On Street Drugs: The Curios case of Purple Drank


Purple Drank is the slang term for the prescription-strength cough syrup, which is commonly used in non-prescription manners. This non-prescription use makes it a recreational pill. It originated in Houston and became famous in the hip-hop community of the Southern United States in the 1990s.

It’s known as Purple Drank since the promethazine and codeine mixture syrup gives off the purple color. In most cases, it’s a prescription-strength cough syrup made up of promethazine and codeine.

Syrup is added to drinks such as Sprite and Mountain Dew in high quantities. The amount of cough syrup is nearly 25 times more than the ones prescribed by doctors and consumed out of plastic cups.

Some of its street names are Tsikuni, Jelly, Texas Tea, Purple, Dry Sprite, Syrup, Lean, Drank, Barre, and Sizzurp. In 2004, a study revealed nearly 8.3% of secondary students in the state of Texas had consumed this syrup for getting high; hence, the recognition of purple drink led to prices increasing in 2011 than Los Angeles prices.

Know the Origins of This Syrup.

Purple Drank originated in Houston in the 1960s when blues musicians started taking Robitussin combined with beer. Then, beer was traded with wine coolers when it hit the market.

This custom was consumed by generations of rappers who came after blues musicians and were from some parts of the city. The 1980s and 1990s noticed changes in the formulation. Robitussin is being replaced with cough syrups containing a promethazine and codeine mixture.

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This was on par with Jolly Ranchers and other lemon-flavored sodas. Until the 1990s, Purple Drank remained a local Houston wonder until rapper DJ Screw designed different tunes which had mention the drink. These tapes became prominent in Houston.

DJ Screw promoted Purple Drank, which became the inspiration for the “screwed and chopped” selection of hip-hop music. The Purple Drank first gained fame in the underground rap scene of Houston and was consumed from the 1970s till the early 1960s. The 1960s also saw Purple Drank spreading its reach and being consumed in other Southern states.

Side Effects of Purple Drank/Lean.

Yes, lean is bad! It has risky long-term and short-term effects that lead to addiction and then death, as the result of overdosing. The long answer of side effects would be that this deadly mixture gets you high by sacrificing your health and your life in the future.

Lean consists of liquid codeine (found in cough syrup) and promethazine which is added to Sprite and fused with a Jolly Rancher candy for flavor. The purple color comes from the cough syrup and this offers an extreme euphoric sensation to its users, based on dosage. There are plenty of accounts of their effects on rehab forums.

Now, rap artists have highlighted the term “Purple Drank” in their songs. Rappers such as Pimp C and DJ Screw were the leading personalities who died from acute toxicity and intake of Purple Drank. There are tons of reasons why an overdose of lean can have deadly effects.

This post was last modified on November 19, 2022 12:31 am

Piya C: Piya C is internet savvy health and lifestyle blogger. She covers beauty, relationship, diet and many more topics. #blogger #author Want to connect with me? Follow me. I reply my every DM & tweet.
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