A middle school in a quiet, leafy Washington, D.C. suburb sent half a dozen students to the hospital last week after the youngsters consumed unknown quantities of “purple drank.”
The incident occurred on Friday at Francis Scott Key Middle School in Silver Spring, Md., reports local CBS affiliate WUSA.
Between 12 and 15 students exhibited symptoms of intoxication. School officials sent this gaggle of kids to the nurse’s office.
From there, school district spokesman Derek Turner told WUSA, six of the kiddos were deemed so sufficiently buzzed that authorities sent them to a nearby hospital out of “an abundance of caution.”
“They had ingested we believe a mixture of alcohol and some other things,” Pete Piringer of the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service told the station.
A police spokesman identified the specific components of the mixture as NyQuil, vodka and Jolly Ranchers.
The kids brought the mash “from home,” Turner said.
Francis Scott Key Middle School sits amid clusters of well-kept colonial-style homes on streets with names like Burnt Ember Drive and Blossom Lane.
In its traditional form, “purple drank” is a beverage made from prescription-strength cough syrup featuring promethazine and codeine, some Sprite or Mountain Dew and Jolly Rancher candies (and ice).
The purple hue — and thus the name — of purple drank stems from dye in the cough syrup.
Effects of purple drank include mild euphoria, jumpiness, extreme drowsiness and an odd numbing of the nervous system.
A purple drank purist would never add alcohol to his refreshment. However, notes Urban Dictionary, the purple drank phenomenon now includes versions containing vodka and other spirits.
Purple drank is illegal. Nevertheless, scores and scores of videos on YouTube and other social media platforms show people — many of them teenagers — making and consuming batches of the concoction.
The libation is most popular in the American South — particularly among rap and hip-hop aficionados.
Three 6 Mafia, a Memphis, Tenn. hip-hop group, first popularized purple drank with a song called “Sippin On Some Syrup.” The video has almost 6 million videos on YouTube.
Other names for purple drank include “sizzurp,” “lean,” “purple stuff,” “Memphis mud” and “purple jelly.”
Rapper Lil Wayne has suffered seizures related to purple drank consumption, according to TMZ. Wayne was also addicted to the beverage as recently as 2013, according Mic.com. The rapper wanted to quit, he said, but it’s really hard because not consuming purple drank feels like death is happening inside his stomach. (RELATED: Rapper Lil Wayne Advises Teachers Not Use The Rhymes He Busts As A Teaching Tool)