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Lean Addiction And Abuse

Lean, also known as Purple Drank and Sizzurp, is a mixture of Codeine cough syrup, soda, and hard candy. It is among the prescription Opioids that cause addiction.

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What Is A Lean Addiction?

Lean is an illicit substance made with Codeine cough syrup, soda, and hard candy. Codeine is derived from the Opium poppy plant (similar to Morphine) and is one of the weaker Opioids. However, it’s still highly addictive and potentially damaging to the body. It’s possible for an individual to develop a Lean addiction in a relatively short period of time due to the way Opioids short-circuit the brain’s reward response system.

Nicknamed Purple Drank, Sizzurp, and Dirty Sprite, Lean was initially a popular drink among blues musicians in Houston who mixed Robitussin® with beer. Then, in the 1980s, Houston rappers opted to instead use Codeine, soda, and a piece of hard candy (commonly a Jolly Rancher) for sweetness. The drink’s popularity spread throughout the South as the substance became incorporated into countless songs, including some by Three 6 Mafia (“Sippin On Some Sizzurp”), Lil Wayne (“Me And My Drank”), and Future (“Dirty Sprite”). Today, Lean is responsible for the deaths of a number of hip-hop entertainers and is widely popular among young people around the globe.

Effects Of Lean Abuse

Lean is so named because of the effect it has on people who drink it — they tend to slouch or lean to one side the more they consume of the substance. The effects of Codeine are similar to those of other addictive Opioids (such as Oxycodone and Heroin). Typically, its effects begin to kick in within 30 to 45 minutes, though differing amounts of Codeine in Lean (sometimes up to 25 times the recommended dose) can shorten onset times. The peak effects begin 1 to 2 hours after ingestion and last about 4 to 6 hours.

Possible Consequences Of Drinking Lean

Despite how its been romanticized in popular culture, drinking Lean comes with a host of side effects and negatives outcomes, some of which are listed below.

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constipation
  • Dental decay
  • Weight gain
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Impaired vision
  • Memory loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures (in at-risk individuals)

Is Lean Dangerous To Drink?

Many Lean users underestimate the dangers of drinking Codeine. Moreover, celebrities like Justin Bieber, Rob Kardashian, and Soulja Boy have popularized the drink on social media. Opioid abuse commonly leads to the body developing a tolerance. As a tolerance to Lean builds, the body produces less and less of its own natural Opioids until it is entirely dependent on the foreign substance. This dependency compels the individual to consume more and more of the drug to get the same feeling or, in a majority of cases, just to feel normal.

The abuse of Opioids like Lean can also lead to life-threatening health complications and even fatal overdose. Upon consuming too much Lean, the brain is flooded with Opioid molecules and becomes unable to regulate its response or mitigate their effect. Subsequently, the reduced breathing rate caused by drinking Lean becomes a complete cessation of an individual’s ability to breathe. When breathing stops, the brain no longer receives enough oxygen to function properly. In about 6 minutes, brain death begins. Cut off from oxygen, the individual may enter a coma or die.

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“Robotripping” With DXM Cough Syrup

In some parts of the US, Lean drinkers have swapped Codeine cough syrup for another over-the-counter (OTC) prescription, Dextromethorphan (DXM) cough medicine. DXM can be found in cough syrups like NyQuil®, Robitussin®, and Theraflu®. Drinking the DXM-soda-candy combo is known as “robotripping.” DXM is different from Opioids and Codeine because DXM acts on the same receptors as Hallucinogens like Ketamine or PCP. DXM is in a class of Dissociative drugs that cause “out of body” hallucinations.

Possible Consequences Of Robotripping

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination
  • Numbness

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Seizures
  • Reduced oxygen to brain (in rare cases)

Lean Addiction Statistics

50

percent

Half of all depictions of Codeine on Instagram presented it as Lean.

21

The age of rapper Juice WRLD when he died of a Codeine overdose.

3.6

percent

In 2017, 3.6% of 10th graders reportedly abused cough medicine.

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Treating Lean Addiction

For an individual suffering from a Lean addiction, reducing use or quitting can feel impossible. The Opioids in Lean help cause addiction and require treatment, counseling, and sometimes medication. The first step of treating a Lean addiction is to enter detox. Opioid treatment medications may be prescribed to reduce painful symptoms of withdrawal including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Detox may also reveal comorbid diseases or disorders (such as hepatitis or nerve damage). Accordingly, medically-supervised detox is integral in ensuring a safe and successful rehabilitation.

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