Dewshine: The Stupid New Teen Drug Panic

Drinking Mountain Dew and racing fuel is a bad idea. It's also very, very rare.


Credit:Mountain Dew

Two teenagers in a single county in Tennessee have died and—while the autopsy results are not yet in—their deaths may have been caused by drinking a combination of racing fuel and Mountain Dew.

These are the first such cases reported in the state, and state health officials say that they are not aware of any cases outside the state

Naturally, it's time for everybody to panic!

Valley News Live reports:

Racing fuel, used for drag racing, can be easily purchased online and at some convenience stores.

"A lot of people refer to it as 'moonshine on steroids.' A lot of people call it 'Dewshine,'" Greenbrier Police Chief K.D. Smith told NBC News of the Mountain Dew and racing fuel mixture.

Fox News is covering the story of "two teenage friends are dead after drinking a lethal concoction of racing fuel and Mt. Dew" as part of the national cable news rotation.

The clickbait site Heavy hustled out "Dewshine: Five Fast Facts You Need to Know" to tell readers what they need to know about "this deadly drink."

Credit: PepBoys

Plus much, much more media frenzy.

Drinkers have long made the connection between ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, (which gets you drunk) and methanol (which powers automobiles and can kill you), though it is typically bootleggers who wind up adulterating moonshine with the substance.

In 2012, there were a spate of deaths in the Czech that were attributed to methanol consumption, as well as deaths from India to Cambodia in recent years. During Prohibition, many Americans died looking for substitutes to banned alcoholic beverages elsewhere in the same chemical family—or through concerted federal efforts to taint forbidden beverages. The initial effects of methanol are similar to ethanol, but too much methanol quickly results in seizures, blindness, and death.

The fact that methanol poisoning is nothing new and also that there is no evidence that this particular combination is popular or in widespread use hasn't stopped the scare story cycle, and it likely won't stop politicians and regulators looking to score points with new safety measures if the story has some staying power.

Credit: Mountain Dew

PepsiCo already took some flack last year for releasing a pseudo-artisanal non-alcoholic beverage of the same name in longneck bottles. At the very least, expect this perfectly safe form of Dewshine to come up in the discussion as law enforcement and politicians scramble to "do something." (Or is that "dew something?")

The family of one of the dead teens, 16-year-old Logan Stephenson, is talking about an awareness campaign with their son's school, which is actually a rather sensible response in this particular county where the problem appears to be completely contained.

The Stephenson family is collecting funds in Logan's memory.

"The family will be meeting with the school to discuss how to disburse these funds," the obituary reads. "Their desire is that it will be used to educate children of the many dangers which they face which parents are not aware of and therefore not able to warn them."

Some local law enforcement is also being very reasonable, with the Robertson County Sheriff's office releasing a statement saying:

The investigation continues into factors surrounding the deaths of these two boys, and the sheriff's office is awaiting toxicology results. There are many rumors floating around social media websites by members of the community. The sheriff's office asks that everyone please refrain from posting or spreading these rumors.

Good advice for journalists as well.

For another one of Reason's greatest drug panic hits, don't forget "beezin" where kids rub mentholated lip balm on their eyelids.

NEXT: Some Government-Sponsored Syrian Refugees in Canada Would Rather Go Back to Refugee Camps in Jordan and Lebanon

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. As a true hillbilly AND motor enthusiast, I completely endorse this activity. It pushes all my buttons, and I’m probably going to try it this afternoon. I’d have never heard of it if it wasn’t posted on here. Thanks, Reason!

    1. Dude, you MUST do a YouTube video.

      1. That looks like any random gathering of my family.

  2. I prefer my methanol with Jolt. Only rednecks drink the Dew.

  3. The system worked exactly as it should. Except for the 2 kids who survived.

  4. I love Mountain Dew, but I never mix business and pleasure.

    1. Wait…how do you know about Mt. Dew? You’re an effete urbanite, who lives in a huge city, on the Left Coast. That drink is for MY people, and I declare that your kind drinking it constitutes cultural appropriation! J’accuse!

      1. Like most Dew drinkers, you’re probably all bark and no bite, due to the lack of teeth.

      2. Effete? Has Pl?ya gotten snipped yet?

        1. I got an Xray last week without the lead shield, so I figure I’m halfway there.

        2. Effete in this context = people who live in large cities, and therefore are known to vote reliably democratic and cavort about with homos and progressives.

          1. The police here use the threat of speeding tickets to keep the darkies away.

            I bet you drink Mellow Yellow.

            1. That’s what I was thinking – I never knew too many rednecks that drank that hoity-toity Mt Dew unless’n they was on a trip to the big city. The local gas station stocks up the Mellow Yellow and RC Cola.

  5. Did they butt-chug it at a rainbow party?

    1. What the hell is a rainbow party? Is that a My Little Pony thing?

      1. Is that a My Little Pony thing?

        That line always works for me.

      2. Erm, no.

        rainbow party
        A type of party where several girls wear a different color of lipstick then each proceeds to give one or more guys a blow job. The multiple of colors left on each guy’s penis resembles a rainbow.
        Phil had 3 colors of the rainbow on his penis before ejaculating into Suzie’s mouth at the rainbow party. Pamela and Vicky waited for him to get hard again before completing the rainbow.

          1. “Over 9000 penises”?! They *are* “organized!

        1. I feel like I missed out now.

        2. Whew, I wouldn’t have understood the definition without that example.

      3. I noticed you’re all up on the butt-chugging, though…

  6. The family of one the dead teens, 16-year-old Logan Stephenson, is talking about an awareness campaign with their son’s school, which is actually a rather sensible response in this particular county where the problem appears to be completely contained.

    I don’t know, were I them I’d rather not see it spread about that I’m related.

  7. “Their desire is that it will be used to educate children of the many dangers which they face which parents are not aware of and therefore not able to warn them.”

    I think “don’t be a dumbass” probably covers most of it.

  8. “The family will be meeting with the school to discuss how to disburse these funds,” the obituary reads. “Their desire is that it will be used to educate children of the many dangers which they face which parents are not aware of and therefore not able to warn them.”

    You know, if as a teenager your child *doesn’t* know that drinking racing fuel is a bad idea, I’m not sure if anything can be done, for you or for them.

  9. As long as they haven’t bred I am A-OK with these teens drinking racing fuel and dying. I would like to NOT see “Idiocracy” become a “how to” guide….

    1. + “3 generations of imbeciles is enough.”

  10. Drink it? You mean you’re not supposed to shoot it up your ass?

    1. You are supposed to soak a tampon with it, and then gently insert it in your ass.

      1. Time stamp is the same! You didn’t beat me to it!

      2. You’re supposed to pour it in your shitty ’86 Chevy’s gas tank and pretend it makes it go faster.

      3. Which is why it’s so wrong that tampons are taxed.

  11. Nothing that gets idiots out of the gene pool can be entirely bad.

  12. Has anyone soaked a tampon in this mixture yet, and then inserted said tampon?

  13. Nice. There’s already a product called Dewshine, and now retarded communications majors are going to ruin it by confusing it with this (likely) fake panic.

    1. Likely fake? You think there is any chance that this is not fake?

  14. this stuff will actually kill you so I don’t think it’s a good idea to have the same people who claim weed will kill you raising awareness.

  15. though it is typically bootleggers who wind up adulterating moonshine with the substance.

    More likely the moonshiners don’t discard the head which contains the methanol, being that it boils at a lower temperature and condenses first, rather than someone adding it to the mix.

    1. Yes. It’s the government that is responsible for adulteration of ethanol. The only reason most solvent alcohol is poisonous is because of liquor laws/taxes.

      1. Funny how people say that without government profit seeking businesses would put poison in their products, but the only documented instances of products being intentionally poisoned that I can think of were all done by government.

    2. Thank you. I’m really tired of the whole “moonshine contains methanol” thing being spread not just by prohibitionists, but by people who should know better. It is trivially easy to make ethanol, and there’s no reason you should end up with any nontrivial amount of methanol in your product even if you’re being careless, so it’s not like you are likely to be poisoned just by drinking moonshine. Rather, historically it seems like methanol is more likely to come from a) unscrupulous individuals who are knowingly selling commercial methanol but just don’t give a damn, b) people trying to “scrub” denatured alcohol by redistilling it, and not doing a good job. We have the US government to thank for that last bit.

      1. I seem to recall reading that some moonshiners used car radiators as condensers, and that added all kinds of toxins to the product.

        1. My mom, who grew up in West Virginia, called that “black pot”, IIRC.

  16. Just think what would have happened had they added Pop Rocks.

  17. You know, when I was a kid we used to pinch a few jiggers of vodka from the cabinet and mix it up with cola.

    1. Racist!

    2. I may have picked a few recently sprayed with insecticide apples from a nearby orchard.

    3. mmmm vodka cola.

      (runs to bathroom to vomit uncontrollably for an hour)

    4. We used to take a little bit of everything and mix it all together. I can still imagine the flavor. Good times.

    5. My father had Crown Royal…watered down to get back to the correct fluid level. I occasionally smack myself for doing this to blessed whiskey(oh and for being a thief).

      1. Meh, it was Crown Royal. Stuff’s got about as much flavor as water to start with.

  18. Swap the Dew out for some Baja Blast and a Crunchwrap to go with the methanol. So good, so bad, then darkness…

  19. Mix that with some caffeine and you can have 8-cylinder Loco.

  20. You can make a cheap form of meth simply by boiling Mountain Dew until all that is left is the neon-green crystals.

  21. If ever there was a problem that would sort itself out, this would be it. Just exactly how many people out there are dumb enough and desperate enough to drink gasoline and soda? Not that many. And the ones who do are likely to not be around very long leaving a warning to anyone else who might be interested.

    1. They ARE likely to breed though. judging by their birth rates (LOOKIN’ AT YOU, PO WHITE TRASH!!!)

      1. And their kids will be doing this shit as well. You just have to have faith in natural selection keeping the gene pool strong.

        On a serious note, it always amazes me how social scientists and journalists automatically assume that every bad trend will continue forever. They can’t seem to grasp the idea that people can learn from the experiences of others and if an activity is really harmful people will eventually figure that out and stop doing it.

        1. Well, yeah. That’s because government shapes society. Society can’t do anything at all without government. Everything comes from government. Everything. Without government grants, there would be no research and no inventions. Without government roads, there would be no roads and no economy. Without government regulations, all food and drink would be poison. And of course without new government laws, kids will continue to mix gasoline with soda. Only government can make a difference. Without government there would be nothing. Nothing at all.

          1. People didn’t even know what a toilet was until the government showed them…

          2. Yep, before government building codes, every single structure collapsed and killed everyone inside. Or did buildings even exist before building codes?

    2. I was fortunate(?) enough to watch a teenager force feed another kid some gasoline back when I was ten or so. It was a sufficiently informative experience so that I never wanted to drink it myself.

      Arkansas is a hell of a state.

      1. Or, you could just huff it like a reservation Indian.

      2. The entire area. SW Missouri, Eastern Oklahoma, Northern Louisiana and East Texas are pretty scary too. There are nice people from these places of course. But my God are there some scary hillbillies out there.

    1. I blame these guys.

      Congress should sic Tipper Gore on them.

  22. Other things you shouldn’t drink that are sold at convenience stores: bleach, laundry detergent, gasoline, motor oil.

    1. Sounds like an evening news expose’.

    2. Also Red Bull because it taste terrible

  23. Couple of things…

    1. Ethanol can also be used to fuel your car.

    2. My grandfather told me that during prohibition, they’d use a loaf of bread to strain out the contaminants in ‘bathtub gin’. Otherwise that shit could make you blind and crazy. Do not know how that mechanism would work to remove the methanol from the ethanol, maybe it would bind to something in the bread?

    1. yeast? eats simplest sugars first?

    2. Russian soldiers did the same bread trick with crankcase cleaner.

  24. That poochie is one outrageous dude.

  25. Aside from the Mountain Dew and racing fuel, nothing of value was lost.

    No one I knew at that age would have done something so stupid. I remember thinking that that the 2 people I knew who huffed gas or fumes on a casual basis were at the edge of stupidity and they wouldn’t have done this.

    It’s worth pointing out that we all had decent access to alcohol, so no one would have sought out idiotic alternatives like racing fuel.

    1. That is a good point. We have criminalized parents giving alcohol to their kids. And thus criminalized parents teaching their kids responsible behavior with it.

      If parents were free to expose their kids to alcohol like they used to be, a lot less of this kind of crazy shit would go on.

  26. I’m making $86 an hour working from home. I was shocked when my neighbour told me she was averaging $95 but I see how it works now. I feel so much freedom now that I’m my own boss. This is what I do,


  27. More children getting drunk on hand sanitizer

    From last year.

    Back in the 80s it was kids shoplifting Listerine.

    1. “Back in the 80s it was kids shoplifting Listerine.”

      really? if you’re going to shoplift, why not shoplift beer?

      somehow i made it out of the 1980s having mostly consumed beer we’d actually paid for

      (*usually via bribe to the “buddy’s older brother who worked in the supermarket” who would throw 12 packs in the dumpster out back for easy retrieval. that, or the old, “Pay a guido” you stopped on the street outside the store. the latter, however, had a 1-in-3 chance of them just taking your money and beer)

      1. Dry counties, man.

        1. Oh, and they shoplifted it because they made a county ordinance that it couldn’t be sold to anyone under 18.

          Dry counties are perverse incentives machines.

  28. Can someone tell me why it is necessary to continually include reference to Mountain Dew? Their deaths were not caused by the combination. It was the methanol that killed them. Yes they used the Dew as a mixer, but it has NOTHING to do with their deaths.

    If someone dies due to a combination of Vicodin, Ambien and Xanax, it has nothing to do with the fact that they washed it down with Diet Coke.


      1. No, but Big Soda is paying me to say this!

        1. How much do they pay? Or are you actually the most sophisticated anonobot to post here?

          1. No. First rule of anonbot shill club is you do not talk about anonbot shill club.

    2. Don’t forget, to Progressives sugary drinks are their own evil to be battled. Just wait until Bloomberg finds out they used 64 oz cups from the local gas station to mix it in and he’ll ask for a ban.

  29. Kids are mixing racing fuel and Jenkem to get high. Send out a bulletin.

  30. Oh they call it that ole mountain dew and them that refuse it are few.
    I’ll shut up my mug if you fill up my jug with some good ole mountain dew.

  31. ‘The family of one of the dead teens, 16-year-old Logan Stephenson, is talking about an awareness campaign with their son’s school, which is actually a rather sensible response in this particular county where the problem appears to be completely contained.”

    How about a remedial chemistry class instead?

    1. Makes more sense. Methanol is deadly! I guess the left that out of the DARE program. I learned about it in history class, too, when we were taught that the bathtub gin brewed up methanol containing mixtures that killed people during Prohibition.

      1. You learned wrong. The federal government began deliberately poisoning beverages via the Industrial Alcohol Act in the depression of 1894, when the Karl Marx income tax became federal law. This was made even more deadly in the depression year 1907, and during national prohibition every methanol death and blindness was the deliberate work of the religious fanatics running the federal government and many schools. People drank Jamaica Ginger for a buzz and the tricresyl phosphate left them permanently crippled. Germany followed the American example and mass-poisoned millions of people, and their WWII nerve gas Sabun was patterned after tricresyl phosphate.


  33. Methanol is known as wood alcohol, known to be deadly poison! Why would anyone drink a known toxin? I guess the drag racers daddies did not tell them not to drink the methanol! But, I guess I learned about it in chemistry class in high school. The gear-heads were not taking chemistry at my high school.

    1. In fact, the same government that tells them that inhaling nitrous oxide leads to Demonic Possession, addiction and death also said something of the sort about the Demon Rum in general. You know the saying… “Fool me twice, shame on me!” Parents fail to teach children that politicians and their thugs, goons and czars are all lying murderers, and look what happens.

  34. Clearly there needs to be a law prohibiting the sale of racing fuel within 1000 feet of a convenience store.

    1. Don’t be silly. Clearly they need to outlaw Mt. Dew! Racing fuel’s too important. But maybe they could start a racing fuel registration process, too. And require racing fuel cans to have pop-top locks.

  35. Methanol?

    So, that’s like Meth AND Alcohol, right?


  36. “Our” federal government has by law ordered that methanol be added to things the riffraff ought not to drink. So doesn’t that make it legal, hence good, wholesome, right, freedom-loving and American to poison beverages. These United States have injected methanol into beverages since the Industrial Alcohol Act amendment of 1907, thereby setting a wholesome example for Henry Ford’s readers in National Socialist Germany. Methinks that if the Nuremberg trials were held today, “orders are orders” would be a valid defense, making the Holocaust killings justifiable so that those brave Christians could escape the noose, maybe even merit a Congressional Medal of Honor.

  37. Here, among an additional ideal and also sure you require or call for any real, complimentary, secure.

  38. Purchasing and setting up an Android You get an almost hands-free experience.

  39. online on your Android phone or Tablet. You can get this application Please be with this internet site for having newest home entertainment

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.