Despite the dangers, and the difficulty of obtaining the prescription drug, Dr. Peters says sizzurp is more sought after than ever. “Back in 2000, a quart of codeine-promethezine cost about $100. Now that same bottle costs about $900. And an ace, which is an ounce of codeine, costs you about $75 on the streets right now. This particular drug is considered to be cool with kids and young adults. Now it’s the champagne and caviar of drugs and a lot of people cannot afford codeine-promethezine. But if they can get it they would feel like they’re doing something that’s first class. They call it, ‘Playa Potion.’ Only the players can have access to this kind of drug today. That’s good because there’s not a lot of kids who have access to this stuff because of the price.”
Now it’s the champagne and caviar of drugs and a lot of people cannot afford codeine-promethazine. But if they can get it they would feel like they’re doing something that’s first class. They call it, ‘Playa Potion.’ Only the players can have access.
—Dr. Ronald Peters
Dr. Peters has nothing but contempt for companies seeking to cash in on the popularity of sizzurp by marketing over-the-counter “anti energy” drinks with names like “Purple Stuff” and “Sippin Syrup,” which he says are mostly marketed to inner-city communities. “When we were younger I can remember candy cigarettes, which was a very inappropriate form of candy. Now this stuff is in the stores, and it’s full of substances that have not been properly studied, and some of the bottles have candy on the label even though it says ‘not recommended for children.’ It's the worst thing since candy cigarettes. This could be used as a gateway… Sooner or later they’re gonna want the real thing."
Of course one of the best ways to discourage abuse of cough syrup would be for popular celebrities to come out against sizzurp. After the death of Pimp C, his UGK partner Bun B made a point of toning down his own lyrical references to the drug, and spoke out in interviews about a "syrup epidemic." But other rappers have been slower to step up.
QD3 says he was once inspired by Wayne’s potential as a leader. “I’ve worked with 'Pac and Ice Cube and LL before," he says. "Those guys were always down to change perceptions of the community and ride for politics and things like that. I saw Wayne’s work ethic and heard he wanted to go back to college. I started putting the pieces together and said 'Man, this is a guy who grew up in hip-hop and he’s already had gold records and stuff and now he wants to go back to college.' So that’s what captured my interest in Wayne. That’s where I thought he was headed and he still may be. We’ll see.”
Even after his court battles with Wayne over the movie, QD3 still holds out hope for a transformative change: “As confusing and difficult as that whole situation turned out to be, I still have compassion for him," says the film maker. "This generation has chosen Wayne as their spokesperson. So no matter what happens we want to see him at the top of his game. Cause he’s leading this generation—whether or not we put him in place to do that, the audience already spoke. They’ve chosen him. What's good for him is good for everybody because so many people are following him.”