In troubling news out of Tennessee this week, two teenagers died after drinking a combination of soda and racing fuel, a concoction toxicologists refer to as "dewshine." Two other teens were hospitalized for drinking the mixture, but they recovered.

While there's no hard evidence that making and drinking "dewshine" is a widespread trend, as a mom of teen boys, I like to be aware of things like this. I keep my eyes and ears open for any evidence my boys are getting into trouble or even thinking about getting into trouble. Some teen trends, like the cinnamon challenge of a couple years ago, are silly and relatively harmless for healthy teens, but other trends can do irreparable harm.

Ideally, the trend will disappear quickly, but young adults often hold the belief that "It won't happen to me." Here's what you need to know in case drinking "dewshine" becomes a bigger trend:

  • "Dewshine" is created by combining soda (as the name suggests, that soda is often Mountain Dew) and racing fuel.
  • Racing fuel is 100 percent methanol, a toxic, colorless, volatile flammable liquid alcohol that's not meant for human consumption.
  • The fuel is easy to obtain and sells for about $8 a gallon. Kids can legally buy it.
  • The symptoms of drinking methanol are similar to alcohol at first, but eventually they may become more serious and cause "blurred vision, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, blindness, coma and even death."
  • The Methanol Institute reports that drinking 25-90 milliliters of methanol can be fatal without proper medical treatment.

I think it's also important to mention that Mountain Dew has a completely unrelated product called DEWshine. It's a version of the soda that's made with real sugar, and it's non-alcoholic although it's marketed like an underground, backwoods product, much like alcoholic moonshine. If you hear kids talking about "dewshine," it's best to find out which version they're talking about before jumping to any conclusions.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.