Lean is an illicit substance that is made from codeine-based cough syrup. It is a concoction of cough syrup, soda, and Jolly Rancher candies, and is known by a variety of names, including Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, and Texas Tea. Lean gets its moniker due to the way the individual tends to lean to one side as they begin to feel the effects of the drink.
Back in the 90s, Lean abuse was glorified in the music, lyrics and lifestyles of several top hip hop stars. Made famous by such artists as DJ Screw, Pimp C, and Big Moe in their lyrics and performances, the substance also led to their untimely deaths. Even so, the drink continued to be glamorized in music videos, YouTube videos, and on social media, perpetuating the drug’s ongoing allure.
Lean got its start in Houston, Texas in the mid-nineties, where it gained traction among the local hip hop community. In later years, performers with huge social media influence, such as Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne, helped further boost Lean’s popularity.
What’s in Lean, Sizzurp, or Purple Drank?
The drink is composed of Sprite or Mountain Dew, hard candies and large doses of cough syrup, and is sipped as a cocktail. The effects of Lean begin about an hour after ingestion and last 4-6 hours. These include euphoria, dizziness, relaxation, and drowsiness.
While over-the-counter cough suppressants containing dextromethorphan (DXM) are also misused in a similar way, producing an effect called “robotripping,” the preferred cough syrups for Lean contain codeine. These cough medications are now available by prescription only.
Codeine-containing medications are used to treat a variety of symptoms, including cough, diarrhea, and low-level pain. Codeine is a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, possibly resulting in addiction or dependence. In medications that contain 90 milligrams or less of codeine, the classification is Schedule III, designating a slightly lower risk of abuse.
Consequences of Lean
Lean abuse can result in codeine addiction. Codeine, an opioid that depresses the central nervous system, alters brain structures, and impacts the brain’s reward system. This results in increased tolerance and higher consumption, leading to codeine addiction.
The adverse effects from drinking Lean are include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Slowed respiratory rate
- Memory loss
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Dental decay
- Weight gain
- Muscle twitching
Unfortunately, Lean remains a popular beverage among teens and young adults. Young people tend to combine the use of Lean with other substances, such as marijuana or alcohol, to intensify the effects of the high. At high doses, Lean can slow the central nervous system to the point where the heart and lungs will stop functioning, causing death, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Lean Withdrawal Symptoms
Knowing how to safely stop drinking codeine-infused Lean is essential when deciding to enter recovery. There is a risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if the codeine is abruptly discontinued. For this reason, the withdrawal process should be closely monitored and managed by a medically trained provider. The provider can create a tapering schedule that helps ease the individual off the codeine safely.
To overcome a codeine use disorder, it is necessary for the individual to make fundamental changes in how they respond to cravings, triggers, and stressors. Cognitive behavioral therapy can teach the individual how to change thought distortions, which can lead to healthy behavioral responses. A comprehensive treatment program provides the support and education so essential to achieving a sustained recovery.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders and is accredited by The Joint Commission. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle – “everything for recovery” – reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.