What is lean

Lean, a substance that originated in Houston, Texas, is a mixture of codeine cough syrup, soda, and hard candy. Sometimes it is also mixed with alcohol. It is usually served in a Styrofoam cup.

It has a list of different names which include-

  • Purple drank
  • Sizzurp
  • Barre
  • Texas tea
  • Memphis mud
  • Tsikuni
  • Purple sprite

Consumption of lean causes various consequences and is potentially damaging to the body.

This article tells you about the effects of lean on the body and about its addictive nature.

How Did It Become So Popular?

Codeine, which is one of lean’s ingredients, is derived from opium poppy plant. It comes under the category of weaker opioids.

Entertainment industry can be credited for its popularity.

It started gaining popularity in the 80’s when rappers opted to consume this combination of substances.

There are a number of rappers and singers like Justin Bieber who promote this substance in their songs. They have an influence on their huge audience which makes this even more prominent.

Songs like ‘Me and my drank’ by Lil Wayne or ‘Sippin on some sizzurp’ by Three 6 Mafia are based on lean.

There are more such songs and raps which without a question lead to use of this substance even more.

Rapper Mac Miller died as a result of addiction to lean. Lil Wayne was also recently hospitalized for seizures related to it.

A celebrity popularly known as Bow Wow disclosed that he almost died due to excess intake of lean. There could be more such cases in the industry that are not revealed.

What’s In It Exactly?

The weak opioid codeine which is used in cough syrups as well is the most commonly used ingredient.

It is mildly narcotic which makes it a substance of abuse for people looking to get high.

Promethazine, a sedative drug, is also one of the main ingredients of purple drinks.

Codeine is usually mixed with soda. Hard candy is also used for sweetness. Sometimes, it is intoxicated with alcohol.

It can also be brewed from over-the-counter cough syrups, containing dextromethorphan. It is similar to ketamine and phencyclidine which are anesthetics.

These days cough syrups containing alcohol are not available which is why people add their own alcohol to OTC versions of lean. Sometimes codeine tablets are also added to cough syrup and soda.

These mixtures, if taken above the recommended dosage can produce destructive effects to mind and body.

Is it Legal?

There is no specific answer to this question.

As per the amendments of the Drug Enforcement Administration codeine is categorised under Schedule II controlled substance as an individual substance.

Although codeine is weakly narcotic, it can be targeted as a substance of abuse and consumed in excess.

This is why, to avoid its misuse, products containing it can only be bought with a proper subscription. In fact, manufacturers and distributors are allowed to keep it only if they have a license.

Prescriptions are kept in check by both federal and state authorities. They also track sales of codeine.

Actavis was a codeine cough syrup used popularly by lean abusers, which is why it became unavailable after a point of time.

What Does It Do?

Lean attacks your central nervous system and produces a sedating effect, giving a feeling of relaxation. Codeine and alcohol act as CNS depressants.

It reduces brain activity and takes you to another world. It makes you feel like you are floating and being carried away from real life and your own body.

This euphoria might seem fun but can produce ill effects in the long term. There are also other effects associated with it which include-

– extreme sedation

– hallucinations

– dizziness

– increase of body temperature

– lack of balance and coordination

– gut problems like constipation

– nausea and vomiting

– abnormal heart rate

– alteration of blood pressure

– reduced intestinal motility

– depresses breathing to a great extent

– itchy skin

– muscle twitches

– loss of consciousness

What Happens If You Add Alcohol?

Mixing alcohol with opioids can lead to increased effects of both drugs and result in severe overdose problems.It leads to increased tolerance and addiction.

There are other effects related to it which include-

– sedation

– delay in response and loss of coordination

– loss of proper judgement

– problem in breathing to a point where there is deprivation of oxygen and this can pose serious problems.

– hallucination

– nausea and vomiting

– brain fog

What About Other Interactions?

Lean can surely interact with other drugs if you are taking them.

According to healthline, It can enhance the effects of other OTC drugs and CNS depressants.

These may include-

– sleep aids

– heroine

– ketamine (anaesthesia)

– OTC drugs for cold

– antipsychotics

– anticonvulsants

– sedatives such as diazepam or lorazepam

– narcotics such morphine

It may decrease the excretion rate of some drugs and result in higher serum levels.

Not only these drugs, it can also interact with herbal medicines.If you are taking valerian root and melatonin, lean can produce other effects.

You must see a doctor immediately if you think you are experiencing any sort of interaction.Sometimes they are not felt but interactions do occur at some level.

Does It Have Any Long Term Effects?

There are a few long term effects including-

1. Liver damage

Intake of lean means consumption of an excess amount of certain substances in cough syrup.

This can lead to damage of some organs

Acetaminophen is a substance associated with medications related to cough and cold. It is known to cause problems in the liver if consumed more than the safe dose or along with alcohol.

This drug and a few others can hinder the proper functioning of the liver and its metabolic effects.

This can cause toxic material to accumulate which can cause some serious ill effects on the liver leading to damage or even failure.

As single substances also, codeine and alcohol can cause liver damage when the use becomes abuse.

yellowing of skin and eyes, dark urine and stools, nausea and vomiting accompanied pain in the upper right abdominal region are some of the symptoms of liver damage.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Lean is a mixture of substances that are strongly addictive. It is easy for your body to develop tolerance against them and you may need more of it to achieve the same level of pleasure.

When it is not being given to your body, withdrawal symptoms are experienced which include-

– Problem in sleeping

– restlessness

– irritability

– sweating

– nausea and vomiting

– loss of appetite

– dilated pupils

Is It Addictive?

Substances used to create this mixture give you a sense of pleasure by the release of dopamine in your brain.

That sense of pleasure can never be enough and to achieve the same level more and more of it is required because your body’s tolerance level increases.

This means that it has a quite addictive nature and can result in overdose and some serious damage to the body.

Signs that indicate addiction include-

  • You require more amount to get high
  • Your cravings for lean are increased. You have thoughts about it non-stop
  • It doesn’t matter to you if it affects your lifestyle, work and relationships. You still want it like its your need
  • You start using it as a loophole to escape reality and difficult situations of life
  • You get restless when you are not taking it

Withdrawal symptoms are experienced if it is not given to your body. Nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness, body aches, fever, and stomach problems are a few ways in which your body is affected if it is deprived of it.

Can It Kill You?

Lean directly affects the central nervous system. It obstructs its proper functioning. This is why consuming it in excess especially in combination with alcohol can ultimately lead to death

There have been a large number of cases in which people died because of high doses of purple drank

.Even some celebrities like DJ screw, Mac Miller and Fredo Santana have lost their lives to it.

Anything that is consumed more than the recommended dose can have damaging effects and its long term use in such amounts can put lives in danger.

Warning Signs

It does not take very long for a person to go from ‘just trying’ to getting addicted to lean. Like most other drugs, its intake is unsafe beyond the suggested limit.

If you or anybody in your known is taking lean from day to day basis, it is important to look for warning signs relating to addiction-

Symptoms of overdose are-

– confusion

– hallucination

– foggy view

– headache

– nausea and vomiting

– reduced heart rate and blood pressure

– Weak pulse

– Bluish nails and lips

– loss of consciousness and this can also lead to coma

You must call for an emergency urgently if you encounter such a situation to avoid any circumstances of excess damage or death.


Lean is an addictive drug, made up of cough syrup, soda, and hard candy like Jolly Ranchers. When mixed with alcohol it becomes even more dangerous because alcohol enhances the effects.

It has become really popular in recent times under the influence of pop culture. It acts as a CNS depressant and leads to hallucination and loss of coordination. In the long-term, it has various side effects.

If not treated on time, it can ultimately lead to death because of overdose effects. Such forms of pleasure should be avoided because they take no time to turn to addiction because the body’s tolerance increases.

In case of overdose, you must see a doctor immediately to avoid serious damage.

Leave a Reply