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Purple Drank: Promethazine and Codeine

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Prescription strength cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine causes a sedated state and is most widely known for being abused by our athletes and individuals in the music industry. Johnny Jolly, ex-Green Bay Packers football player, is spending time in prison due to his addiction to purple drank. He struggled with the drug in high school and his addiction resurfaced after his first season in the NFL. Jolly was injured in 2007 which contributed to his developing a dependency on the cough syrup to kill his physical pain. In 2008, he returned to play for the Packers and in that same year his sister was murdered which led to him turning to the syrup to kill his emotional pain. Jolly also learned that he could take the drug before games and still play well; however, he got arrested at a routine traffic stop with 200 grams of codeine in his car. He is spending 6 years in prison.  Jolly is in prison but is currently drug free and reports that he will attempt to return to the NFL, redeeming his life that was lost to the purple drank. Our music industry, mainly rap artists, also promote the use of this drug in some of their lyrics. DJ Screw died in 2000 at the age of 29 and is accredited with popularizing this concoction along with a chopped and screwed style of rap. He died of an overdose of codeine mixed with other drugs. Presently, artists are still rapping about this cough syrup, the most famous being Lil’ Wayne. He is outspoken about his addiction to prescription cough syrup and his infractions with the law also seem like notches on his belt. The entertainment industry capitalizes on the addict’s addicted life because of the love of money. We jeopardize our youth by predisposing them to mixed messages about drugs and alcohol by endorsing these entertainers.


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