What Is Sizzurp? A Guide For Those Not In The Know

A brief guide to sizzurp for people who are too busy having lives to have looked it up yet

What Is Sizzurp? A Guide For Those Not In The Know

by Stevie Martin |
Published on

Sizzurp's been making headlines for years, but what if you're too busy living your life to have actually looked into what it is? Well, you'll be fine. But it's always nice to know things - so here's a potted guide to the purple stuff in styrofoam cups that hip hop artists keep singing about. Just so you can keep abreast of the world.

What is sizzurp?

It's a drink you make yourself by mixing technically legal prescription cough syrup containing codeine (the most popular is promethazine-codeine) with either a soft drink or Jolly Rancher sweets. Also known as 'lean' or 'syrup' or 'dirty Sprite', you drink it out of a styrofoam cup and it has similar effects to PCP and ketamine, if that helps you out. If it doesn't, here is expert Dr. George Fallieras talking about the effects to The LA Times: 'The codeine in the medicine serves as a pain reliever and also suppresses coughing. A second drug in the cough syrup, known as promethazine, is used as an antihistamine and commonly used to treat motion sickness and nausea. It’s also a bit of a sedative -- employed partly to keep people from drinking too much of the stuff. This is a very common cough syrup that, when taken in appropriately prescribed quantities, is quite safe.'

What are the side effects of sizzurp?

When not taken 'in appropriately prescribed quantities', it has some side effects: the codeine not only makes sizzurp addictive, it also can cause slowed heartbeat, shallow breathing, blurred vision, agitation and hallucinations. Yep, this is only when you drink too much, but it tastes so sweet you can drink it all day long without realising what you've done - sort of like gin, but it's definitely not gin. The withdrawal symptom for sizzurp aren't that great either - in an interview with MTV in 2008, Lil Wayne said it felt 'like death in your stomach when you stop. Everybody wants me to stop all this and all that. It ain't that easy.'.

Who drinks sizzurp?

Well, Lil Wayne got hospitalised after taking too much codeine, Justin Bieber was reportedly all over the stuff, Chris Brown's family claims he does it loads, and Soulja Boy posts instagram pictures like this:

Which sort of implies he's into it. Originally, though, sizzurp drinking actually started in the 60s, in Houston, when blues musicians would add beer to Robitusson (a type of, you guessed it, cough syrup) to feel a euphoric. It wasn't long before it got taken up by the hip hop community, then spread wider still after Bieber got into it and we all started absently mindedly singing 'SIPPIN' SIZZURP IN MY RIDE' to the radio, like a G6, with no idea what we were actually singing about.

Is it illegal?

A bit hazy, this, because while the components aren't illegal, over in America it's illegal to use them to make sizzurp. In the UK, it's more of a grey area because sizzurp hasn't really taken off - it counts as prescription drug abuse, which is still legal over here. Crazily.

Shall I start drinking it?


Liked this? You might also be interested in...

Things You Only Know If Your Dad Deals Drugs

What It Really Feels Like... To Lose A Friend To Drugs

What's The Science Behind A Comedown?

Follow Stevie on Twitter: @5tevieM

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us