Cough Syrup Used For Sizzurp Pulled By Manufacturer

By McCarton Ackerman 04/25/14

The maker of the prescription cough syrup, Actavis, made an "unprecedented decision" following widespread media attention on the abuse of their drug.

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Lil Wayne for Sizzurp. Photo via

Plenty of rappers across the country are in mourning as pharmaceutical company Actavis announced plans to cease production of a cough medicine widely used in the drug concoction known as Sizzurp.

Sizzurp is a combination of prescription cough syrup, hard candy, and sugary soft drinks. Several rappers including Soulja Boy have posted photos of the Actavis bottles on their Instagram accounts, often referring to it as “purple drank” or “lean,” while Justin Bieber also reportedly uses the drug. Although Sizzurp has long been used by teenagers as a cheap way to get high, a representative for Actavis told TMZ that “given [recent media attention], Actavis has made the bold and unprecedented decision to cease all production and sales of its Promethazine Codeine product.”

Although the use of candy and soft drinks can make Sizzurp seem harmless, it’s highly addictive because a single serving of the concoction contains 25 times the recommended dose of codeine. Last year, rapper Lil Wayne allegedly collapsed and suffered multiple seizures over his Sizzurp use, while it’s also reportedly responsible for the deaths of rappers Big Moe in 2007 and Pimp C in 2008. Earlier this month, rapper 2 Chainz was charged with felony drug possession after security officials at LAX found ingredients for Sizzurp in his checked baggage.

“This is a very dangerous drug. It can lead to seizures and essentially lead you to stop breathing,” said Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital. “The sweetness of the soda and candy combined with the drug itself make people want to have this all day long. They just don’t know how much they’ve had throughout the day and by the end, it’s almost too late.”

Actavis’ cough syrup recently sold for around $800 on the black market, but that number will likely increase drastically now that it can no longer be obtained with a prescription.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.