Lean: The Dangers of this New Drug Combination

Lean: The Dangers of this New Drug Combination

Lean Dangerous Drug

Have you ever heard of the drug “lean?” Otherwise known as “purple drank” or “sizzurp,” lean is a concoction of cough syrup, hard candy, soda, and sometimes alcohol. The name “lean” derived from the need to lean on something while on the drug. This sweet drink tends to be most popular with young people because it’s cheap and easy to get, but it’s also found in the club scene. 

Let’s find out what makes lean so popular – and also so deadly. 

Codeine: The Main Ingredient in Lean 

The main ingredient in lean is codeine, a prescription pain medication used to treat mild to moderate pain. It was found in many cough syrups back in the day, but today, only a few states allow codeine-based cough syrups to be sold over the counter. Most require a prescription. 

Because codeine is an opioid, it is addictive and can cause respiratory distress and death when taken in high doses. This is part of what makes lean so powerful. But lean is more than just codeine. Some teens and young adults add other ingredients to the mixture such as PCP, cocaine, or hydrocodone. This is done to increase the drug’s effects. 

On top of this, the amount of codeine that goes into lean can be fatal. In recommended amounts, codeine is safe to use. But some lean concoctions contain up to 25 times the recommended dose! Lean may look and smell innocent, but drug rehabs in Phoenix know that it’s poison in a cup.

Other Ingredients that Pose a Risk 

Codeine isn’t the only potentially dangerous drug in lean. Other ingredients put into purple drank are: 

  • Promethazine. A central nervous system depressant, promethazine is typically used to treat nausea or allergies. When combined with codeine, the two drugs are compounded and can result in slow breathing and respiratory arrest. 
  • Crushed Pills. To enhance the effects of codeine, some lean users add crushed pills of hydrocodone into their drink. Like other opioids, hydrocodone reduces lung function and breathing to dangerous levels. 
  • Alcohol. Alcohol, another central nervous system depressant, may be added directly to the drink or people on lean will indulge in it. Drinking alcohol in conjunction with lean significantly increases the risk of overdose. 
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM). Because it’s more difficult to get codeine-based cough syrups, some people use cough medicines that contain DXM instead. DXM is legal and can be purchased from pharmacies and grocery stores. It’s not an opiate but it is produced from a derivative of morphine, giving it sedative, hallucinatory, and dissociative effects. 

nightclub scene

Why Lean is Deceivingly Dangerous 

Lean is an alarming drug because of its ingredients, but there’s more to it than this. Part of what makes lean serious is that it comes wrapped in a sweet, tasty package. Users can end up drinking way more than they expected, putting themselves at risk for respiratory distress, overdose, and death.

Second, many different drugs can be added to this concoction like alcohol and crushed pills. This means that users aren’t even sure what they’re putting into their bodies and in what doses. The more opioids you mix together, the higher the risk for overdose. 

The ingredients in lean can also interfere with other medications that people are taking like sleep aids, OTC cold medicine, mood stabilizers, antihistamines, marijuana, and some herbal remedies and supplements. Innocently, someone could take lean while out at the club, return home to take their medications, and overdose in their sleep. 

Long-Term Effects to Be Aware Of

It may seem like lean is a drug that only has short-term effects, but this isn’t the case at all. People who abuse lean on a regular basis run the risk of the following: 

  • Liver Damage. Lean contains way more than the recommended dose of cough syrup, putting excessive strain on the liver. When this happens, the liver can’t properly metabolize chemicals, allowing them to build up. This can lead to yellowing of the skin and eyes, upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. 
  • Withdrawal Symptoms. The ingredients in lean can be addictive. If you quickly develop a tolerance to the drug, you’ll need more of it to get the same high and feel lousy when you don’t drink it. Common withdrawal symptoms include irritability, sweating, trouble sleeping, and restlessness.
  • Brain Lesions. Regular use of lean can result in brain lesions that may cause memory loss, behavioral changes, and cognitive impairment. Psychosis and epileptic seizures can’t be ruled out, either. 

Can Lean Kill You? 

Absolutely. Just because lean comes in a sweet, soda-flavored drink doesn’t make it safe. There are many cases of people who have died from lean, including rappers DJ Screw, Big Moe, Pimp C, and Fredo Santana. Lean deaths can be caused by long-term use or overdose complications. 

There is no “safe” way to use lean. Every time you take this drug, you are putting your life at risk. Even if you don’t overdose when using lean, you can still develop a tolerance to it. It’s important to know that outpatient rehab in Phoenix is available for a lean addiction. Patient confidentiality laws protect you from being reported to law enforcement. 

Lean Overdose Warning Signs and Symptoms 

If you or someone you know is using lean, make sure you know what signs and symptoms to watch for. Because lean contains central nervous system depressants, it’s possible to overdose on this drug any time it’s used. Call 911 immediately if you or anyone else experiences the following: 

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Trouble Breathing 
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Blurred Vision 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Weak Pulse 
  • Seizures
  • Loss of Consciousness 

Continuum Recovery Center Treats Lean Addictions 

If you are ready to break free from your lean addiction, Contact Continuum Recovery Center today. We offer convenient, flexible, holistic outpatient substance abuse treatment in Phoenix that can accommodate a busy schedule. With medication-assisted treatment and the innovative Bridge Device, we can help you get clean and start your recovery under one roof.