'Sizzurp' a toxic cocktail that poses dangers for teens - WFSB 3 Connecticut

'Sizzurp' a toxic cocktail that poses dangers for teens

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HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A deadly drink made popular by young celebrities has made headlines again.

Doctors said the drug-laced drink "sizzurp" is a toxic cocktail that poses a number of health risks.

After rumors that pop star Justin Bieber may be addicted to it, they decided to re-issue their warnings.

"Sizzurp is perceived to be very safe and very popular in pop culture," said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist at Hartford Hospital. "So kids will be listening to songs where rappers talk about drinking sizzurp."

Doctors said the drink also goes by the names "lean" or "purple drank." It's a potentially lethal cocktail made with codeine cough syrup, which is a controlled substance.

However, doctors said just because they can prescribe cough medicine, the notion that it's safe in a drink is a scary misconception.

"Anything taken in doses in excess of what's recommended can be dangerous," Johnson-Arbor said.

Mixing it with alcohol or other drugs only makes the drink riskier, doctors said.

They said overdosing is not difficult because it's hard to taste whether it's been made too strong, similar to a sugary alcoholic cocktail.

"It's sweet so you're going to keep drinking more and more of it," said Johnson-Arbor.

Sizzurp gained popularity in songs by the rapper Lil' Wayne. Early last year, police said he had a brush with death from an overdose. Doctors said his hospitalization did not curb the behavior.

"It's probably not going anywhere because it's a popular thing," warned Johnson-Arbor.

She said high doses of the drink can slow the body's necessary functions to a crawl. It can also cause a person's heart rate to drop and breathing to slow. Some people can hallucinate while others can slip into a coma and even die.

Johnson-Arbor said it can take just three days to develop an addiction. Once hooked, abusers are left with a tough road to recovery with difficult withdrawal symptoms.

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