What is Codeine Syrup? - KMSP-TV

What is Codeine Syrup?

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Former Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell was arrested and accused of possession of a controlled substance, a charge could seriously affect his chances of getting re-employed.

Mobile (Ala.) County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lori Myles told the Mobile Register that Russell was arrested on Monday for possessing codeine syrup, Alabama Live.com reported.

He was arrested at his home during an undercover investigation after police could not find a prescription for the codeine. He was released from Mobile Metro Jail after making $2,500 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 20.

Yahoo! sports blog Shutdown Corner said that codeine syrup is also known as "purple drank," "lean" or "sizzurp" and typically contains codeine and promethazine.

The illegal recreational drug popular has been linked to the rap music community, especially in the South. Its main ingredients are prescription-strength cough syrup containing codeine and promethazine, a carbonated soft drink such as Sprite or fruit juice, and Jolly Rancher candies, which contribute to the drink's color.

Houston producer DJ Screw first made the drink popular in hip hop culture. ESPN said the drink was popularized in the 1990s by Screw, who died of an overdose.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine said that codeine is used to relieve mild to moderate pain or mixed with other medications to reduce coughing. It belongs to a family of drugs known as opiate or narcotic analgesics and is habit-forming.

Promethazine is an antihistimine. Both promethazine and codeine can cause sedation and altered levels of consciousness when used in large quantities.

Russell, who played high school football in Mobile, Ala., and attended Louisiana State University, was the No. 1 draft pick for the Raiders in 2007. He had a record of 7-18 as a starting quarterback and but was released by the team in May.

Shutdown Corner blogger MJD called Russell "one of the biggest draft busts of all time." He said Russell was hoping to sign a contract with an NFL team, which could be seriously affected by the arrest.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say that this is a career-ender, but anyone who was even thinking about signing Russell probably just put that idea on the backburner," he wrote.

He suggested that possibly the arrest could be a positive if it makes Russell think seriously about his career.

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