Local man dies from pumpkin spice intoxication; police rule out foul play

Local man dies from pumpkin spice intoxication; police rule out foul play

Fredericton — In what Fredericton police are calling a deadly but festive cautionary tale, a local man is dead after his body gave out to an uncommon but potentially fatal condition called “pumpkin spice intoxication.”

Jason Pothier, 31, was rushed to the hospital unresponsive after successive seizures caused by prolonged exposure to pumpkin spice and the myriad of products using what many are calling for to be a controlled substance. 

Pothier’s longtime girlfriend, Chelsea Gallant, 28, was home at the time and found him in the midst of the attack on the floor of their bathroom, but his fate was already sealed.

“I was trying to perfect my pumpkin-spice cupcake recipe and had been force-feeding J.P. [Pothier] a few of my latest batches to get his honest opinion,” said Gallant. “Once I unstrapped him he went to go brush his teeth, which I remember very clearly because the last thing he said to me was, ‘WHY DID YOU HAVE TO BUY PUMPKIN SPICE TOOTHPASTE!?'”

A post-mortem examination determined Pothier had over ten times the amount of pumpkin spice in his bloodstream that is considered safe by Health Canada.

Pumpkin spice intoxication, also known as “pumpkin poisoning,” is a disturbance in brain function that happens when the normal balance of electrolytes in the body is pushed outside natural limits by excessive pumpkin spice intake. It affects 37,000 Canadians every year and while it is not always fatal, if it is not remedied quickly, survival rates drop exponentially. 

“Pumpkin spice intoxication is a very real threat to Canadians’ health that can’t be forgotten,” explained Dr. Wayne Roberts, of the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital. “It’s important to get those suffering here as soon as possible. We could have saved Mr. Pothier had he gotten here quicker; however, it’s my understanding that the ambulance stopped at Tims on the way for pumpkin spice lattes.”

Fredericton Police say foul play is not suspected. “Happens every October,” said Roger Brown, Chief of Police. “Bit early this year.”

A candlelit vigil is planned for Pothier outside the Smythe Street Tim Hortons on Oct. 25. The family of the deceased asks the public to not bring pumpkin spice candles out of respect.

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