Purple Drank Effects, Origin, & Dangers

Purple drank or the lean drug has been mentioned in songs and talked about in regards to celebrities, but what is it exactly? While you were bopping your head to the beat of these songs, you probably weren’t privy to the hidden dangers of the purple drank drug.

purple drank cough syrup

What is Purple Drank?

The purple drank drug is a recreational drug that is made from a combination of prescription cough syrup and soda. The cough syrup typically contains codeine that can create the desirable purple drank effects for the consumer but can also be highly addictive. Some people will also add alcohol or hard candies like Jolly Ranchers for added flavor.

The mixture gets its name from the purple color of the cough syrup, but it is also sometimes called by a variety of other slang names including lean drug, sizzurp, Texas tea, syrup, and more.

The History of Purple Drank

Some sources believe that purple drank, or an early version of it, first made its debut in Houston, Texas around the 1970s. Although the exact origin of the drug is unknown, many agree that its rise in popularity in the 90s and early 2000s was due in part to its association with certain celebrities.

Lil Wayne in particular has been reported as having an affinity to the lean purple drink and has even mentioned it in his song “Lock and Load.”1 While his lyrics speak fondly of the lean drug effects, its use was believed to play a role in a series of seizures from the rapper that prompted an emergency landing of his private jet in 2016.2

Although most well-known, Lil Wayne isn’t the only celebrity to mention purple drank.  Others such as Three 6 Mafia, Rick Ross, and Far East Movement have all alluded to the drug in their songs.

The Effects of Drinking Purple Drank

Although some celebrities have openly bragged about its use, the purple drank side effects are not something to make light of and can be dangerous. Because the mixture can have different ratios of ingredients and some people may add other psychoactive substances, it is difficult to determine the exact effects, but there are some commonalities.

Purple drank effects can last several hours and may include:

  • Euphoria
  • Dissociation
  • Hallucinations
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired vision
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Arrhythmia
  • Problems breathing
  • Seizures

Although the rush of euphoria and feeling of dissociation are desirable, the side effects of drinking purple drank can be harmful. Especially when taken in excess or by those with underlying health problems, purple drank could lead to hospitalization or even death. If you suspect someone may have overdosed on purple drank, call 911 immediately.

Along with the dangerous physical lean drug side effects, the codeine also makes the drug mixture highly addictive. After repeated use, the consumer may become dependent and potentially even begin experiencing codeine withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you love is abusing purple drank or other drugs, get help. Rehab centers have programs in place designed to help people not only stop using these substances but also overcome these addictions long-term. Contact us today to find a program for you or your loved one.

1. LA Times - Lil Wayne seizure puts spotlight on rappers’ use of ‘sizzurp’


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