Purple Drank is the slang term used to refer to a drug popular with the hip-hop crowd in the southern U.S. It is made of prescription strength cough syrup, which contains codeine and promethazine (a strong sedative often used to treat insomnia). The syrup is mixed with Jolly Rancher candy and 7up or Sprite soft drinks. The purple hue is caused by the dyes in the cough syrup.
The use of Purple Drank is becoming increasingly popular among professional athletes. In 2008, Green Bay Packers’ Johnny Jolly was arrested for possession of a controlled substance after police pulled him over and found a styrofoam cup emitting a strong aroma of codeine. That arrest aside, Jolly has other drug related issues to deal with including drug use and sales. Houston prosecutors’ evidence against Jolly includes “buying, selling, funding, and transporting illegal narcotics, including cocaine and marijuana” in Harris County from 2006 until May of 2008.
Slang terms for purple drank include lean, syrup, purple jelly, Texas Tea, and drank. Frankly, the entire concoction sounds for the lack of a better word gross. Purple jelly was popularized in the Houston, Texas area by the producer known as DJ Screw. The concoction is not new, however, and was consumed as early as the 60′s and 70′s.