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What is Lean?

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Opiates remain one of the most commonly abused psychoactive substances in the United States. The pleasurable euphoric effects coupled with its highly addictive nature makes opiates one of the most used and abused drugs worldwide. Lean, which is a drink made from cough syrup which contains codeine, is a popular opiate based drink that is highly addictive and prone to abuse and is also called purple drank. But, what is lean?

Opiates can include a wide variety of prescription medications, such as Oxycontin, morphine, and codeine. Because opiates are some of the most prescribed medications in America, it has become increasingly easier to acquire opiate narcotics.

Opiates increase dopamine and other pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters and can cause physical and psychological dependency. Millions of Americans combat addiction and opiate dependency annually by utilizing an opiate addiction treatment center.


So, what is lean and what is purple drank? Lean and purple drank is a drink created from cough syrup that has codeine and a mixer, such as soda. Lean contains not only codeine, a highly addictive opiate but also promethazine. Promethazine is a type of antihistamine that induces live enzymes, which increases the potency of codeine.

Lean became popular in the 1990s among hip hop culture, especially in Houston. Several notable hip hop artists, including Gucci Mane and Mac Miller, struggled with lean addiction.

The mixture became known purple drank because the cough syrup causes the drink to have a distinct purple color. Commonly, purple drank contains up to 25 times more than the recommended dose of codeine and accompanied with sweet drinks, like soda.

Lean can cause a variety of side effects and feelings, including:

  • Euphoria and happiness
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Liver damage
  • Overdose and addiction
  • Depressed breathing


When you become addicted to lean, you can become physically dependent on its main ingredient: codeine. Codeine, a powerful opiate, creates severe withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can make it extremely difficult to quit using alone and without professional help. Like other opiates, codeine withdrawal can result in mood changes, insomnia, cramps, and pain.

Inpatient treatment is oftentimes utilized to help treat substance abuse issues and addiction. Increased structure and support can help you during the early stages of recovery. Residential in nature, inpatient programs provide regular access to medical and mental health staff and can help monitor your physical and emotional health.

Evidence based treatments, like cognitive and dialectic behavioral therapy programs and individual counseling, greatly improve recovery outcomes. Family and marital counseling sessions may also be available, which helps include your loved ones in treatment. Many inpatient treatments also offer holistic based therapies, such as aquatic activities, that can help you find healthy coping strategies and decrease your stress.


When you or a loved one is wondering what is lean and how is lean addiction treated, you may feel lost, frustrated and overwhelmed. Asking for help can be difficult but is the first step towards recovery. Pearl of the Sea Retreat, the premier substance abuse rehab center that St. Augustine, FL offers, has the experience and compassion you need to recover. Call us today at 866-962-1907 to find out how our programs can help you or a loved one.

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