- 12 Effects of Lean or Purple Drank
- What Lean Does to the Body
- Mixing Lean with Alcohol & Other Substances
- What You Can Do About Lean
- What Is Purple Drank? 5 Facts You Need To Know
- What Is Purple Drank Made Of?
- How Did Purple Drank Gain Popularity?
- What Will You Feel Upon Drinking Purple Drank?
- What Are The Dangers Associated With Purple Drank?
- Is Purple Drank Addiction Treatable?
- Codeine & Sprite (Purple Drank or Lean): Effects, Risks & Drug Test Detection
- Risks Associated With Using Codeine
- Mixing Codeine and Sprite
- What is Purple Drank?
- Are Codeine and Lean the Same Thing?
- Is Lean Bad for You?
- Why Is Purple Drank So Popular?
- What are the Effects of Lean?
- Can You Overdose on Lean?
- How Long Does Purple Drank Stay in Your System?
12 Effects of Lean or Purple Drank
- What Lean Does to the Body
- What You Can Do About Lean
Lean or purple drank — also called dirty Sprite, sizzurp, and purp — is made by combining prescription-strength cough medicine that contains codeine with soft drinks and sometimes candy. All of its ingredients are perfectly legal and can be obtained in most pharmacies and department stores without any form of identification. However, while lean may be easy to make, this drink is dangerous to consume, and, in some cases, can even be deadly.
Celebrities platinum-selling artist Lil Wayne have made lean quite popular — especially in the hip-hop community. Lil Wayne has been drinking lean for years and has a history of related health problems.
1 Other chart-topping rappers, such as Soulja Boy, have posted pictures of cough syrup on social media.
2 This public endorsement of lean is dangerous because each of these celebrities has the potential to influence many fans.
What Lean Does to the Body
When looking at lean’s side effects, it’s important to keep in mind that the drink is a mix of several drugs.
Codeine, one of the main ingredients in lean, is an opiate that produces feelings of euphoria. This classification puts codeine in the same grouping as morphine and opioids heroin, Oxycontin, or Vicodin.3 When consumed in large doses or for non-medical uses, codeine can lead to harmful side effects and opioid withdrawal symptoms between doses.
Six common signs of codeine abuse include:
- Loss of appetite
The prescription cough syrup used in lean also contains promethazine, which relaxes the user. As a result, people who consume the drink often lean over — the reason for the drink’s nickname.
4 In some cases, lean may include dextromethorphan (DXM), a sedative found in many over-the-counter cough syrups that acts as a cough suppressant.
When taken in high doses, DXM can cause any or all of these six side effects:
- Impaired vision
- Rapid breathing
- Irregular heartbeat
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
>>> Read This Next: How to Address a Loved One’s Substance Abuse Problem
Mixing Lean with Alcohol & Other Substances
Lastly, lean may also contain a combination of alcohol, caffeine, and/or sugar. For example, an individual may mix fruit-flavored vodka, cough syrup, and candy together. The sugar and other ingredients in the drink often cover up the flavor of alcohol and codeine, making it easier to consume in large quantities.6
Mixing the cough syrup with alcohol makes the drink even more dangerous.
Getting behind the wheel of a car or operating machinery after drinking lean increases the lihood of accidents. As a depressant, alcohol can cause sedation and even euphoria. Once the buzz from the drink wears off, however, you may feel very sleepy and possibly depressed.
Alcohol also essentially amplifies the effects of the other drugs. This is concerning because the body can (and will) react in unpredictable ways.
Someone who’s normally reserved and uses good judgment is capable of irrational behavior. In other cases, the body may simply shut down. For example, DJ Screw died in 2000 due to a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose.
Big Moe was another DJ who died after falling into a coma related to lean misuse.7
What You Can Do About Lean
The truth is, many people have no idea that lean is an issue. As a parent or friend, you may spot a problem when you see empty cough suppressant or liquor bottles laying around. Any drug — even cough medicine — can be dangerous when taken incorrectly. If your friend, child, or loved one behaves in unusual ways, don’t hesitate to take action. Ask questions and get involved.
If you’re not sure what to do or simply want to talk to someone about your treatment options, give us a call. Help is available. At Black Bear Lodge, we know how you feel.
We offer comprehensive care to help you or your loved one move forward without substance use. This simple phone call can be a turning point that starts the journey to recovery. Please don’t wait any longer.
Call us today at 706-914-2327.
1 Sblendorio, Peter. “As Lil Wayne Recovers From Seizure, ‘Lean’ Drug Cocktail Is Back Under the Microscope.” New York Daily News, July 12, 2016.
2 Malm, Sara. “‘Sizzurp Cough Syrup Reportedly Popular With Celebrities Including Lil’ Wayne, Justin Bieber and Soulja Boy Has Been Pulled off the Market Amid Manufacturer Fears It’s Being Abused as a Drug.” Daily Mail, April 23, 2014.
3 “Lean Back: The Dangers of Drinking Lean.” BlackDoctor.org, Accessed February 5, 2018.
4 Painter, Kim. “Sizzurp: What You Need to Know About Cough Syrup High.” USA Today, January 23, 2014.
5 “Codeine Withdrawal: What It Is and How to Cope.” Healthline, Accessed February 5, 2018.
6 “What’s ‘sizzurp’? A Dangerous Way for Kids to Get High.” Today, January 23, 2014.
7 Drea, Maria. “10 Dangers of ��Lean’ – What You May Not Know.” Syllabus Magazine, March 18, 2013.
What Is Purple Drank? 5 Facts You Need To Know
You've probably heard of Purple Drank in some form or another. Maybe you know that it's a drink that people use to get high, but you’re not really sure what it’s made of. Is it a cocktail? Is it a drug? Is it dangerous? These are just some of the questions many people ask when they hear about purple drank.
In drug and party circles, purple drank is also known as Lean and Sizzurp. From the name itself, you can already guess that it is consumed as a drink or beverage. When the ingredients are mixed together, the drink turns color purple and this is where the name of the drink comes from.
If you or someone you know is taking purple drank, it’s important to know more about the drug and the dangers associated with it. In this blog post we will discuss 5 facts about Purple Drank that you need to know before experimenting with it.
What Is Purple Drank Made Of?
Purple drank is a very risky drug that's generally mixed with codeine, soda, and hard candy. The concoction is usually made using codeine cough syrup, carbonated soda Sprite or Mountain Dew, and the candy is added to sweeten the mix.
Because the ingredients are readily accessible, many recreational users find it easy to create this drug. Even adolescents take purple drank, thinking that it is a harmless drug.
While cough syrup may seem a harmless drug compared to other illicit or prescription medicines, the codeine in the cough syrup is an opioid.
This means it can deliver the same effects as other opioid drugs such as morphine, oxycodone or heroin.
Other recreational users mix different substances to modify or heighten the effects of purple drank. Some users add alcohol or drugs Xanax to the mix. Adding these substances makes the drug more dangerous.
How Did Purple Drank Gain Popularity?
Purple Drank partly gained popularity because of music artists who were associated with the drug. Some of the famous artists who reportedly used purple drank include Justin Bieber, Bow Wow, Lil Wayne, Mac Miller and 2 Chainz.
According to reports, purple drank caused Lil Wayne’s hospitalizations. Bow Wow confessed to almost dying because of this drug. While the late Mac Miller who died because of an accidental overdose also talked about being addicted to lean several years before.
What Will You Feel Upon Drinking Purple Drank?
What does purple drank do to you? According to users of the drug, drinking purple drank produces a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. It can also make users feel a sense of happiness.
Some users say that it makes you feel as if you're in a dream- state and you’re flying.
One of the reasons purple drank is also called “lean” is because when you take too much of it, there is a tendency to lean to one side.
However, these effects are not the same for everybody. Some users who abuse it also reported negative effects. The relaxation can lead to a feeling of numbness, sleepiness, and extreme sedation.
Having high doses of the drug can also produce physical and mental side effects including nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, loss of coordination, itchy skin, high body temperature, dizziness, seizures, and loss of consciousness.
What Are The Dangers Associated With Purple Drank?
Purple Drank has a relatively low level of addiction compared to other drugs such as heroin or oxycodone. But because codeine is an opioid, it is possible to develop opioid addiction when abusing purple drank. In spite of its weaker potency, overdoses can still occur if too much codeine is consumed at once.
A purple drank addiction can lead to psychological and behavioral effects including mood swings, violent behavior, suicide attempts, psychosis, brain fog, and delayed motor skills. Abusing codeine can also produce long term serious effects such as liver damage, organ damage, and epilepsy.
Another danger is that there are multiple different formulations for Purple Drank so people don't know exactly what they're ingesting. Your individual experience with Purple Drank could vary wildly depending on the type of ingredients mixed into it by whoever made it. Some people add substances alcohol or drugs making the concoction more dangerous.
Is Purple Drank Addiction Treatable?
If you or someone you know is struggling with a Purple Drank addiction, there’s hope. There are many treatment options that can help to support your recovery. Asking for help may be the first step in finding long-term sobriety and recovery.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today for more information about our treatment options including residential rehabilitation programs to address opioid abuse.
Codeine & Sprite (Purple Drank or Lean): Effects, Risks & Drug Test Detection
- Codeine can make a person feel high because it converts to morphine in the brain and binds to opioid receptors.
- Mixing codeine, promethazine, and sodas Sprite is a recreational combination called purple drank, purple Sprite, dirty Sprite or lean.
- The effects of codeine products last for about four to six hours.
- The codeine in purple drank can be detected in a urine drug test for up to three days.
Codeine is a prescription opioid that is a controlled substance in the U.S.
The drug is prescribed to treat mild-to-moderate pain and as a cough suppressor.
Codeine is available in different forms, including pills, and as a syrup. It is frequently used in combination with other substances acetaminophen. Codeine’s potency is mild compared to other opioids, but there are still risks associated with its use. For example, people often abuse codeine in order to feel high.
You can feel high from codeine because it converts into morphine once it reaches the brain. The drug then binds to opioid receptors, triggering a flood of feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine. This leads to euphoria and other pleasant feelings, as well as drowsiness and even sedation.
Risks Associated With Using Codeine
other opioids, codeine also carries a risk of physical dependence and addiction. A person may start using relatively mild codeine and then move to more powerful opioids to get more of a high.
Sometimes, people may even combine codeine with other substances, promethazine and Sprite, to intensify their high.
A common illicit combination of codeine, promethazine and Sprite is called purple drank.
The codeine component of purple drank is primarily responsible for the effects of this mixture. Promethazine and codeine are central nervous system depressants, meaning that a person can stop breathing when the drugs are taken together in high doses. These risks are even more significant if another depressant alcohol is used in conjunction with the purple drank.
Mixing Codeine and Sprite
Codeine and Sprite became a popular mixture among illicit drug users in Texas in the 1990s. Also known as “purple drank,” this combination is a way to abuse codeine and get high.
What is Purple Drank?
A recreational drug cocktail created by mixing codeine, Sprite, and Jolly Ranchers. Although preparations can vary, other common ingredients include:
- Promethazine, an antihistamine
- Dextromethorphan, a cough suppressant
- Sodas Sprite or Mountain Dew
- Hard fruit candies Jolly Ranchers
Besides purple drank, other slang names for a mixture of codeine and Sprite include:
- Purple jelly
- Texas tea
- Dirty Sprite
- Robo tripping
Are Codeine and Lean the Same Thing?
Codeine and lean are not the same thing. However, they are related to one another: codeine is the opioid ingredient in lean.
Is Lean Bad for You?
Lean can be dangerous and can cause a deadly overdose. Codeine on its own is a pain reliever and cough suppressant. When combined with promethazine in the so-called lean drink, it creates an amplified sedative effect.
This is because both codeine and promethazine are central nervous system depressants, meaning that they slow down the central nervous system.
Combining multiple central nervous system depressants can have an additive effect on the body, increasing the risk of overdose.
Why Is Purple Drank So Popular?
Purple drank became popular in the 1990s after being the subject of several rap songs and videos. The concoction itself is sweet-tasting due to both the soda and candy components. For this reason, a person might not even feel they are taking medications until they start feeling high.
People who used purple drank soon became aware of the substance’s euphoric effects. When someone has codeine and Sprite mixed together in the form of lean, they feel a dissociative sense of euphoria, lethargy, drowsiness and impairment of their motor skills. In many cases, purple drank is also taken along with alcohol or other drugs, upping the risks even more.
Although it still has a reputation for being linked to rappers and athletes, studies have shown that people who use purple drank do not fit a particular stereotype. However, risk factors for using purple drank include:
- Being male
- Being LGBTQ
- Being a college student in an urban area
What are the Effects of Lean?
Besides euphoria, purple drank can cause a variety of side effects. Many of these are unpleasant and dangerous.
Over the short term, side effects can include:
- Blurry vision
- Memory problems
- Dissociative behavior
- Loss of control
- Watery eyes
- Balance problems
- Cognitive problems
People who use purple drank over the long term may experience additional side effects and health problems. These include:
- Dental decay
- Weight gain
- Urinary tract infections
Can You Overdose on Lean?
Respiratory depression, or slowed breathing, is one of the most dangerous effects of purple drank. As a central nervous system depressant, codeine can cause slowed breathing. However, purple drank’s other ingredients promethazine can also cause slowed breathing.
Due to these additive effects, purple drank has a high risk of overdose, which can be fatal. The rapper DJ Screw, who made purple drank famous in his songs, died from a purple drank overdose. Other celebrities, Lil Wayne, were hospitalized due to overdosing on purple drank.
How Long Does Purple Drank Stay in Your System?
The effects of codeine are short-term and last four to six hours. However, no specific drug test or timeline exists for purple drank because the ingredients can vary. That said, there is an estimated detection window how long codeine can be detected in the body.
This will vary by drug test type:
If you’re struggling with a dependence or addiction to codeine or any of the other ingredients in purple drank, help is available. Addiction experts at The Recovery Village offer evidence-based treatment programs that can lead you to a healthier, codeine-free life. Contact us today to get started.
Gryczynski, Jan; Schwartz, Robert P.; Mitchell, Shannon D.; et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed May 2, 2021.
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Cansford Laboratories. “Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing.” Accessed May 2, 2021.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Opioid Oral Morphine Milligram Equivalent (MME) Conversion Factors.” Accessed May 1, 2021.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. ““Syrup,” “Purple Drank,” “Sizzurp,” “Lean”.” May 2015. Accessed May 1, 2021.
Miuli, A.; Stigliano, G.; Lalli, A.; et al. ““Purple Drank” (Codeine and Promethazine Cough Syrup): A Systematic Review of a Social Phenomenon with Medical Implications,” Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, November-December 2020. Accessed May 1, 2021.
Agnich, Laura E.; Stogner, John M.; Miller, Bryan Lee; Marcum, Catherine D. “Purple drank prevalence and characteristics of misusers of codeine cough syrup mixtures,” Addictive Behaviors, September 2013. Accessed May 1, 2021.
Serwer, Jesse. “DJ Screw: from cough syrup to full-blown fever,” The Guardian, November 11, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2021.
Drugs.com. “Codeine.” October 30, 2020. Accessed May 1, 2021.
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Khan, Amina. “Doctor explains sizzurp’s powerful high — and deadly side effects.” Los Angeles Times, March 18, 2013. Accessed May 1, 2021.
Northwestern Medical Center. “Is “Purple Drank” a Concern?” November 13, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2021.
- Medical Disclaimer
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.
We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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