What is Lean Addiction?

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What is Lean?

If you are unfamiliar with common illicit drugs’ street names,  you might be wondering: What is lean? Lean combines a powerful cough medication containing codeine with other, more basic ingredients. The other ingredients are often candy or soda and sometimes alcohol.

This practice is a relatively new one in the illicit drug world, and it can have deadly consequences.

Understanding Lean

Codeine is the main lean drug. When people ask, “What is lean?” they are usually curious about its main ingredient, but that’s not the whole answer. The cough-syrup-contained opiate is often mixed with hard, fruity candies or soft drinks. This recreational drug cocktail is both addictive and dangerous for several different reasons. One reason is that there are other active ingredients in prescription cough syrups that can interfere with the codeine.

Some prescription cough syrups contain an antihistamine that may act as a sedative. When combined with opioids, this antihistamine can impair your motor functions. Other cough medications may include narcotics that make you feel relaxed or high or psychoactive, mind-altering ingredients.

Drug vs. Drink

The illicit phenomenon that is lean drink draws its effects from the codeine within the cough syrup. The codeine in the lean drink acts as a cough suppressant, but it also reduces pain. It is a prescription-only opiate painkiller and the usual active ingredient.

If you have received a prescription for codeine, it’s likely because your mild to moderate pain was unresponsive to more common or over-the-counter painkillers. But prescription-level cough suppressants containing codeine are the drug of choice here. You should also know that lean can be referred to as purple drank, sizzurp, dirty sprite, and lean drink.

Side Effects of Lean Abuse

When combined to make the lean drink, codeine, antihistamines, and other narcotics included in prescription cough syrups may lead to a wide variety of side effects. The lean drink can impact your physical and mental health over time. This concoction is more prevalent among adolescents than any other demographic.

The most common addictions on college campuses are alcohol, benzodiazepines, marijuana, stimulants, and ecstasy. The side effects that you experience when you abuse lean drink may vary. The amount you take, how often, and the type of cough syrup you use can alter its effects.

Common lean drug abuse side effects include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Sedation
  • Headaches
  • Stomach pains
  • Trouble urinating
  • Agitation, confusion, or hallucinations
  • Fever, sweating, or shivering
  • Severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of coordination
  • Rashes, itching, or hives
  • Changes in vision
  • Seizures

Codeine is habit-forming and can lead to life-threatening side effects. When mixed with other substances, it only becomes more dangerous. When you mix a drug in with fillers like soda and candy that make it taste better, it is easy to forget how much you’ve ingested. This can lead to dangerously high levels of codeine, antihistamines, and other narcotics in your system.

When you mix it with antihistamines, other narcotics, and alcohol, it becomes even more dangerous and increases your chances of overdosing. Lean drink with alcohol added can lead to respiratory depression, reducing oxygen to your brain.

This can lead to liver damage, coma, or death. There is evidence that several famous pop culture icons have suffered health and other impairments due to lean drink abuse. These impairments include ongoing hospitalizations for seizures, near-death experiences, and arrests.

High-profile athletes have also been suspended or hospitalized due to lean-related events. One variation of lean drink that makes it more addictive and dangerous is adding codeine tablets to cough syrup and soda.

Lean drink involves using doses of codeine, antihistamine, and other cough syrup contained narcotics in doses that are much higher than the recommended and safe amount. If you are struggling with lean abuse, don’t wait until your addiction or side effects worsen, Resurgence can help now.

Lean Combined With Mental Illness

Lean drink creates euphoric, relaxed feelings by slowing down your brain activity. Any drug that has mind-altering effects like these is capable of impairing your mental health. In long-term use, lean can cause brain lesions that lead to memory loss, changes in your behavior, and cognitive impairments. Permanent psychosis is another possibility.

If you have an underlying mental health disorder when you begin abusing lean, it is likely to make it worse. When addiction and a mental health disorder occur together (called dual diagnosis), the best way to improve your mental and physical health is to treat them together. Resurgence uses comprehensive, proven treatment methods for dual diagnoses.


Lean drink is highly addictive. Just about every active ingredient that can be used in lean increases the amount of dopamine that your brain’s reward system produces. This increase can result in lean addiction abuse, cravings, and a loss of control.

One clear sign of addiction is that you know how the substance is negatively affecting your life, but you continue to abuse it anyway. Cravings can be overwhelming and constant. And withdrawal symptoms can lead you to relapse even after you try to quit on your own. Common lean drug withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea, abdominal cramping, and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Sweating
  • Body pains
  • Central nervous system depression (high enough doses of lean can slow or stop your heart and lungs – this risk is increased when the substance is mixed with alcohol)

If troubling withdrawal symptoms have kept you from getting sober in the past, we can help. Our medically-assisted detox includes proven, non-addictive medications that will help ease physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Some will also reduce your cravings. Enforcing early sobriety this way enables you to get off to a better start.

Lean Addiction Treatment

What does addiction treatment consist of? If your addiction requires the assistance of medical detox, we will likely recommend an inpatient stay. This way, we can not only help you through the worst of your withdrawals, but we can help you through each step that comes next. With 24-hour care and support, you will never feel alone.

But it will not be all therapies and groups; you’ll have downtime, healthy meals, and recreational activities, too. We will build a program that meets your unique addiction and needs. This program will give you access to therapeutic techniques, holistic remedies, and constant support from start to finish each day for as long as you stay. This option offers the highest level of support.

What is the treatment like if you can’t do inpatient options? If you have a milder addiction or work or family obligations to attend to, we’re happy to discuss alternative program options. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) often take place in the evenings outside of traditional business hours. These programs require a commitment of nine to 20 hours in the facility each week.

They’re one of the best transitions after an inpatient stay or as an inpatient alternative. Traditional outpatient programs are another option, requiring only an average of four hours per week.

California’s Resurgence Behavioral Health

When you need patient-focused, proven, and customized care in a beautiful setting, you need Resurgence Behavioral Health. We will help you develop the knowledge, tools, and skills you need to beat your addiction for good. With a fresh start away from temptations and triggers, you can find addiction treatment that works.

For comprehensive care in a relaxed, safe, and residential environment, call our addiction health experts today. Resurgence cares. Let us show you what a difference that can make.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.