Purple Drank is an illegal recreational drink popular in the Southern United States rap community, whose main ingredients originally consisted of prescription strength cough syrup, containing codeine and promethazine, and either a carbonated soft drink (generally Sprite) or fruit juice. The purple-ish hue of Purple Drank comes from the dyes in the cough syrup. Recently, the term has expanded to cover mixtures including over-the-counter cough syrup and vodka in place of prescription cough syrup. Other terms for Purple Drank include Barre, Oil, Purple Tonic, Lean (or Southern Lean,) Drank, and Syrup (which is sometimes slangly pronounced as Sizzurp.)
The active ingredient of purple drank is codeine, an opiate medication contained in prescription strength cough syrups due to its antitussive properties. Some prescription cough syrups also contain anti-histamine medications, such as promethazine, which have a mild sedative effect. When taken in large quantities, both medications can lead to sedation and altered levels of consciousness.
Houston producer DJ Screw first popularized the concoction, which is widely attributed as a source of inspiration for the "chopped & screwed" style of hip hop music. Originally, the active ingredient of "Syrup" was cough syrup containing promethazine and codeine. The concoction first gained popularity in the underground Houston, Texas rap scene and later spread to other southern states.