Are Codeine and Lean the Same Thing?
As the opioid epidemic rages on in the U.S, codeine is an opioid that tends to go more under the radar because it’s generally thought of as being milder than many others, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s safe. One way that codeine is frequently abused is a concoction called “codeine lean” or “purple drank.” Below is more information about codeine on its own, as well as codeine lean, and answers to questions including “are codeine and lean the same thing.”
Codeine is a prescription opioid that’s a controlled substance in the U.S., prescribed to treat mild pain as well as coughs. It is frequently used in combination drugs, such as Tylenol 3 and Tylenol 4, which combine codeine along with acetaminophen.
While codeine is thought of as being a milder opioid, people can abuse it, and they do in order to feel high. There’s the risk of addiction and physical dependence with the use of codeine, making it important that people follow their doctor’s instructions when they take it.
Some of the side effects of codeine on its own can include vomiting, constipation, feeling itchy, and drowsiness. It can also slow the respiratory system, particularly in high doses, which is why it’s important to be cautious with its use.
When someone becomes a chronic user of opioids, it can create physical dependence, meaning they might go through withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it suddenly. Codeine withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability, and pain.
Promethazine is an antihistamine used to treat symptoms of allergies such as a runny nose or itching. The reason it’s used in lean is because it acts as a sedative. At a small dose it’s considered safe, but when it’s used in high doses or mixed with another sedative, it can be dangerous.
Both codeine and promethazine have sedative effects because they suppress the central nervous system, including respiration and motor functioning.
When people use codeine lean, it can make them feel as if they’re having somewhat of an out-of-body experience, and it can also create mild euphoria and drowsiness. The active ingredients are the codeine and the promethazine, while the Sprite and the hard candy are added for flavor and coloring.
Codeine lean first started being used in the 1980s, and it was often heralded by rappers. It still continues to be discussed in many rap songs, and it’s also led to the death and health problems of rappers who used it.
Some of the side effects of lean can include nausea, blurred vision, dizziness and memory problems. The long-term risks associated with using codeine lean can include tooth decay, weight gain, urinary tract infections, and constipation.
Because of the flavor of the drink which people tend to find pleasant, and the way it’s sipped over long periods of time, it’s relatively easy to lose track of how much you’ve consumed, putting you at high risk for an overdose. There have been reported comas and deaths related to the use of lean. This risk goes up even more when codeine lean is mixed with another type of sedative or something else that’s a depressant such as alcohol.
Since lean can cause respiratory depression, people who have existing breathing problems such as asthma may be more likely to experience adverse outcomes associated with its use.
Along with being prevalent on the rap scene, many young people have started using purple drank because it’s relatively easy to obtain, and they think because it contains medications it’s not harmful. This is an unfortunate misconception.
Codeine is just the opioid component, or one ingredient used to make something called lean or purple drank.
Codeine on its own is a pain reliever, cough suppressant, and central nervous system depressant. When combined with promethazine in the so-called lean drink, it creates an amplified sedative effect. This combination making up lean is frequently abused because it’s easy to access, but unfortunately, it’s one with many risks.
Have more questions about Codeine abuse?Read the most frequently asked questions
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