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What Is Lean?
Lean is a mixture of either cough syrup or Codeine pills, hard candy, soda, and often alcohol. Lean is so named because users often lean over as a result of their intoxication. Lean is also commonly referred to as Purple Drank, Texas Tea, or Sizzurp, because it is typically purple in color and was originally created in the Houston, Texas area. Lean is traditionally made with cough syrups or pills that contain Codeine. However, since Codeine has been more highly regulated in recent years, Lean is now often made with cough syrups that contain Dextromethorphan, which is more widely legally available.
Although considerably less powerful than drugs like Heroin and Oxycodone, Codeine has a similar chemical structure and is also classified as an Opioid. Codeine has been scheduled as a Substance II controlled substance, available with a prescription, while dextromethorphan, also called DXM, cough syrup is available in select states.
Cough syrups that contain either Codeine or Dextromethorphan generally carry comparatively little risk when someone takes them responsibly. However, Lean’s cough syrup, hard candy, and soda mixture create a violet-colored, sweet tasting liquid substance that is easy to make and hard to quit. Although Lean statistics are still emerging, a reported 1 in 10 teens “abuse cough syrup to get high.”
The Effects of Lean
Currently, there are tens of thousands of Americans dying of Opioid-related overdoses every year. The Codeine in Lean can cause both fatal non-fatal overdoses and Codeine poisoning. Despite these risks Lean is regularly abused for its ability to cause euphoria in users. Typically, the effects of Lean last between 3 to 6 hours.
An additional ingredient called promethazine sedates the nervous system. In some cases, Lean has been known to reduce the function of the brain, hence creating a feeling of intense relaxation. When both ingredients are combined, the effects can range from abuse to fatal poisoning. Aside of developing a dependence, undergoing withdrawals and cravings, Lean can impact the nervous system as well as other parts of the body. Effects include, but are not limited to:
- Itchy skin
- Increased body temperature
- Poor coordination
- Respiratory depression
- Upper, right abdominal pain
- Intense sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Brain damage
- Liver damage
- Dark urine and stool
Lean’s effects vary based on frequency of use, whether it is combined with other substances, the amount consumed, and a number of other factors.
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Lean Abuse in Popular Culture
Several notable rappers and musicians popularized Lean, and some have died due to Lean abuse. Lean first appeared in the 1990s and has become increasingly popular ever since. When celebrities began dying from Lean abuse, many began realizing its danger. In recent years, Lil Wayne was hospitalized because of alleged Lean abuse; the late Mac Miller opened up about a Lean addiction, and 2Chainz was arrested for possessing illegal ingredients used to make Lean. Rappers Pimp C, Fredo Santana, and DJ Screw have all also endured long-term complications due to Lean abuse. The ongoing presence of Lean in hip hop culture could have had a role to play in marketing it to listeners.
The Effects of Combining Lean with Alcohol
Lean has sedative effects on the nervous system and the body, and has alcohol increases the effects of both Codeine and Dextromethorphan. Since alcohol is already a depressant, mixing it with Lean creates:
- Breathing problems
- Brain fog
- Poor judgement
Alcohol and Lean increase the chance of an overdose because of how alcohol interacts with the chemicals of the toxic drug combination. Mixing Lean with Cannabis, antihistamines, Heroin, and other Opioids has potential equally lethal effects on the nervous system.
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Signs of Lean Abuse
Lean is highly addictive, but it may be hard to tell if someone is abusing Lean at first. Typically, the signs are less noticeable at first, but they generally become more and more apparent as the severity of the addiction worsens. If someone resorts to using Lean to assist with anxiety, for example, this can signal a possibility of Lean abuse. Using money to purchase Lean-related ingredients or being unable to maintain healthy relationships can signal a problem. Thinking about Lean non-stop or developing a tolerance and withdrawal symptoms also signal Lean abuse. Lastly, increasing Lean consumption points to a dependence needing intervention before it is too late
Lean Withdrawal and Overdose
Someone can develop a tolerance to Lean rather quickly. Like other drugs, a tolerance is when someone needs greater quantities of the drug to feel a high. It also is not unusual for people to increase their intake or combine Lean with another substance to intensify its effects. As the user takes more and more of the drug, they may develop a dependence, which is typified by the appearance of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms if they reduce their dose or stop entirely. Symptoms of Lean withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
- Poor appetite
A Lean overdose occurs when an individual has consumed too much Lean for their body to process, and their body systems begin to shut down. If untreated, a Lean overdose can be fatal. Signs of Lean overdose include confusion, weak pulse, comas, small pupils, clammy skin and blue lips and nails.
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Lean addiction is serious and life-threatening, but many healing and treatment options are available. There are many ways to get help, through interventions, medications, and inpatient treatment. Take control, and empower yourself by contacting a treatment provider today.
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