daffy Duck: (as a ghost rising to heaven)
      I know, I know, but I can only do it once.
      -From Wikiquote

    • d0x360 says:

      I dont think they could have saved him. Caffeine is small enough (like alcohol) to move through the lining of your stomach directly into your blood stream. They would have had to start pumping within a couple min of his first teaspoon

      • edman007 says:

        Thats not really the issue, it is that it is far more concentrated than they think. There are very few drugs that can be bought that concentrated so easily, a full cup of ethanol isn’t really that lethal (equal to about 10 drinks) and that is as concetrated as it gets. Other drugs (perscription stuff) is sold in slow release tablets that take quite a while to fully disolve and thus are not that strong even when you take a whole lot (you don’t get hit with a full done in 15 minutes if you take a whole bottle of most pills), other drugs that have a similar concentration and similar dose lethal sizes are herion and cocaine, caffeine is really just as deadly in the powered form, and no sane person eats spoonfulls of those drugs.

        • Platypi {Redacted} says:

          Yeah, my point. If he had been showing off with alcohol, he would have been puking/pumping. This hits SO FAST and is so concentrated.

  5. Firethorn says:

    He should have swallowed Plutonium instead.

  6. crashfrog says:

    And thus we see that there’s no difference between a “harmless” and a “harmful” drug; any substance can be harmfully abused without implicating all other reasonable users in the abuse. (You know, unless you drug crusaders are going to push for banning coffeehouses and soda.)

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      The dose makes the poison.

    • OSAM says:

      WATER is deadly if ingested in large enough quantities.

      • Julia789 says:

        Yes water intoxication is an interesting thing. Infants (who should never be given water – only breast milk or formula) often get water intoxication and it can be deadly, when parents give them a bottle of water on a hot day thinking it is good for them.

        But as far as the famous saying “poison is in the dose” it’s funny, because I heard some California group pushing for legalization of pot, say it was *impossible* to die of an overdose on pot. I find “impossible” hard to believe, maybe difficult? I think people can overdose on just about anything, given the right quantities and conditions (water being a good example.) I would like more info on the above, if anyone has it. (As for legalization, I don’t want to get into a debate on that. I simply have a question on the logistics of overdose.)

        • ajaxd says:

          It would be very, very difficult to die of caffeine poisoning by drinking coffee. You would feel sick from too much water well before you ingest enough caffeine. Probably same with pot. If you smoke it you would be totally stoned well before getting life-threatening levels of the drug. If you manage to get it in some concentrated powder form, then well, all bets are off.

          • Julia789 says:

            Hmmmm that makes sense. Thanks for putting it into perspective.

            I think the group should change their statement from “impossible” though, to “highly unlikely” or “almost impossible with average use.” I know it’s silly, but if someone is going to make a medical claim, it should be worded carefully.

            It’s probably almost impossible to overdose on water, too – except under extreme circumstances. For example, a marathon runner who drinks water instead of sports drinks, or the infant given water instead of formula on a hot day, or that contest where the lady drank gallons of water to win a prize and died. It’s rare, but it happens.

            I would get it’s possible to overdose on pot given extreme circumstances. I don’t know what the heck they would be, but I’m sure it’s *possible*. Maybe if a toddler consumed a large amount of brownies or something… Or as you said, if it was somehow concentrated perhaps in pharmaceutical form or powdered and placed in capsules. I’m sure now that it’s legally medicinal, sellers are playing with different delivery methods for people who don’t like to smoke or eat it in brownies. A powdered capsule or liquid extract would appeal to those who prefer it have a more medicinal feel.

        • crashfrog says:

          I heard some California group pushing for legalization of pot, say it was *impossible* to die of an overdose on pot. I find “impossible” hard to believe, maybe difficult?

          They say that because the ratio of lethal dose to effective dose – a means of judging the ease of overdose of a given drug, the idea being that if the overdose is in the neighborhood of the dose you need to get high, it’s easier to overdose by mistake – for marijuana is so high, you would have to smoke three-quarters of a ton of pot in about fifteen minutes to approach the lethal dose for THC.

          Is that impossible? It’s impractical to say the least. Obviously you could purify THC and overdose on a solution of that, somehow, but that’s not how pot is usually consumed. Nothing’s impossible, I guess, but it is true that there is not even a single case – anywhere in the world – where someone is known to have died as a result of an overdose of pot.

        • Right On says:

          “I find “impossible” hard to believe, maybe difficult?”

          Well at least you did no research before making your decision! I love informed voters. “Cannabis is illegal now, so it must be a bad bad drug!”

          • Julia789 says:

            No need to be nasty. I simply asked a question, stated my guess, and asked what others knew.

            And I don’t like how you assume I think it is a bad drug. I gave no opinion on its legality or my personal life choices.

            I was asking simply about overdose potential, because I was curious. I don’t like how you blast me for not “doing research” I simply asked a question. I am not judging anyone.

        • dg says:

          The LD50 for pot is so large that you can’t consume it. And trying to reach it, you simply fall asleep well before it ever happens. NO ONE has ever died from pot.

          You do realize that W is addictive, you must have it EVERY DAY, Several Times A Day, If you drink too much – you die, if you don’t drink enough you get loopy, you can’t breathe W and if you try – you die. W = Water. Countless persons each year drown, or die from water intoxication. Yet, we don’t ban water.

          No one dies from Pot, and we ban Pot…. huh?!

    • mythago says:

      You know, it is possible to advocate for sane drug laws without descending into silliness.

      Clearly, cyanide isn’t a harmful drug because if you take enough of it, it will kill you, just like water!

    • zoing66 says:

      and your point? To perhaps suggest lifting the ban on every thing because anything can be harmless in a small enough qauntity… And anything can be harmful if enough is taken. They only point to drugs that are likely going to cause people problems. There’s a reason….

  7. Liam Kinkaid says:

    “Who would take [one sixteenth of a teaspoon]? It’s such a small dosage, the warning is so small on the front of it.”

    Well, there are a lot of cokeheads that don’t take more than 1/16 of a teaspoon of the stuff, and it doesn’t even have a warning on it. Are you saying you have less sense than most cokeheads out there?

    Oh, and you’re not really hardcore until you drink 100 cups of coffee, then watch as time comes to a standstill and you rescue all of your friends from a burning museum.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    There are so many things that went wrong, it’s insane. He swallowed spoonfuls of powdered caffeine and washed it down with an energy drink. I mean, that really seems to be an obviously bad idea, but some people might not think twice.

    • qwickone says:

      I’m guessing there was no thinking at all…

    • ludwigk says:

      People don’t understand the concept of a “harmless” compound like caffeine having an LD50 around 20 grams, and that even one gram – roughly the weight of a small paperclip – is about 15 energy drinks, or 10 cups of coffee with none of the liquid. Your body will hate even that.

  9. Number Five Is Alive says:

    Caffeine is a useful substance but I notice if I take it I start to feel angry and depressed for some reason. You need to be a true busy body to use that energy, otherwise it just stagnates.

  10. Blueskylaw says:

    PREVIOUS DARWIN AWARD WINNERS:

    Eighth Place: In Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate while trying to retrieve his car keys.

    Seventh Place: A 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker — who often bragged he was “totally-zoned when he ran” — accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on his daily workout.

    Sixth Place: While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8-foot hole for protection from the wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom when it collapsed, burying him beneath 5 feet of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue workers using heavy equipment almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    Fifth Place: Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop he was burglarizing. Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his skull as he hit the floor.

    Fourth Place: Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four cartridges into his mouth and pull the trigger.

    Third Place: After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man walked into H & J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of customers and a uniformed officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up, and fired a few wild shots from a target pistol. The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also drew their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Crime scene investigators located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified rounds from seven different weapons. No one else was hurt.

    HONORABLE MENTION: Paul Stiller, 47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out the window to create some excitement. Apparently they failed to notice the window was closed.

    RUNNER UP: Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of lineman’s cable lay nearby. They secured one end around Bingham’s leg and tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. Bingham’s foot was never located.

    AND THE WINNER IS…
    Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt (Paderborn , Germany) fed his constipated elephant 22 doses of a animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes, before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief.

    • jesirose says:

      How did the last guy die as a result of feeding the elephant laxatives?

      • Liam Kinkaid says:

        What goes in must come out. Unfortunately, the guy was near the wrong end when everything came out. If I had to guess, I’d say suffocation would be the official cause of death.

      • Hungry Dog says:

        He was buried alive if you want to guess.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        In order to help mitigate the elephant’s constipation, Friedrich fed Stephan over 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes to try to break the elephants bowels. Unfortunately for Friedrich, the elephant let loose while Friedrich was standing directly behind him as he was trying to administer an olive oil enema. The force of the sudden load of shit that came from the elephants ass came without warning, pinning Friedrich violently to the ground, slamming his head against the concrete with such force that he was instantly knocked unconscious and consequently Friedrich the zookeeper suffocated beneath 200 pounds of elephant shit!

        Just to give you something that you can compare this too, 200 pounds of shit is the equivalent of a dump truck full of mud. Even after he was completely buried the elephant apparently continued to relieve himself.

        Poor Friedrich was under all that shit for an hour before someone whoâs attention was caught by this ungodly pile of feces got close enough to see what was Friedrichâs uncovered foot.

      • Disappointed says:

        According to Snopes, that one is untrue. It originally came from a “Weekly World News” “article”.

    • Muddie says:
    • dolemite says:

      Those are good stories, but unfortunately, most are false…

      http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/darwin06.asp

    • nybiker says:

      With regards to the 4th place winner, I just watched the movie “13 Tzameti” last night and that guy should have tried to be a part of the event portrayed in the movie. At least then he would have had a chance for winning some big money.
      Oh, FYI: the movie is in French with English subtitles.

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      +1! I like how these are all fake and people still want to believe. #1 basically says “these are all a big pile of crap”. Come on people.

    • webweazel says:

      The “third place” one, H & J Leather & Firearms, is my all time favorite. The story is true, although highly embellished here:
      http://www.snopes.com/crime/dumdum/gunshop.asp
      The best part is still this:
      He DID have to walk right by a marked cruiser by the front door. That really cinches it for me to be the best of all. Darwin at its finest!

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      Honorable Mention made me giggle. It sounds like something out of Looney Tunes!

    • zoing66 says:

      Basically you are making fun of the guy who died, because you feel you are far superior to that person and think you are 100% incapable of a fatal mistake in your life time. You’re probably pretty smart, but one poor choice could lead you to your grave, and then some loser, on their comfy chair will read the news and post “Darwin awards” because they can’t face the reality that they too are not immortal, nor perfect. OF course course it’s easy to claim you will never make a mistake like that because you are still alive…. Maybe the guy who died was not that stupid, yet made one stupid mistake. Who knows…

  11. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    WAIT! They sell it powdered?! Why has no one told me of this? And I was paying for extra caffeinated coffee? Bastards.

  12. momtimestwo says:

    Why do some people make really stupid decisions, but others don’t?

  13. sirwired says:

    Selling it powdered is stupid. Small dissolving tablets would be a much better idea. You’d have to be extra-extra stupid to swallow a fistful of caffine pills, as it’s much easier to regulate your dose than just using loose powder, which I suppose if you were drunk you might think it could be used like sugar or Equal (in similar volumes.)

    There is a reason that drugs usually aren’t sold as loose poweder… (except overpriced “headache powders” which cancel this out by coming in single-use packets.)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      If you dropped a handful of them into an energy drink, it might have the same effect.

    • Veeber says:

      The powdered version is useful in smoothies. After my local Smoothie King closed I started making them at home with the powdered caffeine.

    • SabreDC says:

      Powdered caffeine is handy if you are making homemade soft drinks (like OpenCola). We don’t need to limit every substance just because some idiot uses it incorrectly. Water intoxication occurs after drinking around 2 liters per hour. Should CVS scan your driver’s license to ensure you don’t buy more than 2 liters of bottled water per hour?

      • sirwired says:

        Slightly effervescent tablets (like those used in saccrine tablets) readily dissolve in even cold beverages with just a little stir after they sit for about 10 seconds. This is hardly a burden.

        • ludwigk says:

          I disagree. Tabletized caffeine costs HUNDREDS of times as much as a bottle of lab-grade caffeine. That figure is NOT an exaggeration.

          • sirwired says:

            And there is no reason for this to be the case other than the fact there are few suppliers of tabletized caffine. The process of making tablets is highly mechanized and quite trivial. (It involves a rotating platter, some simple dies, a feed screw, fixed cams, and a few springs. We’re talking a sophmore-level MechEngr project here…) I’d be completely shocked if it was not possible to sell it for a penny per tablet.

    • TooManyHobbies says:

      I assume that it’s sold powdered to food manufacturers. Coca Cola doesn’t want to buy little pills, they want barrels of powder.

      Just because some idiots have gotten hold of bulk food additives and decided it’d be a good idea to use them recklessly doesn’t mean that they should now be provided in a form totally inappropriate to the original buyer.

      • sirwired says:

        I meant selling it powdered to consumers… of course food processors would use the bulk ingredient.

  14. blinky says:

    And who takes drugs without reading the label?

  15. aloria says:

    I work in infosec/IT, and there’s definitely a sort of a macho “how much caffeine can I take” culture in the nerdier circles. Just look at the caffeine section of ThinkGeek– do people really need caffeinated soap and lip balm, for Pete’s sake? It’s like frat boys and tequila shots, only people rarely get accused of having a substance abuse problem when they opt to binge on caffeine.

  16. Bativac says:

    In college, I used to take a couple of Vivarin along with a cup of coffee to keep me working thru the night on design projects. They always turned out terrible and I would be cranky, irritable and unfocused the next day. Plus I’d have palpitations. This is how I learned too much caffeine equals bad.

    It’s a shame this guy learned the same lesson with much worse consequences than a C on a sculpture project.

    • zoing66 says:

      You rarely if ever get anything for free. I used to have the same problem with cafeine. Taking 2 or 3 cups doesn’t make it better. At least not for me. It can only help a little. If you are sleepy, you need rest. The end.

  17. dolemite says:

    Here we go with nanny state. There are numerous things I could ingest on purpose or by accident that would result in the same. What if I took a bottle of OTC sleeping pills? Drano? What if I drank 10 gallons of water over a period of hours? What if I ate 3 spoonfulls of pure Capsaicin and died from allergic reaction?

    You can’t legislate stupidity.

  18. daemonaquila says:

    “‘Strong caffeine products should be banned, says grandmother of overdose victim”

    No, no, no! People need to use their bloody brains. You can overdose on ANY drug, and many people do either because they intend to, play stupid tricks, or refuse to read the label and exercise reason. Fine. Let Darwin sort them out. The rest of us don’t need to do without those substances because some people are morons.

    • hypnotik_jello says:

      Well except cannabis…

      • shepd says:

        29 mg/Kg is all it takes. Assuming you have a syringe. And some way to extract the THC. And are still dumb enough to do it.

    • OSAM says:

      Exactly. I shouldnt have to jump through hoops because her grandson is a moron.

    • zoing66 says:

      Sounds like the words of someone who’s just trying to defend a substance they might want to abuse. But you don’t seem to get it which is why you’d likely die with something like this. Caffeine is EASY to get, and you can always find ways to get strong doses of it. The difference here is that his was pure crystaline caffeine. You have ZERO clue just how strong that is. In fact that’s why he died. He also didn’t have a clue. That’s why that particular form should be BANNED! Instead they should only sell lower doses in pill form. That way, it’s harder to make a mistake and die. But at the same time, idiots every where can still concentrate it if they are dumb enough to do so. 1/16th of a tea spoon is too hard to control and a lot of people will think it’s not really that much and take more, like a 1/2 teaspoon or more. Think a little deeper…

  19. Macgyver says:

    When something bad happens, some people want to automatically blame the companies that make the stuff. But no one want to blame the dumb ass kid. It’s his fault, not anyone else.

    • dg says:

      Exactly, the kid’s a moron. I’m not happy he’s dead now, but I am happy that it happened in a crowd of people – all of whom will think twice about screwing with insane doses of caffeine.

      On the lighter side, if he’d done this with weed – he’d be sleeping.

  20. jefeloco says:

    Holy crap!

    I don’t want nearly enough to kill me but my sleep-addled brain wants caffeine powder now.

  21. Buddha says:

    Natural Selection at it’s finest!

  22. Xin says:

    Darwin meet Michael
    .
    .
    .
    Michael meet Darwin.

  23. mindaika says:

    Natural selection attacks! Natural selection wins!

  24. leprechaunshawn says:

    Thinning the herd is not a bad thing.

  25. Slave For Turtles says:

    That’s got to be a particularly awful way to die. I guess it’s a mistake you can only make once.

  26. guymandude says:

    Maybe I missed it somewhere but I’m surprised with the talk of Plutonium and caffeine that no one has mentioned that caffeine is good for radiation poisoning.
    http://www.cell.com/biophysj/abstract/S0006-3495%2874%2970002-9

  27. XxSuntoucherxX says:

    Wait…. You can actually buy straight caffeine? Why am I just now finding out about this?

  28. tbax929 says:

    One less person in the gene pool – no sympathy from me.

  29. TheSDBrat says:

    Yup…still no cure for stupid

  30. quijote says:

    With stories like this, you can always count on a bunch of people with the mentality of 15 year olds invoking Darwin and natural selection, as if just because he made a stupid mistake he deserved to die.

    • guymandude says:

      You mean like stepping out into oncoming traffic b/c you’re totally self absorbed in your cell phone? Yeah… that never happens and no.. they certainly don’t deserve to die or be critically injured b/c they can’t take the aphorism of “look both ways” to heart. Your parents teach you that for a reason. Your implication that small mistakes can’t or at the very least shouldn’t be deadly is empirically incorrect.

  31. AntiNorm says:

    Were his last words something along the lines of “I need TP for my bunghole”?

  32. duncanblackthorne says:

    Caffeine is not a food, it is an alkaloid stimulant drug, and as such should be respected like any other drug.

  33. Darwin says:

    Natural selection working as intended…

  34. Pandrogas says:

    Every time someone (friend or random person) makes a comment like “all life is sacred”, I usually disagree and send them off to read stories like this one. They would try to argue after that, if they weren’t laughing so hard.

    See also: People who “eye-drink” vodka.

  35. Chairman-Meow says:

    Ahhh Darwin, you never disappoint.

  36. maddypilar says:

    This seems perfect for the Spike show “1,000 ways to die”

  37. DragonThermo says:

    I know it’s tragic, but still, I find it difficult to not laugh at the stupidity. Definitely a Darwin Award winner.

  38. LordTwinkie says:

    I once drank the caffeinated equivalent of 80 cups of regular coffee. I double brewed and drank an entire pot of super strength coffee. yea… that was bad very very bad ended up in the hospital.

  39. zoing66 says:

    “says to not ingest more than 1/16 of a teaspoon” – What a Disaster waiting to happen! And to think I was going to order some of this a year ago. Being a very careful person, I decided not to get it because I didn’t want to bother measuring it so accurately since I would have done it right. I didn’t want to fool with a special scale or guess at what it would do. So I can’t even fathom how the makers expect just any one to be so careful. 1/16th of a teaspoon is VERY hard to guess at with your eye. And what happens if you get 2 or 3 sixteenths? You get sick? And more you die.

    I remember once getting this super concentrated sweetner (splenda?) from a friends cabinet, but didn’t know it was. It tasted horrible because I used too much concentrate. So I can see that any one could make a mistake with this. Accidents happen. Probably this guy knew he was being a bit reckless and taking extra, but had no clue how bad it would ultimately be. And it’s loose powder which is even more difficult measure too. This should wake up the sellers that it’s a poor idea to sell this powder, but they probably don’t even care that much…

  40. ginnel says:

    I don’t know how he swallowed spoonfuls of that stuff. It’s nasty tasting.