Lean, or liquid codeine, has become a popular way to get high. It is often considered harmless because it’s prescribed to youths by physicians, but the fact is, it’s addictive and dangerous. After all, not everyone raises a red flag for cough syrup medication. This article will discuss what you didn’t know about drinking liquid codeine and what can happen when you do.
What Is Codeine?
Codeine is an opioid used to treat severe pain. Combined with other drugs such as acetaminophen, it can reduce coughing.
Often, codeine is mixed with Sprite, sometimes with Jolly Rancher candies to take the cough syrup edge off the drink. It’s called lean because it can make the person drinking it literally “lean.” Other people call it “purple drank” because of the drink’s color when mixed with candies.
The amount of codeine someone needs to take to feel high varies; body weight, the dose, and the rate the liver processes the medication all come into play. Like any other opiate, the risk of addiction is very high. Signs of addiction to codeine are mood swings, drowsiness, constipation, sleep disturbances, and pinpoint pupils.
Large doses of codeine depress the subconscious brainstem, which controls the respiratory system. This is how most opioid overdoses occur. The heart rate slows, and it depresses breathing to a point where there isn’t enough oxygen in the body. Eventually, the individual in question stops breathing.
A person taking liquid codeine should never consume alcohol while taking the drug. This can cause dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, mental fog, trouble concentrating, labored breathing, and delayed thinking and reactions. It also increases the chance of overdose. Unfortunately, alcohol is often a common ingredient in “purple drank” cocktails. Not to mention, most codeine users will likely engage in other illicit drug use as well.
How Long Does Lean Take To Kick In?
The effects of liquid codeine can be felt in about 30 to 45 minutes. The individual will start to feel a general feeling of euphoria, and it’s as though the world is slowing down. Users have described it as taking the edge off of the world.
Of course, it can sometimes take a little longer for the effects to be felt, which is typically how people move into overdose territory. People who take longer to metabolize the drug sometimes take more to feel the effects and end up with too much codeine in their system.
The effects can last for hours. When a person starts to come down from lean, they can find themselves anxious, sweaty, and often will find they’ve developed muscle aches.
Opiates can dehydrate the user, leading to constipation and muscle aches. Users addicted to liquid codeine could start to feel significant withdrawal symptoms within hours of taking the drug. They will come off of the high to immediately realize they are experiencing withdrawal and need to consume more to feel normal again. They’re likely already dealing with a substance use disorder when this happens.
What Does Lean Taste Like?
Lean can taste like alcohol or menthol or taste sweet and fruity, depending on the manufacturer. Usually, it tastes like most over-the-counter cough medicines. Users mix it with Sprite and sometimes with fruit-flavored candies to get the alcohol taste out of the drink. The problem with this is precisely that – the flavor. When users feel they’re just enjoying a refreshing beverage, they’re more likely to consume excessive amounts of it.
Dangers of Codeine
Codeine can be highly addictive and lead to many health issues down the line. Codeine abuse can cause:
- Mood Swings
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
- Changes in vision
Over time, codeine addiction can increase the risk of lung infections, sleep disorders, and even brain damage. Beyond these effects, codeine abuse profoundly impacts someone’s life, much like other addictions.
It’s important to remember that codeine is still an opioid and needs to be handled with care. If you or someone you know is dealing with codeine abuse, consider seeking help. Opioid addiction can be treated successfully through cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and peer support groups. Recovery from addiction is possible, so don’t give up on your recovery journey.