I have two young adults at home and they are almost always in charge of the music selection in the car. Although they listen to a wide variety of genres I confess that just like my own parents, much of the time I can't decipher the words. Sometimes when I can, I don't understand the meaning behind the words. To their dismay, I usually sing along anyway.
Today I've been doing some research into current drug
trends, and as I wandered around the
internet I began to look at song lyrics about drug use written by some
known artists. Of course there have been plenty of drug references in
lyrics for decades. My thought about these particular songs,
though, is that they are contributing to the spread of a dangerous
regional drug trend that might
otherwise have been contained: Purple Drank.
Mixing soda, prescription cough syrup and candy, often Jolly
Ranchers, with crushed ice in a white styrofoam cup to make "Purple
Drank" started in Houston, Texas,
now known as the “City of Syrup”. Drinking
it makes you "lean"- unsteady on your feet. While use dates back
several decades, Purple Drank has recently gone mainstream in tracks by
Eminem, Paul Wall, Kanye West, Ludacris, 2 Chainz, Drake, Nicki
Manaj and scores of others.
Let's take a look at Lil' Wayne's
song Me and My Drank. He references codeine (a narcotic), promethazine (an
antihistamine) and Sprite as ingredients that he has in his cup in the studio. Lil'
Wayne's lyrics acknowledge several artists who have died due to using Purple
Drank including Big Moe, Pimp C, and DJ
Screw. Here are some lyrics from the
I usually don't do this but...
Yea T you gotta feel me
Sippin on some drink the color purple like silly
Really they say I should chill before it kills me
But so will a car crash or a nine milli
And I aint even mention cigarettes or airplanes
So grab a sprite heres a pint we can share Wayne
Yea Mayne...tastes so sweet and I aint gonna have a seat
Cuz I don't wanna fall asleep
So just pour it in my drink and ima sip until I lean hard
Drink got me moving slower than a retard
So press record and hear these hot raps
Im in the booth cup on me like a jock-strap
And I will not nap until the bottles empty
Then I pour a little more for past Screw and Pimp C
And I would stop but believe it I cant
So till Short is gone its just me and my drink
Up in the studio me and my drank, me and my drank, me and my drank
Uh uh Up in the studio me and my drank, me and my drank, me me and my drank
15, 2013, it was reported that Wayne had been admitted to the Intensive
Care Unit in Los Angeles after being discovered shaking uncontrollably
and unconscious. Doctors found a high amount of codeine in his system
and his stomach had to be pumped three times. He was released from the
hospital three days later.
Two NFL players have been arrested for possessing codeine based
syrups without a prescription, and Terrence Kiel, a San Diego Chargers
player, was arrested during practice for possession with intent to sell
prescription cough syrup for use in making the drink.
Several legal commercial products loosely based on "purple drank" are marketed in the United States including "Drank", "Purple Stuff", "Sippin Syrup", and "Lean".
What's so bad about Purple
Drank? Codeine can make people feel a sense of euphoria, but can also cause
hypoventilation, a potentially fatal inability to breathe properly. Abuse of
codeine can lead to physical dependence and significant withdrawal symptoms. Promethazine
is an antihistamine that is typically used to fight nausea and to induce
sedation. In low doses, promethazine can enhance the effects of codeine,
causing more euphoric feelings than codeine alone. However, high doses of
promethazine can also cause potentially deadly central nervous system
depression and hypoventilation, extreme weakness and drowsiness. Using these
substances at higher amounts than those prescribed for legitimate medical purposes
can be very dangerous. Add alcohol or other substances to the mix, and they are
even more dangerous.
So what does this
mean for the Hudson Valley? Purple
Drank is now part of pop culture, and simple instructions for mixing it are as close
as the internet. Adolescents are likely to be curious about it and perhaps give
it a try. Let's ask them if they've heard of it, what they think about it, and
if they know anyone who has tried it. Adolescents often experience danger as
exciting rather than as a deterrent to experimenting. If unable to procure prescription syrup,
youth are likely to try mixing other syrups with soda, including over the
counter cough and cold syrups that are also dangerous when abused. So, when
remembering to lock up your meds, include any liquid medications, and dispose
of unused prescription and over the counter syrups.
Director of Ulster Prevention Council