It is getting close to the end of the school year and many teenagers are stressed about finals and completing final projects.  From working with teenagers for over 25 years, I know many of them feel that they are entitled to a break from studying and a chance to have fun.  Well Memorial Day weekend is coming up and many teenagers are planning on using the long weekend as a break and a chance to have fun.  Teenagers can define how they have fun in a variety of ways.  For some teens it’s online gaming with friends, maybe it’s hanging out at the mall and for some it’s drinking alcohol and using drugs. Teenagers have been finding ways to get high for years because they believe that it is fun.  However, many teenagers are not aware that the ways they are choosing to get high can cause serious health risks even death.  Teenagers were using and still use the cough medicine, Robitussin, because it contains DMX an provides an easy high.  However, stores have made it difficult to buy Robitussin so it’s not as easy to use as it use to be.  Well teenagers are now using another allergy medication.  Teenagers are now using the medication Benadryl made by Johnson and Johnson.

Many parents are familiar with Benadryl.  It is a common medication pediatricians prescribe to parents when their children have allergies.  This medication is considered safe for young children and parents can purchase it over the counter.  Additionally, many pediatricians suggest that parents use this medication when children are having difficulties sleeping.  Besides being a safe allergy medication for young children, it also has a tendency to make children and adults drowsy.  Most people fall asleep after taking Benadryl.

Now the app TikTok, which is very popular with teenagers, has away listed on the app so teens can use this medication to get high.  It is called the Benadryl Challenge.  People who use TikTok have issued a challenge to other TikTok users.  The challenge is to take as many Benadryl pills as they can so they start hallucinating and experience a high.  Therefore, we have teenagers across the country taking dozens of Benadryl pills.  Teenagers are able to get Benadryl easy because it is sold over the counter and is considered a safe allergy medication by most people.  Therefore, most parents won’t suspect anything if their teenager tells them they are taking Benadryl for their allergies.  Additionally, since it is easy to get and a majority of teenagers feel that it is safe, a number of teens will probably be taking the challenge over Memorial Day weekend as a way to relax.

However this challenge posted on TikTok is dangerous and deadly.  Johnson and Johnson has stated that Benadryl was not designed with the intention of taking dozens of Benadryl pills at a time.  For example, a 15 year old girl, who was taking the Benadryl Challenge, has died from taking too many Benadryl pills.  Additionally, three 15 year old teenage girls in Fort Worth, Texas were hospitalized because they took too many Benadryl pills.  Johnson and Johnson has stated that if you take to much Benadryl it can cause seizures and serious heart problems.  The company has the guidelines on the bottle regarding what is an appropriate dosage of Benadryl for different ages and weights.  Johnson and Johnson is warning parents about this TikTok challenge so parents can address it with their teenagers.

Parents TikTok is very popular with teenagers, despite the fact that the government is banning its use on all federal cellphones.  Teenagers are not concerned with the debate about Tim Tim being used by China to collect information and they are not thinking about how dangerous this challenge can be and that people can die.  If your teenager uses TikTok discuss this challenge with them and watch to see if your teenager has any Benadryl.  If they use TikTok and have Benadryl take the medication away from them.  You may be saving their lives.  Additionally, even if your teenager doesn’t use Tik Tok discuss the Benadryl Challenge with them.  We all know teenagers talk about things that are going on in their lives.  They definitely will be talking about this challenge even if they don’t use Tik Tok and many may decide to take the challenge.

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, take this time to discuss with your teenagers what they are planning to do for the weekend with friends.  Also take the opportunity to have an open, honest, nonjudgmental discussion about issues such as drugs, alcohol and sexual activity.  Remember a teenager’s brain is not fully developed until they are 25 years old.  There are a lot of decisions they need to make and at times they are confused about the information they are hearing from various sources.  They want you to see them as young adults and they don’t want to get into trouble for asking a question.  Therefore, if you establish a pattern of nonjudgmental conversations, you will increase the likelihood that your teenager will talk to you if they are confused or concerned about something.  With the number of substances available to teenagers in today’s world, you may be saving their lives if they feel comfortable talking with you about difficult issues.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist with over 25 years experience treating children, teenagers, trauma victims including first responders. For more information about his work or private practice visit his website at or Facebook page at or his podcasts on Spotify or on Apple.