Translate this page
Sizzurp or “purple drank” is a mix of prescription-strength cough syrup, soda pop, and a piece of hard candy.

Sizzurp: What’s in that hideous ‘purple drank’?

Friday, March 7th, 2014
Issue 10, Volume 18.
Debbie Ramsey
Staff Writer

It’s hard to imagine why anyone would want to find a thrill in drinking a concoction of prescription-strength cough syrup mixed with soda pop. However, this combination, known socially as "sizzurp" or "purple drank," originally created in the 60s, has resurged in popularity due to its promotion by rap music artists. It is one of the trendy ways to get "high" used by the edgy, younger population.

Containing codeine and promethazine, the cough syrup is used in doses much higher than medically recommended in the drink and is mixed with a high-caffeine soda such as Mountain Dew or Sprite. By throwing a piece of Jolly Rancher hard candy into the liquid for extra sweetness, the concoction takes on the taste of candy.

The mixture produces mild euphoric side effects along with motor-skill impairment, lethargy, drowsiness, and a feeling of disassociation from the rest of one’s body.

‘Purple drank’ has soared in popularity, authorities say, thanks to the hip-hop community in Texas. Users have said the sweet taste stays on the tongue for hours and it is often consumed along with alcohol and/or drugs. Numerous rap music artists favor the mind-altering drink and some have been hospitalized after ingesting it.

Doctors say the two drugs in the cough syrup have different roles. The codeine acts as a pain reliever and respiratory depressant and the promethazine is a depressant of the central nervous system, with sedative effects. Taken in the correct prescribe dose by itself, the Advertisement
Advertisement for Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce
[ Temecula Valley Chamber of Commerce ]
cough syrup is safe for its intended patient, but in excess can cause a person to stop breathing. Adding alcohol and other drugs to the mix present even more problems and can create a lethal cocktail that leads to seizures and cardiac complications.

In the 60s, the original version of the drink emerged in Houston, Texas with Blues artists taking Robitussin cough syrup and cutting it with beer. Wine coolers were also used as a mixer with the cough syrup. It wasn’t until the 80s that the soda and Jolly Ranchers candies came into the concoction. The Jolly Ranchers were fancied as an add-in because they added a spectrum of color as well.

A rap music artist using the moniker "DJ Screw" included references to the purple drink in his music and soon the message began to spread. Some sources said the drink led to the rapper’s early death. However, more rap artists were willing to carry the popularity of the drink forward and several of those have died at young ages.

As with many drugs that contain an opiate, the drink can lead to addiction and lead to symptoms of withdrawal.

Concern remains high over the use of this drink in the young population, since it has been greatly glamorized by music artists in songs and videos.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, it is estimated that one in 10 teens uses cough syrup or cold medicine in some form to get "high."



arrow Be the first to share your opinion on this article!

Add your Comment


Images, Formatting, or HTML is not allowed : plain text only. You may post up to 5 website addresses within your comment.


The Valley News has tightened its' policy regarding comments.
While we invite you to contribute your opinions and thoughts, we request that you refrain from using vulgar or obscene words and post only comments that directly pertain to the specific topic of the story or article.
Comments that are derogatory in nature have a high likelihood for editing or non-approval if they carry the possibility of being libelous.
The comment system is not intended as a forum for individuals or groups to air personal grievances against other individuals or groups.
Please, no advertising or trolling.
In posting a comment for consideration, users understand that their posts may be edited as necessary to meet system parameters, or the post may not be approved at all. By submitting a comment, you agree to all the rules and guidelines described here.
Most comments are approved or disregarded within one business day.

RSS FeedFacebookTwitter

Advertisement for Dan's Got Crabs


Most Commented

Reach Local Customers

The Valley News The Valley News
760-723-7319 - 1588 S. Mission Rd. Suite 200, Fallbrook CA 92028
All contents copyright ©2015
About Us
Earthquake Information
Business Listings
Contact Us
Letter to the Editor
Report a website error
Online Digital Edition
RSS Feeds