Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Lingo Tip: Sizzurp

Seizures were ostensibly the cause of the hospital admission and emergency medical treatment of Lil Wayne, a popular rap artist, a few months ago. TMZ reported that these seizures were drug related and may have been connected to a high amount of codeine in his system. He’s not taking the pills, however. If the lyrics of his music are any indication, he has a strong liking for “sizzurp,” prescription cough syrup with codeine that is mixed with something sweet, like soda or candy, says The Atlantic.

But it’s not just a problem for young rap stars. “Sizzurp” is a drug that is rapidly rising in popularity among young people across the country.


Due in part to Lil Wayne’s marketing of the drug in his music, sizzurp is often abused by young boys who think it’s fun to get high, funny to say the word sizzurp, and prefer the taste of the sweetened cough syrup to beer or liquor.

It’s not just the codeine in the syrup that is problematic. Many prescription cough syrups also include the ingredient promethazine, which is a sedative that can lower the threshold for seizures in those who take the medication. Overusing the drug can increase the rate of seizures in users, especially for those who have a predisposition to them.

The combination of medications in the cough syrup and the purposeful high doses taken in an effort to get high are making sizzurp a problem in communities both large and small.

Combining Drugs

One of the biggest threats to young people who take prescription drugs like cough syrup with codeine or promethazine is that they often take them in combination with other drugs of abuse, including alcohol. Most kids get high in a social setting. At a party, they’ll take the cough syrup and then they’ll drink the beer handed to them or smoke the joint that’s passed their way. The combination of multiple substances can be overwhelming to the system, and the chance of overdose rises significantly with each new drug added to the mix.

Your Son and Social Drug Abuse

What kind of music does your son listen to? What do the lyrics say? What about the music his friends listen to? Getting to know the bands and the songs can help you to better understand what’s influencing your child’s choices.

If you’re concerned about your son, talk to him about it, and if you believe that he’s following in the footsteps of rapper or singer who promotes drinking or drug abuse, don’t wait to intervene. Contact us at Muir Wood today and find out more about our therapeutic intervention and treatment opportunities here in Northern California.