Sizzurp Cough Syrup Pulled: The End of an Era

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are generally driven by the dollar, foregoing patient safety for a hefty bottom line. That’s why it came as such a surprise when Actavis, one of the largest pharmaceutical manufacturers in the world, announced it would cease production of the prescription cough syrup used to make sizzurp.

What is Sizzurp?

Sizzurp is made from cough syrup containing codeine, an opiate, and promethazine, an antihistamine. When abused, the syrup can induce feelings of euphoria and excitement. To make sizzurp, the cough syrup is combined with soda and Jolly Rancher hard candies. The concoction was made popular by rap stars and members of the hip-hop community.

The Dangerous Effects of Sizzurp

A sizzurp high can lead to serious consequences. For example, codeine is an opiate, making it highly addictive after a period of abuse. What’s more, people don’t recognize the danger of something that tastes just like Kool-Aid. Common side effects include:

  • Damage to voice/vocal chords
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • A decreased heart rate
  • Slurred speech
  • Increased risk of seizures
  • Loss of coordination
  • Death

The Fame Factor

Superstar rappers Lil Wayne, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Soulja Boy, and others openly boast about drinking sizzurp, leading young fans to emulate their actions. Justin Bieber also enjoys drinking sizzurp and is reportedly addicted to the opiate drug.

Unfortunately, the fallout among celebs is often ignored. For example, Lil Wayne suffered sizzurp-related seizures last year that required a lengthy hospitalization. Additionally, rapper 2 Chainz was busted at LAX after TSA officers found codeine syrup in his checked bags. He now faces felony charges and up to three years in prison.

“Soulja got the juice. They say the streets dry. I say you gotta be kiddin me. I serve everybody.”-Soulja Boy

Reaction to the News

Reaction to Activis’ announcement was mixed. For example, Soulja Boy took to his Instagram account, posting a photo of six Actavis cough syrup bottles and the message “Soulja got the juice. They say the streets dry. I say you gotta be kiddin me. I serve everybody.”

Rapper Lil Boosie, on the other hand, totally supports its demise. Calling sizzurp a “great-tasting way to die,” the rap star and former addict says pulling codeine syrup off the market “will save lives.” And he would know – Boosie overdosed on sizzurp four times.

Black Market Possibilities

Now that prescription Promethazine Codeine cough syrup will no longer be available, it’s likely to become an expensive black market item. Illegal Actavis syrup was already selling for $800, but that price will likely go up. TMZ is even reporting one rapper has offered his “dealer” a hefty $100,000 to round up all the Actavis cough syrup possible. Experts hope the lack of product and subsequent black market prices will decrease sizzurp use.


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