Sizzurp is being pulled from shelves, yes, but don't panic. Not all candy-flavored cough syrups are being taken away from us, and it's not becoming illegal. Not moreso anyway.
The only syrup being taken away, and the only true "Lean," or "Sizzurp," is the one manufactured by Actavis, known as "Prometh," a variety of promethazine codeine syrup that is purple, usually with an orange label. Sometimes it came with a purple label, and I know hindsight is 20/20, but that purple is much better for branding.
The FDA still allows promethazine, a regulated, prescription only, un-scheduled drug. So if you can get a prescription for it, and then you mix it with codeine, which is also still legal, you can make genuine and by some accounts legal, though extremely sketchy, dangerous and inadvisable Lean of your own. If you do, you did it of your own accord, not because we told you to, but feel free to let us know how it went.
So while it's still legal, Actavis nonetheless removed their Syrup from the market. They released a weirdly masturbatory statement explaining their actions:
"Actavis has made the bold and unprecedented decision to cease all production and sales of its Promethazine Codeine product. This attention has glamorized the unlawful and dangerous use of the product, which is contrary to its approved indication."
Such a brave pharmaceutical corporation. I'm sure it has nothing to do with fear of litigation. They have to pick their legal battles, and fight the ones they can win, like last month's victory over Pfizer.
I'm reminded of methaqualone, also known as Quaaludes, and its long path to nonexistence. Rorer, Inc. who had sold the Quaalude name to Lemmon in the 1970s commented that because of their double duty as a sleeping pill and a club drug, "Quaalude accounted for less than 2 percent of our sales, but created 98 percent of our headaches." After being renamed, and rebranded, they were finally taken off the market voluntarily in 1985, something that makes Actavis' decision seem a little less "bold and unprecedented," right?
Unlike methaqualone, which faded away when Quaalude, its brand name counterpart, ceased existing, promethazine as a generic is popular in other forms. Phenadoz, for instance, is a suppository version of promethazine you can still get a prescription for.
Image via Soulja Boy's Instagram
Is promethazine so popular that it will endure after its most convenient form was pulled from pharmacies? Will Justin Bieber resort to sticking it in his butthole now that he can no longer drink it? I asked an anonymous user to give me his account of a Lean experience. Funnily enough, it sounds a lot like Quaaludes, as described by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street:
He told me, "You get really sleepy but if you fight the urge to sleep its a really crazy high. It didn't work for me, but the guy I did it with was a pizza delivery driver and he would always keep a 2 liter of 7up in his car during his shifts. He would put about 1/4 of a bottle of cough syrup in the 7up with a handful of jolly ranchers and drink that all night. Then he would basically show the symptoms of a drunk person but with more slurred speech. I don't know how he's still alive."
Much like Jordan Belfort hoarding discontinued Quaaludes, Soulja Boy has reassured fans that he still has sizzurp. He wrote on Instagram, "Soulja got the juice. They say the streets dry. I say you gotta be kiddin me. I serve everybody."
So sizzurp, with its newfound position as an exotic novelty, is poised to become the new Quaaludes. Despite not being all that great, it'll go for exorbitant prices, and only the rich and well-connected will be able to get their hands on it. TMZ (for what it's worth) says "one prominent rapper has already offered his dealer up to $100,000 to get whatever he can."
Image via Flickr user Joe Loong
But for all I know, online retailers are still stocked up. Sites like actavispromethsyruponline.com are still running, although judging from the snowflake-intensive graphic design, they haven't updated their site since the holidays. What's more though, the kids can still get into plenty of trouble on dextromethorphan cough syrup, which is available over-the-counter.
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