Numerous Maryland middle school students were hospitalized after drinking a beverage known as "purple drank."
At least a dozen students at Francis Scott Key Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland, were taken for medical evaluations on May 13 after drinking a homemade beverage that allegedly consisted of vodka, NyQuil cough syrup and Jolly Ranchers candy, reports WUSA.
"They had ingested we believe a mixture of alcohol and some other things," said Pete Piringer, spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service.
Although none of the children had life-threatening problems, they were given medical evaluations out of “an abundance of caution,” explained Derek Turner, spokesman of Montgomery County Schools. Students had trouble breathing after consuming the mixture, after which the school nurse called 911, reports WTOP.
"They had just general sickness after ingesting an unknown quantity of this mixture," said Piringer. "They had some nausea and upset stomachs, things of that nature."
This beverage was reportedly inspired by “purple drank,” a beverage consumed by various rappers, including Lil Wayne and Three 6 Mafia.
"It's coming from a lot of rap music and other things of popular culture," said Eddie Atkins, program director for Riverside Treatment Center in Washington, D.C., according to WTTG. "A lot of the use of 'lean' or 'sizzurp.' It’s coming from the Houston rap music called 'screwed and chopped.'"
Atkins explained that a lot of teenagers have been drinking a version of these beverages, which is made by mixing a fruity drink with an opiate and Jolly Ranchers candies. He said that officials have seen more cases involving these drinks compared to previous years. Many teenagers prefer these cocktails over marijuana and prescription pills. In addition, young people who are on probation can drink this mixture and still be able to pass a drug test.
Although many parents had not heard of these cocktails, they were not surprised by the incident. Some said they hope this was situation was an isolated occurrence.
"It’s very unfortunate, it’s part of the culture that we’re living in," one parent told WUSA. "We have to prepare our children, be open with them, and let them know the dangers that there are today."