New Relaxation Beverages Cause Concern for Oklahoma Law Enforcement

Tuesday, September 15th 2009, 7:45 am
By: News On 6

By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK -- Law enforcement across Oklahoma say several drinks growing in popularity need to come off store shelves immediately.

They warn these drinks, promoted as relaxation beverages, could be a gateway for something more serious.

Rusty Surette talked with some Oklahoma City community leaders who agree there's a hidden message behind the marketing.

These so-called relaxation drinks have the same names as recreational drugs and they're being sold - right now - in many Oklahoma convenience stores.

Sippin Syrup, Drank and Purple Stuff, street slang for a dangerous mix of drugs, are now the names of popular beverages that are touted to "slow your roll" and make you drowsy.

Mark Woodward is spokesman for the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and said the makers of these drinks know exactly what they're doing.

"They won't probably admit it, but they're marketing it in a way that's edgy," Woodward said.

And, it sells. For years Sippin Syrup, Drank and Purple Stuff have been known as slang for a mixture of ingredients that can make a person high.

"Primarily you're talking about Codeine with Promethazine which is a cough syrup and they call it Sippin Syrup, or Leanin' or Drank," Woodward said.

But the makers of these drinks insist their name and marketing has nothing to do with illegal activities. They say their product is meant to help the consumer relax by adding ingredients such as melatonin and valerian root.

"Back in the day, they used to drink syrup as a downer," concerned parent Vernon McVey said.

Parents, like Vernon McVey, say they're surprised these products are allowed in convenience stores and they don't want their young ones around it.

"I wouldn't want my kids, or nieces or nephews, thawing out when they're supposed to be studying or getting their education," McVey said.

The products are legal, but many say they are morally wrong.

"There's a reason they honed in on certain names, because they want to attract a particular audience and they know there's an audience for it," Woodward said.

An Oklahoma City councilman says he'd like to see an age requirement for these kind of products. You may remember last year Representative Mike Shelton tried unsuccessfully to ban an energy drink called Cocaine.