What Is Lean? - Garden State Treatment Center

Although the widespread popularity of lean is a relatively recent phenomenon, consumption of this harmful substance has skyrocketed across the United States. These days, new drugs are so commonplace that it can be hard to keep track of them. Some drugs come and go, but lean is becoming more and more popular every year. The substance is so common that there’s a chance that someone close to struggles with lean addiction. Thus, if you want to help them out, then you should check out this quick overview of lean and its effects.

purple drank

What Is Lean?

Lean is a mixture of codeine, promethazine, and soda. Codeine and promethazine are often found together in prescription cough syrups. While promethazine is a relatively mild antihistamine, codeine is an opioid, so its effects are similar to oxycodone, hydrocodone, methadone, and similar drugs. Because lean contains prescription cough syrup, which is usually purple in color, it is sometimes referred to as sizzurp or purple drank.

This substance usually gives users a sense of bliss and eases their worries, and it first saw use among people involved in the Houston hip-hop scene. As the Houston hip-hop scene became more popular, artists across the country started to reference lean in their lyrics. In turn, more hip-hop fans began to drink lean, and even people outside of the hip-hop scene started to use the substance.

What Are the Signs of Lean Addiction?

Although lean is popular among fans of rap and hip-hop, plenty of artists within these genres disapprove of the substance, so you should not suspect someone of using lean just because they listen to certain artists. Anybody can develop a lean habit. Therefore, instead of judging someone based on their taste in music, you should consider the following signs of lean addiction if you suspect that a loved one is using the substance.

Confusion and Poor Attention Span

Codeine impairs a user’s cognitive function to the extent that they may have trouble following a basic conversation or performing simple tasks. Moreover, lean makes it very difficult for people to concentrate. Consequently, lean users often shift from one task to another, or they simply sit down and do nothing. Someone under the influence of lean will rarely focus on one thing for more than a few minutes.

Slurred Speech

Often, when someone is under the influence of lean, they will speak slowly and slur their words. Their manner of speech is comparable to that of someone who has consumed a lot of alcohol. As someone drinks more lean, their speech will become even harder to understand, so incomprehensible speech may be a sign of heavy lean consumption.

Bad Finances

While codeine-based cough syrups are usually much less expensive than other drugs, long-term abuse of the substance can still lead to financial difficulties. As someone continues to use codeine, their body will build up a tolerance to it. In turn, they will have to purchase much more lean to achieve the desired effect. On top of that, users of lean often lose their motivation to go to work, and being under the influence of lean makes it difficult to perform work-related duties. Poor performance and bad attendance at work may lead to termination, which can result in worse financial problems.


When someone is under the influence of lean, they often seem drowsy or lethargic. They may lie down or sit for very long periods. This can be especially dangerous when someone decides to drive or operate machinery while intoxicated. Thus, if you suspect that someone is using lean, then you should do everything in your power to prevent them from driving. Otherwise, they will present a serious risk to themselves, pedestrians, and other motorists.

Labored Breathing

Lean and other opioids affect a person’s ability to breathe. They will have a harder time breathing as they continue to consume more of the substance. Individuals under the influence of lean often wheeze, gasp, take shallow breaths, or stop breathing entirely.


Opioids make people very drowsy. After prolonged use, individuals struggling with lean addiction may come to depend on lean to fall asleep. Without codeine, they may be unable to sleep for days at a time. This lack of sleep will cause them to be more drowsy and erratic, and they may find it even more difficult to take care of basic responsibilities.

Erratic Mood

Lean takes a heavy toll on a person’s brain. Over time, it may become harder for an individual struggling with addiction to regulate their mood. In turn, they will experience severe mood swings. Their emotions may rapidly shift between anxiety, anger, sadness, and euphoria. Consequently, individuals who regularly drink lean often find it difficult to maintain healthy relationships with friends, family members, and romantic partners.

Theft and Dishonest Behavior

Because lean is expensive and results in employment difficulties, people who struggle with lean addiction sometimes resort to stealing to fund their habit. A person’s friends and family members may notice missing valuables as their addiction worsens. Moreover, people who struggle with addiction often feel a lot of shame, so they may not always be honest about their whereabouts or habits.


Like most opioids, codeine makes it hard for someone to properly defecate. Because of this, people who abuse lean often spend a lot of time in the bathroom. As a result of prolonged constipation, users of lean often complain about gastrointestinal pain and experience severe bloating.

What Are the Long-Term Health Effects of Lean?

Like most drugs, lean can severely damage a person’s organs with prolonged use. The most common long-term health effects of lean are listed below. However, the absence of these health effects does not indicate that someone isn’t using lean. Similarly, these symptoms may result from conditions that have nothing to do with codeine use, so you shouldn’t assume that someone is addicted to lean based on these health effects alone.

Cognitive Decline

Because lean hampers a person’s ability to breathe, an intoxicated person’s brain may not get enough oxygen to function properly. Lack of oxygen will result in severe brain damage over time. Consequently, even after a person has quit lean, they may have trouble learning new things or performing complex tasks.

Tooth Decay

Because lean consists of cough syrup and sugary soda, prolonged use will have a severe effect on a person’s oral health. Often, people who use lean fall asleep and forget to brush their teeth. As a result, their teeth will begin to rot, and they may develop gingivitis and other oral health conditions.

Liver and Kidney Damage

When codeine is consumed on its own, it doesn’t significantly affect a person’s liver or kidneys. However, people often consume lean with alcohol, stimulants, and other drugs. These drugs can cause severe kidney and liver damage when used in excess, so lean users may experience these effects after prolonged consumption of lean. Moreover, if someone already has a condition that affects their liver or kidneys, then these organs may be more prone to damage.


Ingestion of codeine may trigger seizures in some individuals. This symptom is more likely to occur when someone has recently consumed a lot of lean. During a seizure, a person may fall over, hit their head, bite their tongue off, or crash their vehicle, so this is one of the most dangerous effects of lean consumption.

Depression and Anxiety

After prolonged abuse of codeine and other opioids, the brain can no longer produce normal levels of serotonin and other chemicals that regulate a person’s mood. As a result, long-term users of lean often develop severe depression, anxiety, and other psychological conditions. The brain will eventually begin to produce regular amounts of hormones after a person has overcome their addiction, but this process can take a very long time.

Chronic Pain

Opioids affect the body’s ability to naturally manage pain. As a result, when someone who abuses opioids is cut off from their supply, they will feel intense aches and pains. Thus, individuals who struggle with lean addiction often get into a vicious spiral of using lean and other opioids to manage their pain, exacerbating their dependence on the drug.

Can a Person Overdose on Lean?

Like other opioids, lean presents a high risk of overdose. Typically, someone who ingests too much codeine will experience respiratory failure, and their lungs, brain, and other organs will begin to die as a result of oxygen deprivation. Also, lean is often used in social settings, and many people who use lean consume alcohol and other drugs while partying, so there is a high risk of negative drug interactions. If you notice labored breathing, incomprehensible speech, or unresponsiveness, then you must call an ambulance as soon as possible. Without immediate medical aid, someone who has consumed too much codeine will quickly die of an overdose, so you should not wait to see if their symptoms improve.

How Can You Help Someone Who Struggles With Lean Addiction?

Lean is one of the most dangerous drugs to plague the streets. Codeine is inexpensive and relatively easy to obtain, so many people are turning to lean to relax, relieve their pain, or party. Prolonged use of codeine can severely affect a person’s long-term health and may even cause users to overdose. Thus, if you believe that someone close to you is struggling with codeine addiction, then you need to find help for them as soon as possible.

Treating addiction isn’t easy, so it’s important to seek the aid of qualified medical professionals at a reliable treatment center. A good treatment center can help people who struggle with addiction get through withdrawal symptoms and develop the necessary tools to enjoy a sober lifestyle. Addiction treatment centers offer a range of plans and services, and they work with their patients to implement the right combination of treatments for their unique needs.

Your Loved One Needs Treatment Before It’s Too Late

Every time a person drinks lean, they are leaving their life to chance. It only takes one overdose to kill someone or cause permanent brain damage, so addiction treatment should be a top priority. Naturally, you want your loved one to enjoy a safe and happy life, but that isn’t possible without addressing their codeine addiction. Therefore, you should reach out to a reliable addiction rehabilitation center today to find the right treatment for your loved one.


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Published on: 2022-03-25
Updated on: 2024-02-16