Purple Drink

Promethazine and Codeine containing cough syrup abuse has become popular in certain circles, especially in Houston and the South. Mixed with soft drinks and soda, it is drank and taken in high doses creating a euphoric effect that can "slow" people down. This relatively new phenomenon of abuse is different from over-the-counter cough syrups such as Robitussin DM which contains dextromethorphan. The promethazine and codeine cough syrups are available only by prescription, but as with many drugs, people are finding legal and illegal ways to find it.

A Potent Combination

The euphoric effect of this cough syrup is achieved in taking relatively large amounts and can be traced to the two ingredients promethazine and codeine. 5 mL of cough syrup usually contains 10 mg of codeine and 6.25 mg of promethazine.

What is Promethazine?

Promethazine is an anti-histamine and also acts to fight the nausea caused by the narcotic codeine. It can cause respiratory depression and the FDA warns that it can cause lethal respiratory depression in babies. Promethazine also causes significant drowsiness and can therefore make driving very dangerous. For legitimate use, adults usually take 25 to 50 milligrams of promethazine for nighttime or presurgical sedation.

Codeine Overdose

Codeine is an opiate derivative with anti-cough properties and the other active ingredient that makes this type of cough syrup sough after. The most popular purple colored and grape flavored version of this syrup has 60mg of codeine per liquid ounce making it one of the strongest codeine laced cough syrups. Codeine can enhance the effects of alcohol and in high doses have the same dangers and effects as morphine. It can cause respiratory depression which can lead to the potential fatal consequences of overdose. People can loss consciousness and have convulsions. Those with prior respiratory problems such as asthma face even higher risks. Codeine is considered toxic at 240 mg for adults. Another common side effect is the reduction in sex drive and increased complications with erectile dysfunction.


As tolerance for the drugs builds, higher and higher doses are required to feel similar effects. In this cough syrup combination, promethazine can actually double the amount of codeine that affects the body. Furthermore, carbonated drinks make the body absorb even more by pushing it through the stomach lining to the part containing blood vessels.

The major danger of cough syrup abuse is the high potential for addiction. Like morphine or other opiates, regular consumption of codeine can result in chemical dependency. Taken over a period of time, the body's central nervous system will stop producing pain killers, or endorphins, naturally because it is receiving opiates instead. Then these inactive nerve cells degenerate and when the body no longer produces pain killers on its own, the addiction begins. When a user wants to quit, it often means a painful withdrawal period or an unpleasant medically supervised detox. Even then, relapse is always a danger without proper counseling and support.

Get off Syrup! Learn how: http://www.choosehelp.com/detox/codeine-and-promethazine-detox-cough-syr...

Author's Bio: 

Christian Shire is an expert author for substance abuse issues. His work is published online at www.choosehelp.com.