Pupils fall victim to new drug

2018-03-06 06:00
PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeEmpty cool-drink and cough syrup (containing codeine) bottles in a deserted building in Wyebank.

PHOTO: nosipho mkhizeEmpty cool-drink and cough syrup (containing codeine) bottles in a deserted building in Wyebank.

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ACONCERNED businessperson has warned parents to be on the lookout for the new drug mix trending in schools known as “purple drank” or “sizzurp”.

This comes after he saw hundreds of empty cool-drink and cough syrup (containing codeine) bottles in a deserted building in Wyebank near Hillcrest.

“I went to view the building because I am planning on buying the property to open another business in Wyebank. However, when I got inside the building I was shocked to see hundreds of cough syrup and cool-drink bottles lying on the floor. I started to ask people about this. My children explained to me that this drug is popular at schools. Pupils mix cough syrup and cool drink to get high,” he said. “I am really concerned about this matter because after investigation, I discovered that someone is selling the cough syrup to these children for R30 per bottle. I wonder how that person gets the cough syrup because you can only obtain it with a prescription. I’m asking the community to be alert because someone is really making good money by destroying these children. The community needs to work together in catching the culprit so he or she can be brought to book,” he said.

According to the drugabuse.com website, the prescription cough syrups used to make purple drank present the most danger because they often contain codeine.

Another active ingredient in some prescription cough syrups is promethazine, an antihistamine that causes sedative effects and can impair motor functioning. When the drug is mixed as a liquid to drink, users can easily lose track of how much of the active drug they have consumed since the cough syrup is masked by pleasant or familiar flavours from the cool drinks.

Purple drank side effects may gradually worsen as a person drinks more of the concoction. However, first-time users may also notice side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, nausea and memory problems. Regular purple drank use can cause additional widespread health issues such as dental decay, constipation, weight gain and urinary-tract infections.

South African National Council on Alcoholism (Sanca) director Walter Petersen said purple drank is an old drug that’s now come in a new packet.

Cough syrup is a prescription drug which is normally meant for certain ailments and it is safe to use, however, codeine is a “downer” and is high in caffeine.

“When these pupils take the cough syrup that has codeine, they mix it with fizzy drinks which speed up absorption, which boosts their high. What they don’t realise is that they are damaging their liver and if this sort of drug is taken excessively it could also damage the brain.

“I advise parents not to let their children take medication on their own and to always be vigilant and administer the medication to their child.

“Teenagers must know that it is extremely dangerous to take drugs and they must not fall prey to peer pressure,” he said.

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