What is Sizzurp?
What is Sizzurp?
Sizzurp or purple drank as it is more commonly known is a slang term for a recreational drug made popular by the hip hop community in the southern United States. The term originated in Houston, Texas. The main ingredients in sizzurp are prescription strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine. The cough syrup or sizzurp is often mixed with ingredients like Sprite or Mountain Dew. Most often sizzurp is purple, hence purple drank, and the purple hue comes from the dyes in the cough syrup. And yet, while this concoction of codeine syrup and promethazine may have a funny name such as sizzurp, it is potentially lethal when taken in large amounts or mixed with other substances such as alcohol.
Sizzurp’s Rise to Fame
DJ Screw, a producer out of Houston, Texas popularized sizzurp. Many people attribute sizzurp as his inspiration for the “chopped and screwed” style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of sizzurp was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction gained popularity in the underground rap scene in Houston, where it is said it was consumed as early as the 1960s and 1970s and becoming much more widespread in the early 1990s. Sizzurp use later spread to other southern states making its way out of Texas.
In 2000, Three 6 Mafia’s song “Sippin’ on Some Syrup,” brought the term purple drank to a nationwide audience. Three 6 Mafias other song “Rainbow Colors” also pertains to the consumption of purple drank or sizzurp; the name of the song being rainbow colors due to the addition of a Jolly Rancher candy to a cup of sizzurp creating a spectrum of colors.
Shortly following that, in 2004, the University of Texas found that 8.3% of high school students had taken sizzurp to get high. The DEA also started reporting busts involving sizzurp across the entire southern United States.
Dangers of Sizzurp
Sizzurp is confirmed and also suspected in the deaths of several prominent rap artists.
Sizzurp can cause respiratory depression which is potentially dangerous or even fatal. This effect of sizzurp is associated with the codeine in it which is an opiate. This makes sizzurp not only incredibly dangerous but also highly addictive. The codeine isn’t the only thing that is dangerous in Sizzurp, the promethazine actually packs in the more potent and dangerous effects. The promethazine in sizzurp can cause CNS-depressing phenothiazine-related antihistamine promethazine. This depression is dose-related and is caused due to an overdose on promethazine from drinking too much sizzurp. This can lead to respiratory or cardiac arrest. Mixing alcohol with this drug greatly increases the chances of respiratory failure and other complications.
- DJ Screw who popularized sizzurp also died of it. He died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose in 2000.
- Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé who rapped obsessively about the drug died at age 33 after suffering a heart attack that put him in a coma. It is speculated that sizzurp had something to do with it.
- Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was arrested at his home in Mobile, Alabama, for possession of codeine syrup without a prescription.