Purple drank is a slang term for a concoction which includes a prescription-strength cough syrup used in a manner inconsistent with its labeling as a recreational drug. The mixture became popular in the hip hop community in the southern United States, originating in Houston.
The prescription-strength cough syrup used in purple drank contains codeine and promethazine (not to be confused with dextromethorphan; DXM). The cough syrup, used in doses much higher than medically recommended, is typically mixed with ingredients such as the soft drinks Sprite or Mountain Dew and optionally "a Jolly Rancher hard fruit candy thrown in for extra sweetness." The purplish hue of purple drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup. The amount of cough syrup used "can exceed up to 25 times the recommended dose." The concoction is "Typically consumed out of Styrofoam cups".
There are numerous slang terms for purple drank, including:
- purple jelly
- Texas tea
- dirty Sprite
“Purple Drank”, “Dirty Sprite” or “Lean” is often glorified in pop culture, most recently by popular rapper Lil Wayne, as the “thing to do” if you’re young and “in the know.” We’ve coined Lean as, “Hip-Hop’s New Heroin”. And unfortunately, Lil’ Wayne’s plane had to take an emergency landing in June 2016 because of seizures brought on mainly because of this “lean” drink. But he also suffered seizures in 2012 and 2013 from the same thing!
This drink is also seen as the preferred method of getting high. Originating in Houston, Texas, in the 1960s, purple drank (also known as sizzurp and purp) can bring about euphoric effects with its use. Unfortunately, this concoction can create dangerous side effects, including death, if taken at high dosage. one of the possible side effects of heavy dosage.
Codeine, one main ingredient in “Lean” is an opiate similar to: Heroin, Morphine, Oxycontin or Vicodin. Not a good look by the way, if you’ve ever seen a heroin addict. Some of the biggest supporters of this drink seem to be the ones who have died at the mercy of this drink. DJ Screw, died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose in 2000. Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé, who rapped excessively about this drink died at age 33 in 2007, after suffering a heart attack one week earlier that left him in a coma.
Codeine is not as addictive as Heroin, but once addicted, the withdrawal symptoms mirror those of a Heroin addiction. Pimp C had a history of suffering from Sleep Apnea, a condition where you stop breathing while you are asleep.
Pimp C drank Lean before going to sleep and when combined with his respiratory condition, is what killed him. Pimp C initially died
The two active ingredients Codeine & Promethazine are Central Nervous System Depressants, meaning they both slow your breathing, which is why people feel that “good feeling” or that euphoria. But sometimes it slows the system down so much that a person stops breathing and dies.
The drink is called Lean because of the loss of control over your body. People affected by Lean tend to lean or slump over.
April 2012, Rapper Schoolboy Q revealed that he quit sipping on Lean and is trying to get A$AP Rocky to follow his lead. The duo created the popular hit, “Hands on the Wheel”. Schoolboy Q said he quit after he drank some Lean and passed out, then woke up breathing heavily due to his complications with asthma: “I don’t know if it was a near-death experience but it felt like I was about to die. I’ve been going through withdrawals… It’s like somebody’s grabbing your stomach… and just holding it.”
The drug can cause Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which can be fatal. Symptoms may include fever, stiff muscles, confusion, abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat and sweating.