Purple drank

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Purple Drank is an illegal recreational drink popular amongst the hip-hop community of the Southern United States. Its main ingredients are prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine.[1]

The purple-ish hue of Purple Drank comes from dyes in the cough syrup. Recently, the term has expanded to cover mixtures including over-the-counter cough syrup. Other terms for Purple Drank include Sizzurp, Drank, Purple Tonic, Texas Tea, Memphis Mud, Lean, Oil, Tsikuni, Barre, and Sir.


Houston, Texas producer DJ Screw first popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the "chopped & screwed" style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of "Syrup" was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground Houston, Texas rap scene and later spread to other southern states.

In June of 2000, Three 6 Mafia's single "Sippin On Some Syrup," featuring UGK and Project Pat brought the term "purple stuff" to a nationwide audience.[2] On November 16, 2000, several months after the video to Three 6 Mafia's single debuted, DJ Screw died of a suspected overdose of codeine and alcohol.[3]. The mixture has also been referenced in lyrics of other rappers, including UGK's "Sippin and Spinnin" and "Purple Drank", as well as tracks by Paul Wall, Mike Jones, T.I., Chamillionaire, Big Moe, Slim Thug, and Z-Ro. In September of 2006, Terrence Kiel, a San Diego Chargers player, was arrested during practice for the possession with intent to sell of what authorities referred to as "Lean".[4].

New Orleans rapper Lil' Wayne frequently mentions drinking Purple Drank. In the Duffle Bag Boy music video he can be seen holding a Styrofoam cup with "RIP DJ Screw" written on it. In the remix to "Throw Some D's" on his mixtape Da Drought 3 he claims "I'm not a rookie, I'm a promethazine fiend." He also refers to the substance in the song "We Takin' Over," where he says that "I like my Sprite Easter pink," an overt reference to the color of the beverage.


Active ingredients

The active ingredient of purple drank is codeine, a narcotic medication contained in prescription cough syrup. It is not made with over-the-counter cough syrups such as Robitussin, which contain dextromethorphan. Although dextromethorphan is sometimes used recreationally, it has different effects. Some prescription cough syrups also contain antihistamine medications, such as promethazine, which have a mild sedative effect. When taken in large quantities, both medications can lead to sedation and altered levels of consciousness.[1] The syrup usually used in purple drank contains 10mg of codeine and 6.25 mg of promethazine per 5 mL.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Peters Ronald J. Jr. (2003). "Beliefs and social norms about codeine and promethazine hydrochloride cough syrup (CPHCS) onset and perceived addiction among urban Houstonian adolescents: an addiction trend in the city of lean". Journal of drug education. 33 (4): 415–25. PMID 15237866,Error: Bad DOI specified!. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  2. Walker, Yolanda (2006-10-20). "Drug-laced cough syrup tempts Texas teens". WFAA. Retrieved 2006-10-28. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. Demby, Eric (2001-01-11). "Codeine Overdose Killed DJ Screw, Medical Examiner Says". MTV.com. Retrieved 2006-10-28. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. Leinwand, Donna (2006-10-18). "DEA warns of soft drink-cough syrup mix". USA Today. Retrieved 2006-10-23. Check date values in: |date= (help)