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What Is Lean?

Experience clinician-run addiction treatment at Red Oak Recovery® in the pristine Blue Ridge Mountains

What Is Lean?

a person raises a cup of lean at a concert, but what is lean?

Lean is becoming a more common problem throughout America. That said, many people have never heard of this drug and don’t fully understand its possible complications. What is lean, and how does it affect the body? How can you help a loved one struggling with addiction? Red Oak Recovery® can help. Call us today at 828.382.9699 for information about your drug addiction treatment options and the services we offer.

What Is in a Lean Drink?

The lean drug is a homemade concoction of prescription-strength cough syrup, flavored hard candies, and soft drinks. The cough syrups usually used to make lean drinks often contain a powerful opioid painkilling drug known as codeine. Unfortunately, the abuse of drugs such as codeine can lead to physical dependence and addiction to the substance. Lean is also known as “Purple Drank” or “Sizzurp.”

What Is Lean Used For?

Codeine, the drug popularly used in lean, is a powerful painkiller and cough suppressant. It works by blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain, offering relief to those experiencing moderate to severe pain. Codeine is also used as a cough suppressant due to its ability to reduce activity in the part of the brain responsible for triggering coughing.

The combination of codeine syrup and soda is not a medical treatment for any condition. It is instead used recreationally to achieve a sense of relaxation and euphoria. Some also believe that lean can enhance the effects of alcohol or marijuana, making it popular among those looking to experiment with other substances.

The Rise in Popularity of Lean

The use of lean drugs has become more popular in recent years, particularly among young adults and teenagers. The dangerous concoction gained notoriety through popular rap songs and music videos, where it was often glamorized as a trendy party drink. This increase in exposure has led to an increase in the number of individuals trying lean for recreational purposes.

Unfortunately, as is the case with other misused drugs, this drastically increases the risk of unintentional overdose. Many people who use lean are unaware of its potentially deadly consequences and view it as a harmless party drink.

Since lean contains opioids, the dangers of fentanyl poisoning are even higher. Fentanyl is a potent opioid—and a leading cause of death among young people—that is often illicitly manufactured. When it is added to lean—knowingly or unknowingly—the likelihood of an overdose increases significantly. Not only does this make lean incredibly dangerous, but also unpredictable.

Common Side Effects of Purple Drank

The abuse of the lean drug is dangerous and can have many potentially devastating consequences on a person’s well-being. Side effects of lean include:


Codeine and similar forms of opioid medications can have a powerful effect on the brain. As a result, the person abusing a drug such as lean may experience dizziness and similar effects.

Blurry Vision

Opioid medications such as the codeine found in prescription cough syrups have a substantial effect on brain functioning. Due to these same changes in the brain, blurry vision is a common complaint among those abusing a drug such as lean.

Nausea and Vomiting

Opioid medications slow the digestive system down. As a result, food takes much longer to process, sometimes creating symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and constipation.

Problems Recalling Information

Memory problems are also common among those abusing drugs such as lean. Experiencing difficulty bringing relevant information to mind may be a short-term issue. In some cases, memory loss can go on for a long time.

Risk of Codeine Overdose

Symptoms of codeine overdose include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Slow heart rate
  • Fainting

If you see someone experiencing these symptoms after taking a lean drink, seek emergency medical help immediately. Since lean contains opioids, NARCAN, a lifesaving overdose reversal medication, can be administered. However, medical professionals may have to administer additional lifesaving doses.

It is important to seek professional help for lean addiction because the safest way to come off of codeine is in medical detox. If you suspect someone has overdosed on lean, call 911 immediately.

When Should You Seek Professional Treatment?

When the abuse of a substance interferes with your average day-to-day functioning, it’s time to seek professional substance abuse treatment. If you relate to any of the following statements, it is time to consider professional help.

  • My loved ones are expressing concern over my physical appearance, mental health, and/or lean drug abuse.
  • I cannot stop abusing lean despite problems at home, work, or school.
  • I am facing legal or financial trouble related to my lean abuse.
  • I am noticing changes in my health and wellness related to my lean abuse.
  • My lean abuse is negatively impacting my daily life and ability to function.

There is no reason to allow drugs such as lean to keep you from having the lifestyle and future you deserve. Proper rehab centers are set up with the intensive treatment programs you need to experience a successful recovery.

Choosing Red Oak Recovery® for Substance Abuse Treatment

Many people who end up addicted to drugs, such as lean, are younger adolescents. As a result, seeking a treatment center with quality young adult rehab programs is essential in these cases. Always strive to locate a treatment center with an excellent history of success. In this manner, you’ll know that the center you choose provides access to the best tools to help you heal.

Red Oak Recovery® is a rehab center located in Asheville, NC. Red Oak features access to an exciting hybrid program that allows for access to experiential, clinical, and organic therapy approaches.

Don’t let addiction determine the type of life you’ll lead. You can overcome addiction by getting quality treatment at a rehab center that genuinely cares. Call 828.382.9699 or fill out our online contact form to find out how Red Oak Recovery® can get you started on the path to healing.