Teen usage of cold and cough medicines to get high is a major problem in the U.S., reports the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Any fan of The Basketball Diaries can tell you that barely legals have used over-the-counter meds to get high since the dawn of NyQuil, but a recent study by SAMHSA shows that the number of people age 12-25 who use large doses of cold medicine to create hallucinations is at about 3.1 million. Many adolescents are mixing the cold medicines with other substances — like Britney with her "purple drank" of vodka, NyQuil and Red Bull — but the key ingredient to cause hallucinations in large doses is the cough suppressant DXM.
The prevalence of cough syrup abuse (both over the counter and prescription) is high enough to have spawned a dozen nicknames, including, but not limited to: Sizzurp, Drank, Purple Tonic, Southern Lean, Texas Tea, Memphis Mud, Mrs. Dranklesworth, Tsikuni, Lean, Syrup, P-Flav, Slip, Purple Sprite, PG Tips, and Purp.
In the 12 to 17 age group, according to MSNBC, girls are the biggest abusers of the Purp, but after age 17, the majority of abuse shifts to young men. Let's just hope none of these young girls is addicted to the Sizzurp, because how lame would it be to have to go to rehab for your Robitussin habit?