Sizzu,r (perhaps best known from the Three 6 Mafia song “Sippin’ on Some Sizzurp”), is increasingly being taken by kids and older youth to get high. The typical recipe combines soda, candy, and prescription cough syrup such as robitussin.
“This is a very dangerous drug,” Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York told NBC. “It can lead to seizures and essentially lead you to stop breathing.”
Glatter has recently encountered several teens addicted to the drug in his emergency room.
“It’s quite addictive,” Glatter said. “The sweetness of the soda and candy combined with the drug itself makes people want to have this all day long. … They just don’t know how much they’ve had throughout the day and by then, it’s almost too late.”
The drug has come into further popularity thanks to being linked to famed pop singer Justin Bieber. And because it doesn’t take expensive ingredients, youth are drawn to it as an alternative to alcohol or other substances that are also harder to get their hands on.
Other famous musicians linked to the drug include Lil Wayne.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse says that “Abuse of cough medicines, especially ones that contain opioids, can cause an overdose leading to coma or even death. Less grave (but still serious) symptoms include nausea, dizziness, impaired vision, memory loss, hallucinations, and seizures like Lil Wayne experienced.”
Sizzurp was purportedly the cause of death for rappers Pimp C and DJ Screw.
But many stars still include the drug in their song lyrics.
“Kids are seeing this all over — on social media, on the Internet,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. “They’re seeing their favorite music stars talking about this, singing about this and then they turn to the medicine cabinet.”
10 percent of teens admitted using cough syrup or cold medicine to get high, according to a recent Drug Enforcement Administration report.
Parents should warn their kids about the dangers of the drug, experts told NBC.