Mid-South family hopes for legislation to limit caffeine sales

Mid-South family hopes for legislation to limit caffeine sales

YALOBUSHA COUNTY, MS (WMC) - A Mid-South mother hopes her family's tragedy will prevent anyone else from losing a loved one.

"I think about him every day," admitted Jennifer Westmoreland.

Westmoreland lost her son, Noah Smith, after he took too many caffeine pills.

She says after her son's death, she learned from his friends that he was looking for energy, like other busy teens.

Westmoreland says her son bought the pills over the counter. Caffeine pills can be sold to anyone, including the then 17-year-old Noah.

"There are more teenagers taking this stuff than people know," Westmoreland warned.

Noah died in his mother's backyard in late 2014. The coroner says his heart stopped beating from an accidental overdose on the pills he was taking without his mom's knowledge.

"You can't guarantee what they will or won't do behind your back," said Westmoreland. "That's why we need this law."

Noah's entire family is now on a mission to prevent others from suffering.

"This is the only positive thing that we could find to come from his death," said Westmoreland.

A new bill, called "Noah's Law," aims to make it illegal to sell caffeine pills or powder to kids.

Mississippi lawmaker Tommy Reynolds is proposing the idea this legislative session.

"I think the bill is well thought out and I don't think it's overly intrusive, but I think it tries to solve the problem," said Reynolds.

Earlier this month, the bill passed the House of Representatives on what would have been Noah's 18th birthday.

"I think that was the best birthday present he could have gotten," said Westmoreland.

There are still hurdles to climb before this family's cries change state law, but even if they fall short, they hope others can learn from their tragedy.

"Yes, it will help us to find some closure, but at this point it's about the other children in Mississippi," Westmoreland commented. "It's about the ones who are still walking and breathing."

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