You've probably heard the phrase "sippin syrup," used in reference to the act of mixing cough syrup, codeine, and soda together to create a relaxed feeling within the person who consumes the beverage. The "drank" has become quite popular, particularly in the south, as rappers have done their jobs of giving free promotion to an illegal product that has managed to make teenagers even less productive than many of them already are.
It was only a matter of time before corporate America stepped in to make money off the trend. Meet the new drink on store shelves: Sippin Syrup.
The drink doesn't use any illegal products, but produces the same "lean" effect that many young people seek from the cough syrup product on the street. Harmless enough, right? Not so fast.
Officers in the Houston area are concerned that the product sold on store shelves is nothing more than a gateway to an incredibly dangerous and addictive drug. The snazzy ad campaign fully leverages the power of the brand of "purple stuff" being sold on the streets already. Teenagers who can't get the real stuff would likely be enticed by the substitute until the door is open for the actual product.
I spoke with Dr. Elaina George
, a prominent physician out of Atlanta, about the dangers of seemingly harmless purple "drank" used by many teenagers across the country after watching Lil Wayne videos (and those of other artists who promote the cough syrup mixture being sold illegally). Here is what she had to say about the symptoms:
"Short-term symptoms include Impaired judgment, nausea, loss of coordination, headache, vomiting, loss of consciousness, numbness of fingers and toes, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, aches, seizures, panic attacks, psychosis, euphoria, cold flashes, dizziness, and diarrhea."
Oh, I forgot to mention, the symptoms mentioned above are assuming your child doesn't become addicted. Here are the long-term symptoms in the advent of addiction:
"Restlessness, insomnia, high-blood pressure, coma, or even death."
I understand capitalist models and can almost appreciate the logic that leads companies to find even more ways to exploit ridiculous behavior in the black community
. We are an intelligent and enlightened people, even if everyone can't see the light. But there is also the question regarding whether or not there should be regulations in place to stop companies from so blatantly utilizing an unhealthy trend to make a profit. What if my company went to Montana, where Crystal Meth is a serious problem and started to sell a product called "Meth Lite"? How fast would the Montana state legislature put me out of business?
When it comes to "Sippin Syrup," "drinking drank" and getting the "purple stuff," the bottom line is this: Companies should not be allowed to accelerate teen drug abuse and rappers should be conscientious enough to stop giving this drug free promotion. Teenagers are sheep who follow the examples which already exist in their culture. If we are making the bed for them, then who do we blame when they choose to sleep in it? The new drink in stores called "Sippin Syrup" needs to be taken off the market NOW.Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University, a leading black speaker, and author of the forthcoming book, "Black American Money." To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.