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Often news reports tell us about a disturbing drug craze that has hit the scene in our towns and communities. Law enforcement first notices more use by teens and young adults of some new type of drug. One of the latest crazes, initially made popular by hip hop rappers, is taking the younger crowd by storm. Known by its street name “Lean,” all should be aware of its dangerous effects.

What is Lean?

Lean has a variety of other street names, including sizzurp, purp, purple drank, and purple tonic. It first grew to popularity in the Houston, TX area and quickly spread over the rest of the U.S. Lean is made by combining prescription cough syrup with soda like Mountain Dew, and candy like Jolly Ranchers as a flavor enhancer. However, it is not just any cough syrup, it is codeine cough syrup that generally turns purple. giving it the street name “purp,” or “purple drank.”

Drinking prescription cough syrup or other over-the-counter medications recreationally is bad enough, but the type used in Lean drink is prescription strength syrup mixed with codeine. Codeine is the main opiate used in narcotics like Vicodin and OxyContin, and comes with a whole host of side effects of its own.

Side Effects of Drinking Lean

With Lean consumption, you’re dealing with two potent drugs, cough syrup and codeine that can cause interactions on their own. Side effects of the Lean drink can be dangerous is because it involves recreationally abusing ingredients not designed for non-medical uses. The potential for addiction is extremely high.

Codeine is incredibly addictive, as it induces a euphoric feeling. Promethazine is an antihistamine used in cough syrup to help suppress or reduce allergy type symptoms. When codeine and promethazine are combined, it can cause a person to slump over, or “lean”, which is where the drink gets that particular street name. Codeine is a narcotic. It is a pain reliever and a cough suppressant. The mixture of promethazine and codeine can be deadly when mixed to make Lean. Here are some of the side effects of Lean, the “purple drank”:

  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Night terrors
  • Seizures
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Wheezing
  • Yawning
  • Nausea

Depending on the type of cough syrup, (over the counter or prescription cough syrup) used, there are other side effects possible. Some over-the-counter syrups contain an additional sedative ingredient called dextromethorphan (or DXM). Overuse of DXM can cause:

  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coma

Lean Drink Withdrawal and Overdose

One of the greatest dangers from this purple drink is the propensity for abuse because of the codeine syrup. Most users of Lean have no idea how much syrup, codeine, or alcohol is in their cup since it is most often mixed by someone else with no regard for the amount used. Candy, flavored alcohol, and sugar is often added to these drinks to cover up the strong medicinal taste of the cough syrup. Because the drink is sweet like candy, it increases the odds of a person consuming too much and too fast.

Due to this, only having a drink or two carries the high potential of overdosing because there is no actual recipe and no specific quantity of any of the ingredients. Just like with any narcotic substance, regular use of Lean can cause a physical dependence that can lead to withdrawal, that entices the user to drink increasing amounts.

As with the nature of all opiates, tolerance towards any particular drug is common. The more you consume, the more your body will get used to that dose and a resistance is built up. It will require higher amounts of Lean to get the same euphoric feeling the user had the first time they drank it. It becomes a vicious cycle of addiction that makes quitting extremely difficult.

Addiction Treatment for Lean

Opioid addiction is a major epidemic in the United States. Codeine-based cough syrup only exacerbates the problem when used recreationally. Regular use of Lean often leads to physical and mental dependences that require help from addiction treatment programs.

Due to the toxic nature of regular use and dangerous side effects, it’s important to act quickly. Calling a treatment center like Serenity Acres is the best way to seek help for anyone addicted to Lean. Compassionate and thourough medical treatment along with detox is provided by caring professionals at Serenity Acres. The road to recovery is tough but necessary to overcome Lean addiction.