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Default JaMarcus Russell case shows danger behind 'purple drank' - 07-07-2010, 12:40 AM

By Jon Saraceno, USA TODAY
JaMarcus Russell's latest tribulation a charge that he possessed a controlled substance in Alabama this week could involve a powerful beverage that bubbled up from the underground Houston rap scene a decade ago and appears to be gaining momentum in popular culture.
For the NFL, that means a measure of concern because the case regarding the former Oakland Raiders quarterback is not the first involving codeine and allegations regarding a current or past player.
Russell, released by the Raiders in May, posted bail and is scheduled to appear in court July 20 in Mobile after being charged with possession of codeine syrup on Monday. The Mobile County sheriff's office said Russell was arrested during an undercover investigation.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Tuesday the league does not believe its membership has a problem with the addictive narcotic. But former Denver Broncos star tight end Shannon Sharpe said, "Obviously, this is something that needs to be addressed. There is a trend here."

POLICE: Russell's arrest the result of 2-month-long investigation
Codeine is an ingredient in "purple drank," which can include alcohol, soft drinks and Jolly Ranchers candy. The hue of the drink comes from cough syrup dyes. The mixture also is called "lean."
Codeine and alcohol act as depressants on the central nervous system. Combining them can cause harmful side effects that include impaired thinking and reactions. Withdrawal symptoms are common among those who try to shake the habit.
"Nothing good comes from ('purple drank')," said Jim Muntz, a physician and a clinical professor of medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine who works for the Houston Texans, along with the Astros and Rockets. "If you're on (codeine) for more than three or four weeks, there is an abstinence syndrome. If you stop, you become jittery, anxious, experience mood swings and can have seizures."
Aiello said illegal use of codeine in pro football, "is something we're aware of and monitoring, (but) we don't see evidence of a particular problem among NFL players."
Nevertheless, a couple of codeine-related incidents have come to the league's attention. Said Sharpe, "Once upon a time, this was part of the subculture that was not NFL-related. When I played I never heard anybody talk about this stuff. Now you're seeing more NFL players involved with it."
Sharpe retired from a 14-year career after the 2003 season.
Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly is scheduled to go to trial later this month in Texas. He was arrested in July 2008 after police detected the strong whiff of codeine in cups in his vehicle. Tests later confirmed that suspicion.
ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley recalled Tuesday that a former San Diego Chargers teammate, the late safety Terrence Kiel, sold codeine "years ago it has been around (pro football)."
In 2007, Kiel pleaded guilty to felony and misdemeanor drug charges of sending the syrup to Texas. A year earlier, he had been arrested in the Chargers' locker room by Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
"It needs to be on the radar of the NFL because you can see it now seeping into professional athletics," Wiley said. "You used to need a microscope to 'see' it now it's visible to the naked eye. It is creeping into more of the casual conversation (as it) becomes more prevalent."
Russell, 24, a former No. 1 overall draft selection, was paid more than $30 million during his disappointing three-year tenure in Oakland, which dissolved with poor play, bad work habits and weight-gain issues.
Wiley said Tuesday he is part of a group that is trying to help Russell.
"We were supposed to sit down in two weeks and hammer out some of these issues some of the rumors I had heard with his behavior, on and off the field," he said. "I talked to people around him (Monday) and he has really put himself in a predicament that is difficult to escape from.
"I definitely don't think his career is over there's always hope for a redemption story. But if you talk about him playing football again, it just got that much tougher with the latest news."
"Purple drank" first gained notoriety in the South, particularly in Houston.
The Houston Chronicle quoted local rapper Al D in 2007 as saying, in part, "When I was drinking 'drank,' I wasn't thinking about what it could be doing to my health. I'm 180 pounds and, when I was on 'drank,' I was 240. It (has) so much sugar in it that it blows you up, and it makes you eat a lot, and then you got the soda."
The mixture is dangerous, doctors say, because of the powerful nature of codeine coupled with alcohol.
"Your brain forgets to 'breathe,' " said Houston-area plastic surgeon Joe Perlman. "It numbs you."
The explosion of internet labs has made accessibility to prescription-based drugs without genuine medical need more pervasive, he said. Codeine syrup requires a prescription. In Russell's case, police said they did not find a prescription for the drug when they arrested him.

I know this isn't our kinda syrup, or maybe it is but still epic lulz

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Randolph Carter Offline
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Default 07-13-2010, 02:41 PM

Not one mention of promethazine. What is the state of journalism these days?
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CamelNo.9 Offline
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Default 07-18-2010, 02:25 AM

That poor, poor man. Since 'drank' has clearly ruined his life, he'll only have his millions to fall back on.
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