The drug "lean" is a concoction also known as "syrup" or "sizzurp," but it has nothing to do with the stuff you put on pancakes. This dangerous cocktail, which has shown up quite a bit in hip hop music and other types of media, combines prescription cough syrup and soft drinks for a potentially fatal high. Get the facts about the drug lean, and prevent possible dangers associated with its abuse.
Ingredients in lean
Lean is made from prescription cough syrup that contains promethazine and codeine. Promethazine is an antihistamine with a strong sedative effect, and codeine is a sedative cough suppressant which is produced from morphine. The purple color and grape-like flavor of this cough syrup give lean one of its other nicknames, "purple drank."
The promethazine cough syrup is mixed with Sprite, or another type of soft drink. Users sometimes add Jolly Rancher candies to the mix, to add extra flavor. The cocktail is then usually served over ice.
Effects of lean
The name "lean" comes from the drug's primary effects - sedation and loss of motor control. Those under the influence of the mixture tend to lean or slump in their seats from the strong sedative effects.
Users of lean report euphoria and relaxation, but at a significant cost. While it may be made from a prescription medication, the dose taken by drinking lean can be as much as 10 or 20 times as much as a prescribed dose. Overdosing on promethazine and codeine can have significantly dangerous effects on the body.
As with all sedative drugs, the use of lean can lead to unconsciousness, weakness, and nervous system depression. It can slow breathing to a fatal extent, and stop the heart and lungs.
Deaths from using lean
Some of the biggest proponents of the cough syrup drink have also died at the hands of it. This includes several of the rappers that helped to popularize lean in the first place.
DJ Screw, who released the single "Sippin' on Some Syrup" with the Three 6 Mafia, died from an overdose of promethazine, codeine and alcohol, several months after the video for the single was released.
Big Moe was another rapper who wrote plenty of songs about the purple drank, most notably on the albums City of Syrup and Purple World. He died of a heart attack at the age of 33, which some speculate was related to his love of lean.
Rapper Pimp C, from Port Arthur, Texas, passed away in 2007 due to the effects of promethazine and codeine combined with other factors. A spokesperson from the coroner's office stated that a combination of the drug and his sleep apnea probably stopped his breathing long enough to kill him.
The drug lean is a dangerous substance that can lead to addiction, illness or even death. Avoid drinking this prescription concoction, and be sure to talk to your children about the potential effects of the drug. If you believe you or a loved one are experiencing serious effects due to lean use, be sure to dial 911 or seek medical help immediately.