What parents should know about purple drank

DETROIT – Purple drank -- it's a sweet-tasting drink with a powerful punch that has garnered the attention of rap artists, professional athletes and teens. It can also be very dangerous and is listed as a banned narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

It's made by mixing soda pop, like Sprite or crème soda, with candy.

The secret ingredient? Cough syrup. And it's not just over-the-counter cough syrups. The mixture is also made with prescription cough syrup. Not only is it illegal to use prescription medication for its unintended use, but Local 4's Dr. Frank McGeorge said the mixture could be deadly.

"You run the risk of causing someone to lose consciousness, vomit, aspirate their vomit, and, frankly, die," McGeorge said. "There are a ton of really bad things that can happen when you mix drugs that. All by themselves might not seem quite so bad, but together they become monumentally dangerous."

It's been known that people drink cough syrup to get a buzz, but now that purple drank is popping up on social media in lyrics and music videos, officials are warning parents to talk to their children about it.

"I do see that lot of these young kids are really abusing this stuff and are not afraid to share that on social media," said Detroit Crime Commission Director of Intelligence Lyle Dungy.

Warning signs

  • Changes in friends, physical appearance, sleeping or eating patterns
  • Declining grades
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other favorite activities
  • Hostile or uncooperative attitude
  • Unusual chemical or medicinal smells

Additional resources