November 22, 2017  Last Update: December 21, 2016, 11:10 pm

Purple Drank is Dead

Purple Drank, the infamous mix of Sprite and rainbow-colored Jolly Ranchers, plus of course promethazine and codeine, is dead.

Purple Drank, the infamous mix of Sprite and rainbow-colored Jolly Ranchers, plus of course promethazine and codeine, is dead.

Should we say “good riddance” to the infamous “Purple Dank”, a concoction made from codeine-rich cough syrup and Sprite or other sweet additives, plus colorful lesser ingredients? Actavis, the speciality pharmaceutical company behind the most-favored and infamous sweet-tasting purple cough medicine containing promethazine with codeine, bought out it’s nearest competitor Aplharma a few years ago, and has now stopped making any prometh + codeine syrup products.

“Purple Drank” is the street name that became a meme on the Internet, coming out of a southern hip-hop music subculture. The act of “sippin’ syrup” and “getting chopped and screwed” was popularized by industry figureheads in Houston, and spread. Artists looked to the codeine concoction to “slow everything down”. The  high was said to support the creative process for them.

While ska and zydeco was pushing up the beat speeds, the chopped and screwed community slowed it down…  and fans followed along, consuming their own variations of the “purple drank” made with Jolly Ranchers candy, skittles, and other colorful additives. But it was always on an essential base of “prometh with codeine”made by Actavis. According to pharmacists, the consumer preference was very specific to the Actavis brand of promothazine plus codeine. That was the genyu-wine syrup for making Purple Drank. 

"Actavis is top notch; best taste by far."
- Drug forum poster, lamenting difficulty getting real Actavis syrup

 And now it’s gone. Of course there are other ways to mix codeine into a sweet syrup, but at least one major component of the subculture of sipping downers via sweet syrup is dead.

Purple Drank is dead... no more sweet syrupy codeine from Actavis.
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In this video, Houston artist Kirko Bangz laments “More people know about the damn drink in my cup than they know about me…”. Towards the end, via imagery as well as words, he acknowledges that drinking the drank is a form of self-medicating. Clearly.

 

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