The United States is going through a crisis with their worsening drug problem, causing multiple fatalities due to opioid-induced overdoses. In fact, the number of deaths caused by prescription pharmaceutical abuse has surpassed America’s death numbers during the Vietnam War. Opioids pose a severe problem due to their ease of access and the surge of fake prescriptions, allowing anyone to purchase these from pharmacies.
One opioid prescription drug that is extremely popular amongst the youth due to its repeated mention in current pop music is called “Lean.” Lean is made from the cough syrup known as codeine and is a popular drug in the rap music scene. Although it started as a mixture of Robitussin with a beer in the 20th century, the 1980s came up with its own rendition of the drink. As a result, it has caused plenty of deaths and addictions since then.
Lean as a Drug
Lean started as codeine mixed with soda and hard candies to give it a tasty twist. However, the deadliest combination was when it began to blend with alcohol. Codeine is the main ingredient that makes the user high through its cough syrup properties. These syrups are meant to help people sleep when they are going through sickness periods through its sedative properties. Combining this with soda, candy, alcohol, or other medicines gives it a wild high that is highly addictive due to the extreme sedative effects.
What Is Lean?
This classification of substances is known as a party drug since it is most often consumed in the party scene. Sometimes, users will mix codeine with a promethazine syrup, an accessible over-the-counter medicine that treats allergies. Candies like Jolly Ranchers are added to boost the sweetness and make it taste like an alcoholic cocktail to offset the medicine-taste. The result is a whole new feeling caused by the promethazine high, combined with the effects of codeine.
It is always referenced in rap songs and has developed a strong cult following various rappers’ popularity. In fact, there are already a few rappers who have lost their lives to using the codeine-based drug. A young yet famous artist named Juice WRLD recently passed away due to what they claim was an “opioid-induced seizure.” He even had a track that spoke of addiction-centered topics, and some lines referenced the use of the drink.
Many people in the scene refer to it as “purple drank,” which is a popular appearance in various tracks of some of the most famous rappers. The drink has received the moniker based on the loosened up and relaxed feeling that follows its consumption.
Purple Drank is the name given to the cough syrup cocktail due to its deep purple color, especially when promethazine and codeine are mixed. With the soft drinks and candies mixed in, this completes the drink. Since the surge of cough-syrup abuse rates and fatalities, the US government has classified codeine as drugs under Schedule V, meaning a prescription is now required. Nowadays, the pressing issue of misuse and addiction has made it just as big of a problem as any other drug found in the United States.
Purple Drank also finds other codenames depending on the area. Another common name is “sizzurp,” which likely refers to the slurred sensation when consumed. The first few uses’ side effects can be similar to being drunk on alcohol, but abusing this can cause mental processes issues. The sedative nature is damaging to the brain’s receptors, making seizures one of the more dangerous side effects.
The Promethazine-Codeine Mix
While the government identifies codeine as an opioid, promethazine is classified as an antihistamine. Combining the two actually has great potential in treating symptoms caused by the common cold, flu seasons, allergies, and breathing difficulties. The promethazine high is used to relieve allergy symptoms, while codeine is used to suppress coughing by rewiring the brain’s receptors to reduce the urge.
What Is Promethazine?
Promethazine is used to treat allergies while preventing nausea and vomiting for patients who experience things like post-surgery dizziness or motion sickness. Asides from its antihistamine effect, it also works as a sedative that makes a person sleepy or relaxed. This is where it is used for surgical procedures and women when they go into labor and delivery. Additionally, it acts as a catalyst to help opioids take effect quicker and have a more powerful impact.
Promethazine’s Side Effects
Using this product can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and constipation. Doctors suggest always drinking plenty of water to offset the effects of the dryness it causes in the body to prevent dehydration. Some people might have severe reactions to consumption, which comes in tremors, fainting, reduced reaction times, and other mood changes. These can be fatal in some instances, so consulting a doctor before consuming any promethazine syrups or different variants will be the safest option.
What Is Codeine?
Codeine is a cough syrup that acts as a pain reliever used to treat mild pains. These are obtainable in tablets and cough syrup variants. Tylenol is a common painkiller that combines acetaminophen with codeine. It has narcotic properties, especially in the syrup form, due to its high concentration, making it very potent. Since codeine is an opiate, it has plenty of potential to be addictive and cause heavy addiction amongst regular users.
Codeine’s Side Effects
Codeine cough syrup is commonly used when sicknesses occur, especially when coughing is present. Sleeping with a cough can be difficult due to the difficulties in breathing straight and the constant feeling of itchiness and chest pains. Codeine triggers the brain’s receptors to convince it not to cough, but it can also have various effects that come along with it. It can trigger euphoria, which causes the codeine high and, conversely, develops a sense of apathy in users. The drowsiness aspect makes those who consume it sleepy and therefore helps with relaxation.
Now, how long does codeine stay in your system? Those who use it for its proper use will often have the effects wear off at the end of the night once they fall asleep. However, abusing codeine cough syrup without any symptoms of cough or just chasing euphoria’s feelings likely gets people hooked. Codeine will stay in a person’s system shorter each time, and tolerance starts to develop. Eventually, they will turn to codeine to cope with physical and emotional pains.
Codeine may be legal since it is widely available on the market, but its abuse is similar to an illicit drug. Due to its chemical nature, it can ultimately lead to death. Getting help for Lean addiction by going through addiction treatment and drug rehabilitation can be the factor that can save lives.
Lean is a new-age drug that offers a set of new-age problems for the United States government. The rising number of fatalities shows the incidence of addiction and how it is ruining society slowly. With the youth heavily influenced by the media and everything that shrouds it, it makes sense to start getting more educated about drugs and addiction’s fatal effects.
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