What is Lean? “Lean” is just one name for a concoction that is known by many others, such as “sizzurp”, “purp”, and “purple drank”. It is often purple in color, and leads to euphoric feelings.
Lean was first created in the 1960s, in Texas. It has become popular largely because of its use by a few musical artists in the “gangster rap” genre, some of whom have died or become seriously ill. The drink is still popular (especially with teenagers and young people) in Texas, and is prevalent in Florida as well. A Drug Enforcement Agency report from 2011 indicated that as many as 2.9% of kids in eighth grade, 4.3% of kids in tenth grade, and 5% of kids in twelfth grade have taken cold and cough medicines in order to get high.
People making this street drug mix liquid codeine (in cough syrup, often prescription strength) and a drug called promethazine (a prescription strength anti-nausea medication) together with a soft drink like Sprite or Mountain Dew. Most often, a Jolly Rancher candy is added for sweetness.
Is Lean Bad For You?
The short answer is yes. Considering the mixture of ingredients found in this drink, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that Lean is very bad for you. In fact, it is positively dangerous. It is also highly addictive.
Lean Side Effects
Codeine, an opiate, has an effect on the body that is somewhat like that of morphine or heroin, both extremely addictive and dangerous drugs. It is used in prescription cough medicine as a cough suppressant and pain reliever. One factor that makes Lean dangerous is the fact that codeine and promethazine both depress the central nervous system (CNS), slowing down and potentially stopping vital bodily functions, such as breathing. It is dangerous to mix the two drugs, and doctors do so only when absolutely necessary and with careful monitoring.
The fact that Lean is such a sweet drink means that people are more prone than otherwise to drink it in large amounts. This makes it even more potentially deadly. Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) is a neurological condition frequently caused by Lean. This condition involves symptoms such as clouded thinking, hyperthermia, seizures, sweating, stiff muscles, and rapid heart rate, and it can lead to death. It is more serious than otherwise if one has a condition such as sleep apnea or asthma.
Lean can cause a variety of short-term symptoms such as those listed earlier as well as hallucination, slumping over, slowed breathing, and itching. The drink’s long-term effects can include neurological damage causing seizures, and, of course, addiction. Lean can also lead to memory problems, and is even linked to urinary tract infections, weight gain, constipation, and dental decay. Overall, Lean is extremely destructive to one’s general health and well-being.
The dangerous effects of Lean are made even more potent when the drink is mixed with alcohol or additional sedative drugs. As discussed earlier, however, Lean on its own can cause a wide variety of medical concerns that can lead to death. It has been documented to cause automobile accidents. One story is that of a young man called Terrence Kiel, who drank Lean before driving and drove the wrong way as a result. He ended up crashing and rolling down a hill, and he was ejected from the car.
The relatively ready availability of the necessary ingredients to make Lean means that it is very hard to eradicate. Unfortunately, the drink is still very popular with teenagers and young people in a number of different places in the United States.
When one is addicted to Lean and wants to quit, they will likely experience severe symptoms of withdrawal such as diarrhea, restless legs, vomiting, anxiety, pain, sweating, agitation, aching muscles, and insomnia. Most people find it necessary to receive professional help (this is essential if the addiction is a long-standing and/or serious one). There are many different options including, for example, formal detox or medical detox programs, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, 12-step groups, and support groups.
As discussed earlier on, Lean creates an euphoric mood or high that make it attractive to many people. Also, as it contains opiates it can also provide relief from anxiety and a general calming effect. This means that people who suffer from anxiety and/or have a large amount of stress in their lives could be especially likely to try Lean and develop a serious addiction.
The use of Lean by certain celebrities many young people look up to and idolize is a significant reason for its ongoing wide-spread popularity and use. It seems that the fact that drinking Lean has seriously marred or ruined the lives of some of these celebrities (or even killed them) does not yet seem to have quelled the drug’s popularity. In 2013, a rapper called Lil’ Wayne said he had suffered from seizures as a result of Lean, and had to be hospitalized to deal with his addiction. Lil Booise, a rapper from Louisiana, was brought close to death many times because of his addiction to this street drug.
Another factor is the drink’s colorful appearance. It can easily be offered to someone at a party and taken for a simple punch, relatively mild alcoholic drink, or even something as innocuous as Kool Aid. As the drink is very sweet (especially when a Jolly Rancher candy is added), one is more likely to mindlessly sip it, falling more and more under the spell of its effects. This reality continues to be a major concern for parents and medical professionals.
The most effective thing that can be done to counteract this is efforts at education and making sure that kids know exactly what they would be getting into by trying this destructive street drug. Parents should also monitor any medicines in the house to ensure that their kids are not using them for recreational purposes.
“Is Lean Bad for You”, https://www.isitbadforyou.com/questions/is-lean-bad-for-you
“Lean (Purple Drink””, http://drugabuse.com/library/lean-purple-drank
“Drinking Lean: A Dangerous Trend”, https://kleantreatmentcenters.com/lean-a-dangerous-trend
“Effects of Purple Drank”, http://www.narconon.ca/drug-abuse/purple-drank-effects.html
“Side Effects of Sizzurp”, http://blog.cincinnatichildrens.org/safety-and-prevention/sizzurp-a-dangerous-teenage-drink
“15 Lives Ruined by the Drug Lean”, https://www.solutions-recovery.com/blog/15-lives-ruined-drug-lean