What is lean and is it dangerous?

lean purple drink

This page's content has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified addiction therapist and a board-certified physician.

This page's content has been reviewed and fact-checked by a certified addiction therapist and a board-certified physician.

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Lean is a drug that has gradually gained popularity.But what exactly is lean? What is lean made up of? And what are the risks of using lean? We address your questions in this resource.
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What is in Lean?

-Cough Medicine -Sweet drink -Difficult candy -Codeine Codeine, a narcotic pain reliever, is the primary active ingredient in lean. When codeine is mixed with the other components in lean, it forms a syrup with a sweet flavor that is easily ingested. Promethazine is the other ingredient in lean. Promethazine is an antihistamine with sedative effects. It is also a cough suppressant. The combination of these two medications produces a potent and perhaps lethal impact. It’s been proven repeatedly that lean is not the fun and carefree drug as some believe.

What are other substances sometimes added into Lean?

Lean users frequently mix it with alcohol or marijuana. This can amplify the effects of the codeine and cause major health concerns. Adding other ingredients to lean can make it even more deadly. People who use lean daily may acquire a tolerance to it, which means they need to consume more of the substance to have the same effect. Addiction and dependency can result from this. Long-term use of lean may cause liver, kidney, and cardiac problems.

Is drinking lean dangerous?

It’s a widely accepted fact that drinking lean can be dangerous, but it’s also known to be deadly. The issue is that some people get addicted to lean and consume it frequently.

Some of the dangers associated with using lean include:

-Slow heart rate
-Respiratory depression

What has happened to people who have consumed lean?

– Lil Wayne, an Atlanta rapper, was hospitalized in 2013 after suffering from seizures. Wayne allegedly had been drinking lean for years and singing about it in his songs.

-In 2012, Houston rapper DJ Screw died after a codeine overdose. His death was ruled to be an accident.

As you can see, there are several risks to using lean, and awareness is key. If you are suffering from a lean addiction, there’s no better time to get into a drug rehab program. There are therapeutic choices accessible to you.

How Did Lean Become Popular?

Lean has been associated with the hip-hop scene in the southern United States. For many years, this region’s artists have been singing about lean.

Because of how these singers write about lean in their songs, it seems to be an attractive drug, and younger, more susceptible people may be inclined to try it.

Here are a few examples of songs about lean:

-Lil Wayne’s “Me and My Drank”

-Three Six Mafia’s “Sippin’ on Some Syrup”

-UGK’s “Drank and Dro”

Why is Lean glamorized in music videos?

Lean is glamorized in music videos for the same reason other drugs are glamorized. There has been a major culture shift, and drug use has become mainstream in many genres of music.
In many music videos, you can see artists drinking lean and having what seems to be a great experience while doing so. This might give the impression that lean is a pleasant and harmless substance to consume. Of course, this isn’t the truth. The videos never show the aftermath of drinking lean, which can lead to seizures and many other things.

What are the long-term effects of using lean?

Long-term effects of using lean include:

-Liver damage

-Kidney damage

-Heart damage

-Respiratory problems

-Problems with fertility

-Mental health problems

Can lean act as a gateway drug to other drugs?

Yes, lean can act as a gateway drug to other drugs. People who use lean may be more prone to experiment with other drugs simply because it is easy to access and relatively affordable. Furthermore, the effects of lean may lead users to seek out other drugs that provide a similar high.

What Should I Do If I’m Addicted to Lean?

Please get professional treatment if you or someone you know is addicted to lean. It’s that simple. There are therapy options available to anyone who finds themselves addicted to any type of drug, lean included:

Among the addiction treatment options are:

-Inpatient treatment facilities
-Outpatient treatment programs
-Medication-assisted therapy
-Personal therapy
-Group counseling
– 12 Step Programs

If you’re ready to explore your options, please Cornerstone a call. We are a drug and alcohol rehab program in Scottsdale, Arizona, that is dedicated to helping men and women recover from addiction.

If you’re ready to get assistance for a lean addiction, we have a variety of drug abuse treatment programs to choose from.


[1] LA Times

[2] Chron

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Susana is a recovery writer and advocate with over 8 years in addiction recovery. She is passionate about sharing accurate and helpful information about mental health, addiction, and recovery. She holds a Bachelor’s in Christian Studies from Grand Canyon University and has over 7 years of working in the addiction field. 

lionel estrada lisac clinical director


Lionel, a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC) with over 4 years at Cornerstone. Passionate about helping those with addiction, he has trained as an EMDR therapist  adopting a trauma-informed approach to treat the underlying issues of addiction, providing an empathetic approach to addiction.

Articles written prior to August 2023 were also clinically reviewed by Karen Williams, LPC 

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