January 29, 2016

Tennessee Poison Center warns about dangers of ‘dewshine’

A lethal concoction of racing fuel and Mountain Dew claimed the lives of two Tennessee teens and has sparked the Tennessee Poison Center (TPC) to warn about the lethality of what has been called “Dewshine.”

The Tennessee Poison Center, housed at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was involved in the care of four Robertson County teenagers who drank the toxic combination, introducing the first known cases in the state. Two of the teens were treated at local emergency departments, but two died from ingesting the poisonous substance.

Dewshine, a play on the word moonshine, is being consumed to achieve inebriation, but contains racing fuel which can lead to blindness and death, said Donna Seger, M.D., medical director of the Tennessee Poison Center and clinical professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“Racing fuel, used for drag racing, is almost 100 percent Methanol,” Seger said. “This affects the body at a cellular level and causes the cells to die.”

Drinking this mixture can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, seizures, depression of the central nervous system, coma and even death depending on how much methanol is consumed and metabolized. Methanol also metabolizes in the retina and can lead to permanent blindness.

Seger said it’s been difficult to determine the number of cases in Tennessee, but the Poison Center is educating thousands of health care providers and the community about the serious results of consuming Dewshine.

“These deaths are so unfortunate, because I’m sure these people did not understand the lethality of this combination. This is so toxic. Drinking methanol is a recipe for disaster.”

Tennessee Poison Center is a member of the Tennessee State Department of Health Commissioner’s Council on Injury Prevention, a group of organizations throughout the state who collaborate to reduce injury deaths in Tennessee.

If you suspect a poisoning, call Tennessee Poison Center for treatment advice. The Poison Help toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. All calls are fast, free and confidential.