From the AJC.com:
Two men held up a Buckhead CVS store early Thursday, but the robbers weren’t after money. Police said the suspects only took bottles of a codeine-like syrup used to make a drink popularized in rap lyrics.
The suspects, wearing bandannas over their faces, entered the store on Peachtree Street near Piedmont Hospital shortly after 3 a.m., according to Atlanta police Capt. Van Hobbs.
One was armed with a handgun and the second man “had his hand in his pocket,” Hobbs said. “Don’t know if he actually had a gun, or whether he was faking that he had one.”
The men forced an employee into the pharmacy area at the back of the store, according to Hobbs.
The pharmacist saw them coming, “and he was able to duck and get away, so they had to go back there on their own,” Hobbs said. “They went back in the pharmacy area and took some promethazine — it’s a codeine-type syrup.”
The robbers took six or seven 10- to 12-ounce bottles of the syrup, he said.
According to the National Institutes of Health, promethazine’s primary legal uses are treatment of severe allergic reactions and the relief of cold symptoms.
While Hobbs couldn’t say for certain what the robbers intended to do with the drug, he said that a store employee “was saying that he’s heard that some hip-hop music, rap songs have that particular ingredient mentioned.”
Promethazine is the main ingredient used in “purple drank,” a recreational drug popular in the hip-hop community in the southern United States.
Other names for purple drank include sizzurp, lean, syrup, drank, barre, purple jelly and Texas tea. The drink is made by combining the syrup with soft drinks such as Sprite or Mountain Dew and pieces of Jolly Rancher candy.
Purple drank is confirmed or suspected to have caused the deaths of several rap and hip-hop musicians, including DJ Screw, Big Moe and Pimp C.
Several NFL players have been arrested in recent years for possession of codeine or cough syrup for use in making the drink.
Last July, former Oakland Radiers quarterback JaMarcus Russell pleaded not guilty to illegal drug possession after he was arrested in Mobile, Ala., on a felony charge of possessing codeine syrup without a prescription.
Codeine was also one of the controlled substances that California authorities claimed was in the possession of Atlanta-based rapper and actor T.I. when he was arrested in early September in Los Angeles.