What is Couch Syrup?

what is couch syrup

Couch Syrup, that’s right couch not cough, although it is in actuality cough syrup, refers to a specific kind of liquid cough medicine – that containing promethazine and codeine. This is a by-prescription-only medication that people have been using recreationally and abusing. This is not your typical over-the-counter cough syrup; couch syrup contains potent drugs that can lead to overdose and death.

Couch syrup has many other slang names such as purple drank, sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, purple jelly, and Texas tea.

First called purple drank, couch syrup has been a popular recreational drug in the rap and hip hop community in the southern United States, originating in Houston, Texas. Couch syrup is made more palatable by being mixed with soft drinks such as Sprite or Mountain Dew. Purple drank gets its name from the purplish hue from the dye in the cough syrup.

Couch Syrup Can Be Fatal

Both the codeine and the more potent promethazine are depressants which mean that they slow down the functions of the Central Nervous System (CNS), namely respiration. When overdose occurs, breathing slows to a complete stop. The person goes into respiratory arrest and then cardiac arrest. This is when death occurs.

Just like with other CNS depressants, mixing couch syrup with alcohol greatly increases the risk of respiratory failure and death.

Notable Deaths

Couch syrup has been either a confirmed or suspected  cause of death among several well-known people. DJ Screw, who popularized the codeine-based drink, died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose on November 16, 2000, several months after the video to Three 6 Mafia’s single debuted.

Big Moe, one of DJ Screw’s successors died at age 33 in 2007, after suffering a heart attack and subsequently being in a coma. He was known to obsess over couch syrup and purple drank in his lyrics; this is apparent in his album titles: City of Syrup and Purple World. Needless to say, there was speculation that purple drank contributed to his death.

Couch Syrup and Alcoholism

According to the Urban Dictionary, couch syrup is “the liquor one hides in a couch (and throughout the house) while pretending to be sober.” This implies its relationship to an already well-known problem: alcoholism.

Signs of Alcoholism

If you are drinking couch syrup or alcohol and find that the following descriptions apply to you, then you should consider that your use is more than social or recreational.

If you:

  • can’t quit drinking or control how much alcohol you drink
  • need to drink more to get the same effect
  • have withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking (nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety)
  • spend a lot of time drinking and recovering from drinking
  • have given up other activities in order to drink
  • keep drinking even though it cause problems in your relationships
  • keep drinking even though it is causing health problems

 Other red flags include:

  • Drinking in the morning and/or drinking alone
  • Switching from beer to wine because you think this will keep you from drinking or from getting drunk
  • Feeling guilty because of your drinking
  • Making excuses for your drinking
  • Buying alcohol from different stores and locations
  • Worrying that you won’t have enough alcohol for an evening, weekend, or holiday












If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.

Alcohol Abuse in the Music Industry

Alcohol Abuse in The Music Industry

Drug and alcohol abuse in the music industry has long been sort of an accepted part of the culture.  How many famous musicians have overdosed on drugs and alcohol? How many more have waged battles against addiction, checking in and out of rehab so many times we’ve lost count?

The culture not only tolerates substance abuse, it almost demands it. Many people in the music industry worry if they turn their back on the party they will lose what makes their music good or what makes them appealing to their fans.

But the culture of drug and alcohol abuse in the music industry is undergoing a major transition across the entire musical landscape, according to artists, managers and others in the industry.  There is a higher degree of awareness now, and people are starting to recognize that even recreational use can kill you.

I recently spoke to a women who had spent her entire career working for the music industry. She said,

“It used to be so common, 20 years ago, to drink and do drugs on the job. We’d have entire days devoted towards a certain type of alcohol-like beer Wednesdays or vodka Fridays. Every executive had a full bar in the office and drinking was almost a requirement of the job.”

Then, she says, the landscape started to change.

“The constant drinking slowed, started to become taboo. There was still a group of us who did cocaine every day, but we could no longer do it out in the open. We started going to the bathroom together. Everyone knew what we were doing, but we couldn’t do it on our desks anymore. Executives stopped offering us drinks when we walked into the office. Things just changed.”

Kate* is now in a sober living facility after spending 90 days in an inpatient treatment center.

Part of the change may have to do with the economy, Kate says.

“Everyone is worried about the bottom line, and everyone has to be accountable. When the music industry stopped making as much money, everyone started to focus on productivity.”

More artists have also gone public with their addictions, and addiction is recognized for what it is- a disease. Gratuitous alcohol abuse in the music industry is no longer encouraged and rewarded as it once was.  It is now considered cool for artists to take care of themselves and live a healthy lifestyle.

In the mid-1980s, Aerosmith broke down the door that made it okay for big-name artists to go public with their sobriety. In the years since, several other artists have made their sobriety known.

In the 90’s, the Safe Harbor Room-a backstage area that provides a support system to artists and crew members struggling with addiction issues was instituted at the Grammy Awards. Today, Safe Harbor Room program has been extended to South by Southwest, the NAMM convention, Coachella, Ozzfest, the CMA Awards and other events.

Other programs, like Road Recovery, have made it easier for artists to use a drug-free road crew.







If you need help with your addiction give us a call now at 1-800-984-4003.