What is Purple Drank?

Also known as lean, dirty sprite, sizzurp and syrup, purple drank is a drug concoction made from prescription cough syrup. The sugary drink has been made popular among teens and influenced by the hip-hop industry. Numerous celebrity rappers sing about purple drank. In fact, Lil Wayne went to the hospital for abusing it. Several have died from the drug, including singer Big Hawk, who was found dead in 2016 at age 29. Repeated use of purple drank can lead to serious health issues, addiction, and overdose. When taken in high doses, or mixed with other sedatives or alcohol, purple drank is lethal.


How Do You Make Purple Drank?

Purple drank is the mixture of prescription cough syrup with soda and candy. The cough syrup used contains codeine, a powerful opioid drug, and promethazine, an antihistamine. The concoction is the syrup, a sugary soda such as sprite and hard candy such as Jolly Ranchers. Easy access to ingredients and the drink’s sweetness appeals to teenagers, who are often unaware of the danger. Even more dangerous, users are now adding alcohol to the concoction. Effects of purple drank include constricted pupils, slurred speech, dental problems and addiction.


Codeine Addiction

Codeine is in a class of drugs known as opioids. Opioids interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain. Furthermore, the effects of consuming purple drank containing codeine include a sensation described as ‘a swooning euphoria’. Opioid drugs such as codeine are highly addictive. Opioid addiction is a leading contributor to the drug overdose epidemic in America. Every day, more than 115 people die from an opioid overdose.


Teens and Purple Drank

Alarmingly, more than 3 million adolescents and young adults have used non-prescription cough and cold medicines to get high. This number compares to LSD. Because access to cough medicine is legal, it is hard to track how many teens are using purple drank. If you are a parent, educate yourself on purple drank and similar substances popular with kids. Talk to your teens and preteens about drugs and the dangers of purple drank. Keep the lines of communication open and let them know you’re always there for them.


D’Amore Healthcare is a dual diagnosis and substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA.

We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of mental illness, substance abuse and addiction. 

If you fear your child may be using drugs or is exhibiting unusual behaviors, call us 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.

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