What is Lean? Addiction and Abuse

People take a variety of drugs to feel good and to escape their problems. Sometimes, prescription medications are mixed with other substances to bring exaggerated effects. For example, lean is a creation of codeine cough syrup, hard candy, and soda. Codeine is commonly prescribed to people who are suffering from coughs and chest congestion. However, it is a product derived from the opioid plant, which makes it potentially habit-forming. Although it is considered less dangerous than morphine, it may be extremely addictive and can cause damage to the body. When a misuse problem begins, it is essential to seek professional help.

The Popularity of this Concoction

For years, individuals have been using codeine and other OTC cold medicines for purposes other than intended. Thanks to pop culture, lean has gained tremendous popularity. For example, Justin Bieber and other rappers have been singing about it for years. Numerous celebrities and famous sports figures have used it as well. It is considered a “cool” mixture commonly found and used in dance clubs and teen parties. Due to its sweet taste, it is popular among the younger generation. It has gained the nicknames “Dirty Sprite” and “Sizzurp.” Due to its color, it is also known as “Purple Drank.”

cough syrup

This drug mixture began in Houston with blues musicians. Initially, these people blended beer and Robitussin. In the 1980s, codeine became the key ingredient, and candy was added for a better flavor. Soon, it spread throughout the South and other parts of the country. Today, it has become a significant problem for the younger generation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services and Administration report that over 3 million teens use this type of substance to get high each year. 

Is this Mixture Illegal?

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, codeine is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. It is only available by prescription and is quite addictive, and this raises the risks of misuse. Distributing the drug without a license is illegal. Since codeine is very common, it is easy to get. In most cases, teens raid their parents’ medicine cabinets for this medicine.

What are the Effects of this Mixture?

Purple drank contains 25 times the amount of codeine than is typically prescribed. Lean makes a person feel euphoric and relaxed. When taking this substance, many individuals report feelings of floating out of their bodies—since it has a sedating effect on the central nervous system, slowing a person’s brain activity.

Negative Effects

  • Hallucinations 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • High temperature
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Extreme sedation
  • Constipation 
  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Dizziness 
  • Loss of consciousness

Interactions with Other Substances

Combining the substance with other things may cause exaggerated effects of the codeine. Some individuals mix codeine with other items so that an extended high may be reached. Some people use alcohol, heroin, and other narcotics as add-ins. This can lead to dire consequences. A person may experience poor judgment, delayed motor skills, extensive sleepiness, and breathing difficulties. When these items are added, there is a higher risk of overdose. Also, a person may nearly suffocate, which means that fatal consequences are possible.

Long-Term Bodily Damage

When a person uses this type of substance for a prolonged period, it can lead to long-term bodily damage. Although it may cause problems to many different organs, it is significantly damaging to the liver. A person may notice that their skin begins to yellow. Also, they may experience dark urine, tarry stools, and excessive fatigue.

Signs of a Lean Addiction

As previously mentioned, this substance is most often misused by teenagers. Therefore, parents must recognize the signs of a problem.

Physical Signs

  • Abnormal complexion
  • Frequent napping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Neglect of personal grooming habits

Behavioral Signs

  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Depression
  • Resentful behavior
  • Unusual response to criticism
  • Secretiveness

Why This Concoction is so Addictive

As previously discussed, codeine is an opioid that brings a pleasant effect to a user. This feeling keeps people coming back for more. With prolonged usage, individuals develop higher tolerances. This means that they will need to take more to get the same euphoric effects. In other words, dependency is established. At this point, people have constant cravings and keep taking the substance after experiencing negative consequences. This makes it difficult to stop. When a person decides to quit consuming the substance, withdrawal symptoms may develop. If a person takes high doses, more intense withdrawal symptoms may occur. 

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Increased agitation 
  • Muscle aches
  • Extreme sweating 
  • Sleeping problems 
  • Painful abdominal cramps 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea/Vomiting

When people do not seek help with the detox process, they are likely to give up and return to using. Besides basic relapse, this can lead to a deadly overdose.

Treating an Addiction to Lean

Many people do not recognize the damaging effects that purple drank can cause. When they see celebrities drinking the substance, it encourages the behavior. This is especially common in younger groups. With continued use, addiction is likely. If this occurs, it is essential to seek professional treatment.

Since withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and dangerous, it is advised to detox in a facility that monitors withdrawal. Many centers have doctors who prescribe medication to lessen the severe symptoms. Even though codeine is a low-potency opioid, withdrawal may still hit hard.

Treatment Options

 After detox, a person has several treatment options available.

  • In-patient Programs. During in-patient treatment, an individual lives in a facility that provides 24/7 care. It is an intelligent choice for a person with a severe misuse disorder. It offers maximum supervision to keep a patient on the right track toward recovery.
  • Outpatient Programs. With outpatient treatment, a person attends therapy sessions and other treatment programs a few hours a day throughout the week. However, an individual returns home at night. It works well for a person with a family, work, or school responsibilities.
  • Support Groups. Support groups involve lots of people who are dealing with the same problems. It is a system of support that lets the person know that they are not alone on the arduous journey. Many times, families attend group sessions as well. There, they learn how to provide care and support to their loved ones.

Mid Hudson Addiction Recovery Can Help

At Mid Hudson Addiction Recovery, we help individuals fight drug misuse disorders so that it is possible to begin healing. Our welcoming facility targets individuals in the Hudson Valley and residents of all the New York surrounding areas. We have great success in helping patients overcome all types of issues, including opioid addiction. We recognize the growing concern with people who are misusing codeine cough syrup and similar items. We provide assistance so that this problem becomes lowered. We offer a number of therapies and medication-assisted treatments. To learn more, contact us today.


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