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Youth and sizzurp - the new high for youth

It’s not grape-flavored soda.

Sizzurp is the new way to get a rush for many teens. Sizzurp can be made at home with a few easy to access ingredients. Also called “purple drank,” it is made by combining a mixture of a soda, a candy and certain prescription cough syrups with codeine (an opiate painkiller). Once these are mixed together the drink usually becomes purple because of the dye in the cough syrup. The danger is the narcotic codeine obviously, which cannot be tasted in the drink, the sugar adds to the addictiveness as well. Bohrer

As someone drinks sizzurp throughout the day, they often do not keep track of the amount of codeine they have ingested, which can lead to overdose and death.

Sizzurp was popularized by the hip-hop community and is thought to have led to the deaths of Pimp C in 2007 and DJ Screw in 2000. Rapper Lil Wayne, who is a known fan of Sizzurp, went to the hospital in March of 2013 after a codeine overdose. The group Three 6 Mafia has a song called “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp.” This song was then referenced by the 2010 Far East Movement song “G6,” in which they sing “Sippin’ sizzurp in my ride, like three 6.” Videos of how to make sizzurp are all over ... as are videos of hip-hop artists drinking it and singing about it.

How can you tell if your teen is using sizzurp? First, look for a purple drink, but if they are sneakier than that — which they likely are — signs of opiate use include constricted or “pinpoint” pupils, slack or droopy muscles, “nodding out” and slurred speech. If someone were to overdose on opiates he or she might be awake but unable to speak, the body will appear very limp, face may be pale or clammy, fingernails and lips will turn blue or purple (due to lack of oxygen since opiates suppress the respiratory system), vomiting and slow, shallow breathing.

Talk to your kids, talk to their friends and be aware of their baseline so you can determine whether or not they deviate from it. Smell your kids — did they come home from a friend’s house smelling like super sweet cough syrup? Do they seem drowsy and a little too laid back? Also, hide your prescription medications.

Teal Bohrer, Lake Oswego, has a master’s degree in addiction counseling from Lewis & Clark College and is pursuing a doctoral degree in counseling education from Oregon State University. She sees individuals for a variety of issues at her local private practice.



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