New alert raises awareness of “Purple Drank” trend

The addiction support charity Addaction has issued an alert regarding a dangerous drinking trend which has been reported among some young people, known as “Purple Drank”.

“Purple Drank” (sometimes known as ‘Lean’, ‘dirty Sprite’ or ‘Sizzurp’) is a potent mixture of legal over-the-counter medications (usually cough syrups) which some young people are combining with soft drinks or sweets to use as a recreational drug.

This is particularly harmful as many cough syrups contain codeine, an opioid drug that is frequently used as a cough suppressant or mild analgesic. When codeine is consumed in large doses or for non-prescription purposes, it can create extremely harmful effects.

Because “Purple Drank” intended to drink, anyone using it can easily lose track of how much of the active drug they have consumed.

The effects depend on the contents of the drink.However, users have reported euphoric and dissociative effects. Other effects may include slurred speech, constricted pupils, slowed heart rate, drowsiness and loss of coordination. The ability to drive may be also be impaired, and young people have complained of ‘memory problems’ after taking the drink.

To help prevent harm around ‘purple drank’ trend, services are advising young people of the dangers of misusing prescription medications.