Today Show Worried About Cough Syrup Drink “Sizzurp”

also included cough syrup"The Simpsons"NBC’s Today show wants to make sure you know about the sizzurps:

Attention, parents: Young people are using a drink with a funny-sounding name — “sizzurp” — to get high, and the consequences are anything but amusing.

Doctors are warning that the drug, which is made by combining soda, candy and prescription cough syrup with codeine in it, can be deadly. 

“This is a very dangerous drug,” said Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “It can lead to seizures and essentially lead you to stop breathing.”

Sizzurp is a drink that includes cough syrup (for the codeine, as opposed to the DXM) for its mind-altering effects. Today’s national investigative correspondent doesn’t offer any statistics on fatalities or even hospital visits for cough syrup ingestion, as a recent study on the risks of shopping carts (“estimated 530,494” injured children over 21 years) did. The story does mention a DEA report that one in ten teenagers admit (or claim!) to have used cough syrup to get high, and reports that sizzurp was “attributed in the deaths” of two rappers, DJ Screw, the Houston rapper who actually popularized the drink to a wider audience, in 2000, and Pimp C in 2007. No distinction is made that the deaths were overdoses with, in the first case, a mix of drugs, and the second, pre-existing sleep apnea.

I get it. It’s a drink that includes a bunch of substances (cough syrup*, candy, soda) that are generally legal, but to varying degrees also frowned upon by the kind of people who like the idea of controlling substnaces. Cough syrup, thanks to fearmongering like this, is an increasingly controlled substance already.  So although Google searches for sizzurp peaked almost a year ago, when the rapper Lil Wayne’s hospitalization was linked in the press to abuse of the drink (also mentioned by Today), it’s still fresh ground for the kind of anti-drug crowd that finds “sizzurp” to be a funny name.

Actual drug warriors have put sizzurp on their watchlists years ago. A 2006 ABC News report warning about the “culture” of sizzurp noted:

Authorities have recently tried to crack down on the drug, but while the crackdown has made it harder to get, it’s also made it easier and more profitable to traffic. "A year and a half to two years ago the price for a pint of codeine promethazene cough syrup was about $20 and was called a deuce, and for 16 oz, which was called a PT cruiser, would go for about $120 to $125," says [a professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health, Ron] Peters. "Now a pint of codeine promethazene would go for anything from about $250 all the way up to $350." Pharmacists, doctors and drug dealers from other states are getting into the act, says Peters.

We have always been at war with cough syrup.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Paul.||

    Attention, parents: Young people are using a drink with a funny-sounding name — “sizzurp” — to get high, and the consequences are anything but amusing.

    What, Purple Drank no longer hip?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I know, right? Still, if White people now know about the term "sizzurp" that means Black folks had stopped calling it that at least 2 years prior.

  • GILMORE||

    I think maybe that should be more like 7-10 years.

    I think the delay has been getting longer for some reason. I blame LOLcats and other internet memes. People just aren't keeping track of how thugs roll anymore.

  • Ska||

    Sipping on some sizzurp... that was, what, 15 years ago?

  • Balloon maker||

    We eat so many shrimp I got iodine poisonin

  • Ska||

    Next you're going to post lyrics to Chickenhead.

  • Calidissident||

    Isn't "sizzurp" mentioned in the song "G6" by the Far East Movement (who, as implied by their name, are of Asian descent)? I'm going off memory, I was never a fan of the song, but heard it got played a lot for a while

  • Calidissident||

    *that should say "heard it a lot, since it got played a lot for a while"

  • Paul.||

    “This is a very dangerous drug,” said Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. “It can lead to seizures and essentially lead you to stop breathing.”

    You know what lead Kelly Thomas to stop breathing?

  • Robert||

    But not from the codeine, rather from the promethazine, an antihistamine which is not a controlled substance but is the more toxic of the ingredients. It also produces more of the "downer" effect IME.

  • ||

    Yawn. Tell me when teh kids are using it in an enema.

  • Bobarian||

    Butt-chugging the sizzurp?

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "A year and a half to two years ago the price for a pint of codeine promethazene cough syrup was about $20 and was called a deuce, and for 16 oz, which was called a PT cruiser, would go for about $120 to $125,"

    I'll take the pint. I can't afford the 16-oz portion.

  • ||

    Six dozen of one. Half of another.

  • Almanian (sans exclamation pt)||

    +6, -6

  • ||

    NBC’s Today show wants to make sure you know about the sizzurps

    Oh, I'll bet Hoda and Kathie Lee will hilariously riff on the subject! Ha ha ha!

  • Agammamon||

    While getting wasted on the stuff.

  • RishJoMo||

    Dude I love the Simpsons, they like totally rock!

    www.Anon-Stuff.tk

  • GILMORE||

    I think all of our New Moral Panics should be at least 2 decades old, and already have been used in Hit Rap Songs.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOWKGXpl9E0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqXuSIRzyh4

    As some people noted = the people who made this thing *popular* are actually 'already dead'. that's how fuckin OLD this 'panic' is. next thing we're going to hear is about the new Solja Boy dance craze, and this new software called 'Napster'.

    If anything, Matt Lauer is going to help educate young people on how Swisha House used to get fucked up, so they can go out and hit it themselves.

  • ||

    Bun B ain't dead, among others.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed. Still waiting for people to figure out that "Molly" and "Thun Thun" are basically the same thing.

    Oh, and Jacqueline Xavier (the one in the blue dress) has ass and titties for days.

    Just an observation.

  • ||

    Oh, and Jacqueline Xavier (the one in the blue dress) has ass and titties for days.

    Holy crap!

  • Calidissident||

    Only reason I've ever watched that video

  • ||

    H-town represent! But seriously this is very very old news.

  • ||

    Codeine is pure shit. It's barely more high-inducing than taking an NSAID. And you can take a ton of it and nothing happens. OH NOES, a crappy form of opiates is being used by kids to get barely high!

    The smart kids would use their school lab to turn it into morphine; it's pretty easy. That's really the only thing codeine is good for.

  • SIV||

    Sez the guy who thinks Tramadol is anything more than a placebo

    Codeine rocks at 120 mg and up.

  • ||

    If you can't get high on a few tramadol pills (admittedly they suck for pain management), there's something wrong with your brai...oh wait, that explains a lot.

  • SIV||

    Its a fuckin' placebo

    Tramadol is not a federally controlled substance in the United States; however, Arkansas, Kentucky, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wyoming and the U.S. military have classified Tramadol as a schedule IV controlled substance under state law

    You probably used to like Darvon too.

  • Robert||

    The real trip with tramadol is not being on it (mild to moderate drowsiness, lassitude), but withdrawing from it quickly: emotional swings, wakefulness, restlessness, jerks, trippy dreams once you do get to sleep. It's not that unpleasant if you've nothing it's keeping you from, but it's weird. It led to lots of inconsequential introspection in my case. I sobbed & wailed about things that I might've done anyway, but wouldn't've dwelled on so much, over a few days.

  • Bramblyspam||

    Ah, just as I was about to forget about Trayvon "skittles kid" Martin. You know, the guy who bought two of the ingredients and tweeted home about codeine.

    I guess that crap might kill you after all, especially when combined with guns.

  • C. Anacreon||

    What are you talking about? Trayvon was just an innocent kid buying candy and soda. The fact that he had candy and soda proved he was an innocent kid. Al Sharpton and everyone said so!

  • mb||

    I don't doubt this is happening as way back in 1988, a college acquaintance used to do something like this. Every week, he go to health services and get a "free" bottle of cough medice, then drink it on the weekend. As all the other underage, cash strapped college students thought this was pretty fucked up and not worth trying since beer was easy enough to get, I doubt more than few do it.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement