The recent admission of rapper Lil' Wayne to the ICU at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles has put to light the dangers of drinking sizzurp, or more popularly known as purple drank. Even though the multi-platinum hip hop recording artist denied that his near-death experience had something to with sizzurp, the rumor mill continues to mention the dangerous drink as the culprit of his seizures.
First of all, since when exactly did sizzurp become a favorite drink among the youth? Why should parents worry about it?
Robert Earl Davis Jr., a Houston disc jockey known as DJ Screw, was said to be the one who popularized the concoction of cough syrup and soft drink in the late 1990s. Many a time, hip-hop musicians have rapped about the drink. Among those rappers who referenced the mixture in their lyrics include D12, Eminem, Lil' Wyne, Big Moe, Lil' Wayne, Ludacris, Slim Thug, Mack Maine, and Fat Joe.
Lil' Wayne, in particular, has openly acknowledged his fondness for purple drank. In the music video Duffle Bag Boy
, he was featured holding a Styrofoam cup with "RIP DJ Screw" written on it.
The mere mention of sizzurp in music has augmented its popularity, leading up to the awareness of some teenagers and young adults across the country.
In concocting sizzurp, users typically mix an ounce of cough syrup -- containing codeine and promethazine
-- with Sprite or Mountain Dew and dissolved Jolly Rancher candy for extra sweetness, and pour it over ice. The drink is known to give users the euphoric high. However, other side effects include motor-skill impairment, lethargy, nausea, drowsiness, hallucinations, seizures, and even death.
In fact, some notable deaths linked with codeine overdose include that of DJ Screw in 2000; Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé, in 2007; and Pimp C, a Texas rapper and a member of rap duo UGK, in 2008.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had warned people about the rising trend of cough syrup abuse
. Although it is unclear as to how many people are drinking sizzurp, numerous health experts and the law enforcement are cautioning people about the fatal effect of cough syrup misuse. Officials are also using drug testing
to ensure people do not abuse the drug in public.