Does Justin Bieber have a drug problem? Since his arrest this week, the public has speculated what has driven such a successful artist to consistently engage in high-risk, dangerous behavior. Well, as the NY Daily News suggests, maybe the young singer is hooked on “sizzurp,” a drink that produces a “slowed down, sleepy high.” But he’s not the only one who indulges in the party drink. Many American teens take the drug, too.
“This is a very dangerous drug,” said Dr. Robert Glatter of Lenox Hill Hospital, according to NBC News' Today.com. “It can lead to seizures and essentially lead you to stop breathing.”
Sizzurp, also known as “purple drank,” “syrup,” and “lean,” is a liquid mixture that usually contains jolly rancher candy, soda, and prescription-strength cough syrup. The active ingredients in prescription cough syrup are codeine and promethazine. Codeine is a pain reliever. Promethazine is a sedative antihistamine. The strongest versions of sizzurp contain codeine and hydrocodone. Sometimes, if the drink is mixed with alcohol or other prescription drugs like Xanax, users’ breathing slows down so much that it can be fatal. "There have been some reports of people dying because they stopped breathing," said Dr. Joseph Lee, according to the Daily News.
Though there are few concrete studies on sizzurp use, The Hollywood Reporter says that a 2012 survey found that 5.5 percent of American 12th graders admitted to getting high from consuming cough medicine in various forms. Recent reports suggest that Bieber’s management team is urging the singer, who is just 19 years old, to go to rehab for prescription drug abuse and overuse of sizzurp. Sizzurp is “quite addictive,” Glatter said, according to Today.com. “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.”
And apparently sizzurp is growing in popularity. Most notably, superstar rapper Lil' Wayne praised the dangerous drink in songs and interviews. However, since enduring a series of health problems last March, the drinker has publicly said that he no longer indulges in the drink. “I had been taking pain pills and those have codeine in them,” Wayne told the Young, Black and Fabulous gossip blog. “I can't do that anymore. Because the doctors said so.”
In any case, hopefully Bieber will get the help for his addiction if he needs it. For now though, he’s still partying it up in Miami.