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Syrup + Soda = Danger

Mixing cough syrup and soft drinks or power drinks has become a popular to get high in some parts of the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says.  USA Today reported on Oct. 19, 2006 that users mix prescription cough suppressants containing codeine with soda or sports drinks, sometimes adding a Jolly Rancher candy and ice. The mix causes euphoria and impairs motor skills.

The trend got national attention when Terrance Kiel, a defensive back for the San Diego Chargers, was arrested in 2006 for having cases of cough syrup shipped to his home in East Texas.  He pleaded guilty to the felony charges in 2007 and was dropped from the team. 

The cough-medicine cocktails, known as "Lean," "Sizzurp," "Purple Drank," or other nicknames, are especially popular in the region.  Officials in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida report misuse of these prescription medications.

People either use false prescriptions to obtain the controlled cough syrup or buy it over the Internet from sites that do not secure legitimate prescriptions.  Codeine comes from opium.  It is similar to (but less potent than) morphine. 

Cough-syrup use has been popularized in rap songs, including mixes by Houston disc jockey DJ Screw (who died of a cocaine overdose in 2000) and songs by Three 6 Mafia ("Sippin' on the Syrup"). 

People high on codeine will show some of the following symptoms:

  • Sense of euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired motor skills and judgment

    High doses may lead to restlessness and/or itching, kidney and liver damage.  An overdose can lead to a suppressed respiratory system and death.  Over the long term, codeine abuse affects every part of the body heart, lungs, brain, eyes, muscles, digestive system reproductive system and the immune system.  It can make the user insensitive to pain, lower the blood pressure and lead to on-going confusion. 
    Codeine is addicting, physically and psychologically and requires treatment to aid in stopping use.

Information from USA Today, Drug Enforcement Agency, the Partnership for Awareness and Join Together

    2000 Prairie View Prevention Services, Inc.