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Mac Miller and The Dangers of Purple Drank

Rapper Mac Miller met his young and unexpected death at the age of 26. Apparently Miller, real name Malcolm James McCormick, died due to a suspected drug overdose, although the actual cause is yet to be announced. Several artists in the music industry expressed their regrets and paid tributes to Miller’s sudden demise.

In the past, the rapper had been open about his substance abuse struggles and his determination to stay sober. His primary struggle was with a certain drink called “purple drank” which is a mix of soda (usually Sprite), codeine or promethazine syrup (a.k.a cough syrup), and ice. This struggle became apparent when Mac Miller and Ariana Grande (his girlfriend and collaborator) ended their relationship earlier this year. The “No Tears Left to Cry” singer shared that while she was somewhat scared of their relationship back then due to its toxicity, she still “cared for him and tried to support his sobriety… for years.”

Mac Miller and His Struggle with Sobriety

In one of his interviews back in 2013, Miller revealed he was unhappy and used to drink “lean” heavily. Lean is another slang term for purple drank and sizzurp, among other names. His friends were constantly worried about his excessive lean consumption. He initially tried quitting cold turkey several times but ended up going back to his old ways.

He admitted that he took purple drank as a way to deal with pressure during his 2012 Macadelic tour at that time. Throughout his career, Miller struggled with the grasp of his addictions, including excessive lean consumption. Fortunately, Miller was able to give up his purple drank obsession back in November 2012, which was described by his close friend, Jimmy Murton, as “one of the most impressive things he has ever done.”

Mac also admitted using other drugs other than sizzurp. In one of his interviews in 2016, Miller shared he’s the type of person who doesn’t say no to peer pressure. Once he liked something, he can buy a lot of it because he has a lot of money, he said. He first tried “weed”, but instead of making him relax, it made him more paranoid. As a result, he used more drugs to douse that feeling.

As time on though, Mac Miller opened up further about his feelings of sobriety. He hated “being sober” but he also said he was motivated to stay that way because the idea of overdosing on drugs “is just not cool”, and that “you don’t go down in history because you overdose. You just die.

And then it happened. Mac Miller’s lifeless body was found at his San Fernando Valley, California home at around noon of September 7, 2018. He was just 26 and had just released his last album, Swimming, weeks ago.

The Dangers of Purple Drank

So, what is this drink that has become the subject of controversy following Mac Miller’s untimely passing?

For starters, purple drank, also called sizzurp, lean, purple stuff, barre, dirty Sprite, and purp, involves mixing over-the-counter prescription cough syrup, soda and sometimes candy. It comes in a deep purple color which many would think of as a grape-flavored beverage if they’re not aware of its true nature. You may have encountered purple drank in some of the most popular songs today.

Artists often glorify drinking sizzurp as a way to feel high, as well as a good binge-party beverage. Mac Miller is not the only one who is reportedly into this tempting mixture. Other famous artists such as Lil Wayne, Soulja Boy, Rob Kardashian, and Justin Bieber are or were also reportedly into this purple beverage. In effect, it can be alarming to the public, as these artists have the capability to influence their social media followers with their respective lifestyles.

What makes purple drank more dangerous than many substances is that it’s easy to make, despite it containing some very dangerous ingredients. For instance, codeine is a type of opioid commonly used in analgesics and cough syrups. Since it’s a kind of opioid, one of its side effects includes the feeling of euphoria. Likewise, promethazine is also found in some cough syrups. It is known for its anti-vomiting, antihistamine, and sedating effects.

It is mainly the codeine content of purple drank that causes addiction. Although codeine is legally used to relieve pain, it can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Cough medications, on the other hand, can be bought over the counter without a prescription.

Some cough syrups used to make lean contain dextromethorphan (DXM) known to suppress a cough. Nonetheless, these substances can lead to sedation and impaired motor functioning especially when consumed in large doses.

Another more alarming attribute of lean is that it is said to taste like candy, hence users would crave for more. In effect, they would unknowingly consume it in large doses, affect their system, and may even result in death. In that case, Mac Miller was right – overdosing on substances and questionable concoctions such as purple drank are not cool at all.

Symptoms and Side Effects

For those who are not aware of how purple drank can be dangerous, it may be just another fancy-looking drink. However, users may experience several symptoms and side effects that can be life-threatening. After all, purple drank, when consumed excessively, can do more harm than good.

Among common symptoms of codeine abuse includes the following:

  • Cramps

  • Anxiety attacks

  • Excessive yawning

  • Appetite loss

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

When taken in larger doses, sizzurp may lead to the following side effects:

  • Rapid breathing

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Vision problems

  • Slurred speech

  • Cognitive and memory problems

  • Coma

The effects can be more devastating if you mix it with alcohol and other substances such as caffeine or sugar. It can make the drink more irresistible due to the fusion of tastes, it may not be long before you suffer the consequences.

Staying Away

There are several factors that may have led Mac Miller to use drugs and purple drank. We all know how hectic celebrities’ schedules are and the amount of pressure they feel to continuously put out good work, hence they find ways to wind down and relax their nerves after a long day at work.

Unfortunately, it appears Miller succumbed to the devastating effects of addiction even after years of struggling to get away from it. We don’t really know the reason of his death, but his death – along with others who shared the same fate – should serve as a lesson for people who use drugs and consuming questionable concoctions which can ruin their lives.  Those struggling with addiction should always have someone to turn to for support, whether it is family and friends or an inpatient rehab facility.

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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