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A mixture of cough syrup, soda, hard candies, and, in some instances, alcoholic beverages is called lean. This cocktail also goes by the names purple drank, sizzurp, barre, and Texas tea, amongst other names. It was first created in Houston, Texas, and is traditionally consumed out of a white Styrofoam cup.
The position that it has a tendency to put you in after drinking it is where the term “lean” originates from.
Take a peek at what’s going on behind the Styrofoam in the next image.
Healthline does not support the use of any illegal substances, and we acknowledge that staying away from them together is always the most prudent course of action. On the other hand, we are firm believers that users would benefit from being provided with information that is both easily available and factually correct.
- 1 What led to its meteoric rise to prominence?
- 2 What does it consist of exactly?
- 3 Is it legal?
- 4 What does it do?
- 5 What happens if you add alcohol?
- 6 What about the several other encounters?
- 7 Liver damage
- 8 Withdrawal symptoms
- 9 Is it potentially addictive?
- 10 To reach that level of high, you need more of it
- 11 Signals of danger
- 12 Overdose signs and symptoms
- 13 Getting help
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What led to its meteoric rise to prominence?
Lean’s position in popular culture has made it more popular than it has ever been, despite the fact that people have been abusing codeine, one of the primary ingredients in lean, for decades.
Since the late 1990s, rappers (including Justin Bieber) have been chanting their praises in songs. At the same time, they have been dying or having seizures as a result of it. It appears to have initially appeared in either the 1970s or the 1980s.
The following is a highlight reel of some of lean’s more particular claims to fame in the world of pop culture:
According to many reports, it appears to be a significant contributor to Lil Wayne’s ongoing hospitalizations for seizures.
Recent statements made by Bow Wow revealed that he came dangerously close to passing away as a result of his addiction to lean.
In 2013, Mac Miller, who passed away in 2016, disclosed that he had struggled with lean addiction.
A fundamental component of lean, promethazine, was found in the rapper 2 Chainz’s possession after he was detained at an airport.
Then there are the high-profile athletes whose lean-related suspensions and hospitalizations continue to make headlines. These sportsmen continue to make headlines due to the fact that they continue to make headlines.
What does it consist of exactly?
Cough syrup obtained by a doctor’s prescription typically contains both the narcotic codeine and the antihistamine promethazine. This combination is the most frequent ingredient.
The cough syrup is typically made by combining soda and, on occasion, alcohol. In addition, some individuals include chewy candies, particularly Jolly Ranchers, in the mixture.
Others choose to treat their cough with an over-the-counter (OTC) cough medicine that contains dextromethorphan (DXM). People typically mix their own alcohol into the over-the-counter form of lean because over-the-counter cough syrups no longer contain alcohol.
Other iterations of the purple drink incorporate the addition of codeine pills to cough syrup and soda. These ingredients are mixed together.
There is no set ratio for how much of each ingredient to use. But in order to achieve the intended benefits, a dose that is significantly higher than what is considered to be either safe or recommended is necessary.
Is it legal?
Both yes and no
When it is present as a single component, the Drug Enforcement Administration places codeine in the category of a prohibited substance known as Schedule II. When combined with other substances, it transforms into a less dangerous but yet powerful controlled substance.
Because of the potential for abuse, any and all items that contain it require a physician’s prescription in order to be purchased. It is against the law to manufacture or distribute it without first obtaining a licence.
Since Actavis, which most users thought to be the best of codeine cough syrups, was removed from the market owing to its popularised misuse, cough syrups containing codeine fell within the category of products that pose a danger of misuse.
It is not necessary to have a prescription in order to purchase DXM cough syrup; however, certain states limit sales to customers who are at least 18 years old.
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What does it do?
When you take a lean, you will experience feelings of exhilaration and relaxation, which will cause you to feel daydreamy and almost as if you have detached yourself from your body. It has a sedative effect because it has an effect on your central nervous system (CNS), which slows down the activity in your brain.
Although the euphoric high that can be achieved by lean is appealing to some users, heavy quantities of the drug can have a number of side effects that are less desired, and in some cases, downright deadly. These effects include the following:
a lack of control or coordination
elevated internal temperature
nausea and vomiting
skin that itches
alterations in the rhythms of the heart
a temporary lapse in consciousness
What happens if you add alcohol?
Taking codeine and DXM along with alcohol amplifies the effects of both substances. It may appear like a nice approach to rise higher, but doing so is not a good idea despite the fact that it may seem like a good idea.
The following are some of the short-term impacts of adding alcohol to lean:
a difficult time breathing
slumber or a state of drowsiness
sluggish motor abilities or delayed reaction time
In addition, if you combine alcohol with codeine or DXM, your chances of experiencing an overdose are significantly increased.
The possibility of respiratory depression is the most dangerous consequence that could arise from combining even a trace amount of alcohol with cough medicine. Because of this, less oxygen will be able to reach your brain. It is possible for it to cause damage to organs, coma, or even death.
What about the several other encounters?
There have been reports of adverse interactions between lean and other medications, including several over-the-counter pharmaceuticals.
The sedative effects of other CNS depressants, such as the following, can be amplified and prolonged by lean’s use:
substances classified as narcotics, including oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine
hypnotics and sedatives, including lorazepam and diazepam, amongst others
MDMA, aka molly or ecstasy
ketamine, sometimes referred to as special K
sassafras, which is sometimes referred to as sally or MDA
OTC cold medications
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
medications that regulate moods, such as anticonvulsants and antipsychotics
There is a possibility that lean will interact negatively with herbal treatments and supplements, including some that are considered to be natural sleep aids, such as valerian root and melatonin.
All of these factors, including alcohol, have the potential to amplify the effect that lean has on your central nervous system, which might result in adverse repercussions that could be fatal.
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Does it have any consequences on a longer time scale?
Actually, quite a few of them.
It has been shown that exceeding the authorized dosage of acetaminophen or drinking alcohol while taking the prescription can cause liver damage. This is because acetaminophen is a frequent element in cough and cold medicines.
Keep in mind that consuming far more than the prescribed amount of cough syrup is required when leaning.
Large doses of acetaminophen and other medicines can inhibit the liver’s ability to effectively metabolise substances, which can lead to an accumulation of an unsafe level of those chemicals in the liver. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identifies prescription and over-the-counter medications as the primary factor in the development of acute liver failure.
Some of the following are symptoms of liver damage:
colouring changes on your body, such as yellowing of the skin or the whites of your eyes
a discomfort in the upper right abdomen region
sickness and/or throwing up
dark, tarry stools
When consumed in quantities that are higher than what is considered safe, both codeine and alcohol are capable, on their own, of causing damage to the liver.
The chemicals in purple drank can lead to compulsive behaviour if consumed regularly. This indicates that you can rapidly build up a tolerance to it as well as a dependent on it. In a word, you will need more of it to obtain the benefits you want, and you will feel awful if you don’t drink it when you’re supposed to.
Among the most common withdrawal symptoms are:
Other repercussions on the long term
The following are some of the other long-term problems that can be caused by lean:
Lesions in the brain that have the potential to cause cognitive impairment, memory loss, and behavioural alterations
psychosis that lasts forever
Is it potentially addictive?
Nearly every active ingredient utilised in each and every formulation of lean has the potential to cause addiction by augmenting the quantity of dopamine produced by the brain’s reward system.
In contrast to dependency, which occurs when your body merely adjusts to the presence of a chemical, addiction is characterized by intense cravings as well as a loss of all ability to regulate one’s use of the substance.
A lean addiction can be identified by the following symptoms:
To reach that level of high, you need more of it
You are unable to quit drinking it, despite the fact that it is having a detrimental impact on several aspects of your life, such as your relationships, your academic performance, your career, and your income.
You can’t stop thinking about it, and it consumes your thoughts.
You consume it as a means of managing your feelings or relieving stress in your life.
When you stop drinking it, you start to experience symptoms of withdrawal.
The following are some examples of withdrawal symptoms:
feeling queasy and throwing up
cramping in the stomach
lack of hunger and appetite
both a fever and chills
Can it kill you?
Absolutely. There are several reports of persons who have passed away as a result of lean, either as a result of an overdose or as a result of difficulties brought on by long-term use. The deaths of rappers DJ Screw, Big Moe, Pimp C, and Fredo Santana are all examples of this phenomenon that have received significant media attention.
Consuming large quantities of lean can cause depression of the central nervous system (CNS), which can slow or even stop your heart and lungs. When combined with alcohol, the potential for an overdose that results in death is significantly increased.
Signals of danger
Lean is not like other medications in that there are not many strategies to mitigate the risks associated with using it. You or someone you know may be considering using lean, and as a result, it is important that you are aware of the signs and symptoms of an overdose.
Overdose signs and symptoms
Dial 911 immediately if you or someone else is experiencing any of the following:
feeling queasy and throwing up
vision that is not clear
blue coloration on the lips and fingernails
a difficult time breathing
a lowering in the blood pressure
a temporary lapse in consciousness
If you have been using an illicit substance, you might be afraid to seek help, but getting treatment as soon as possible could avoid irreversible harm or even save your life.
It is not in the realm of possibility to become dependent on lean. Keep in mind that one of its primary components, codeine, is a type of narcotic. This particular class of drugs has a very high propensity for leading to dependency and addiction.
There is assistance available to you if you are worried about the effects of your drug use. You are free to discuss it with your healthcare professional if doing so makes you feel at ease. Remember that regulations protecting patient confidentiality will prevent them from disclosing this information to law enforcement.
You are welcome to get in touch with any of the following resources, all of which are free and confidential:
The National Helpline of SAMHSA can be reached at 800-662-HELP (4357) or through their online treatment finder.
Helping Hands Organization Project
Anonymous Users of Drugs (NA)