Lil Wayne hospitalization puts spotlight on 'sizzurp' - Fox 2 News Headlines

Lil Wayne hospitalization puts spotlight on 'sizzurp'

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PHOENIX -

Before this weekend, a lot of parents may have never heard of "sizzurp." The codeine cocktail is said to have landed rapper Lil Wayne in the ICU in California.

TMZ is reporting that Lil Wayne is still in the intensive care unit being treated for seizures that may have been triggered by an overdose of codeine.

But just because parents may have not heard of the drink doesn't mean local teens aren't indulging in it. We spoke with an addiction specialist about the dangers of sizzurp.

Sizzurp isn't anything new in the hip hop world, but what's happening with Lil Wayne is giving the drug mixture a new focus.

It's essentially codeine, which is part of the same family as heroin and other opium based drugs.

"If you take codeine for a cough you take it for a couple of days. The cough gets better, you stop taking it. In this case it is being had as a beverage recreationally throughout the day several days in a row. So it represents bingeing on opiates for days and days at a time," says Dr. Ravi Chandiramani of Journey Healing Centers.

Dr. Ravi Chandiramani is an addiction specialist and says kicking a codeine habit can be very difficult.

"If you take a heroin addict off the street and say, you can't have your heroin, they are going to get sick. So a lot of these folks get in a situation where they get hooked on it and if they try to stop they experience opiate withdrawal. Feel miserable. Have no choice but it get it fixed."

The problem here is that codeine-based cough syrup is only available through a prescription.

Typically the drug is mixed with a fruity beverage or a soda, and that creates the codeine based cocktail that people who like sizzurp will drink all night long.

If you have cough syrup with codeine at home, the doctor recommends you keep locked up.

"I don't want to see this in the treatment centers, it is terrible," says Dr. Ravi Chandiramani. "It represents more abuse of the system, and people finding ways to get hooked on things that are supposed to be legal and have a therapeutic benefit. And it puts a bad spotlight on things that have a truly beneficial effect on people who really need them."

Usually when you take cough syrup you only use a teaspoon or two, but sizzurp users usually take an ounce or two of cough syrup. That's about 16 teaspoons.

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