Young Adult Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Lean Drug: Side Effects, Dangers, and Treatment Options

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Lean, also known as Purple Drank, Sizzurp, Texas Tea, Purple Tonic, and Dirty Sprite, is a substance that is made by combining an opioid such as codeine with alcohol, cough syrup, soda, or candy. Young people started using lean in the 1960s. In the 1990s, it became popular again through the hip-hop and EDM culture.

Using lean is dangerous for young adults who struggle with addiction and other mental health issues. An addiction to lean can put stress on a person’s mental health, physical health, and interpersonal relationships. But treatment for substance and alcohol use disorder is available and recovery is possible. 

Key Takeaways

  • Lean drug, or lean drink, is a mix of codeine and antihistamine promethazine with soda, cough syrup, candy, or alcohol.
  • Because it contains opioids (usually codeine), lean is a highly addictive drug.
  • Side effects of lean include seizures, nausea, difficulty breathing, and hallucinations.
  • Young adults seeking treatment for lean addiction have options for different levels of care.

What Is Lean Drug?

Lean is a mix of codeine and antihistamine promethazine with soda, cough syrup, candy, or alcohol. Lean is considered a drug because codeine is an opioid and promethazine is an antihistamine. Opioids are considered a Schedule II controlled substance.

When lean is mixed with soda, cough syrup, or candy, it can taste sweet. The components of lean are available by prescription such as codeine and promethazine. It’s relatively easy to make lean, because the ingredients that mix with the opioids are easily available. And because it has opioids in it, lean drink is very addictive.


All calls are always confidential.

Is Lean Bad for You?

There are many risks and dangers to consuming lean. First and foremost, lean is a highly addictive drug because it contains opioids (usually codeine). Ultimately, lean drug use can lead to addiction and in some cases, death.

Because there are many negative side effects of using lean that affect both mental and physical health, it’s important that young adult lean users seek treatment as soon as possible.

Know the Facts

One study found that 15 percent of EDM party attendees used lean.

Side Effects of Drinking Lean

Lean is sedating, as it slows down brain activity and acts on the central nervous system. Therefore, lean effects include drowsiness, feeling relaxed, and feeling euphoric. 

The risks associated with lean drug include respiratory problems, overdose, and death. Mixing codeine and alcohol increases the risk of overdose.

Consuming lean can cause great harm to the user both physically and psychologically. Some of the side effects of lean include:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased body temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Brain fog
  • Hallucinations

Mental and Physical Consequences of Lean

Many people take lean as a way to self-medicate stress, anxiety, and other mental health problems. Unfortunately, the side effects of lean actually make mental health issues worse. Consuming lean affects the way people think and act. For example, it impairs judgment and causes many side effects that can result in permanent physical damage.

Lean can increase anxiety and irritability as well as low mood and depression. Moreover, because the high that lean creates doesn’t last very long, people who take lean often develop a high tolerance. And this creates a vicious cycle that can lead to addiction and potentially overdosing.

Young adults can experience both short-term and long-term effects of lean. In addition to these side effects, people who build up a tolerance to lean can experience withdrawal symptoms. Short term-effects of consuming lean include constipation, dizziness, nausea, and changes in blood pressure. Long-term effects of lean include tooth decay, liver damage, brain lesions, and psychosis.

Lean Withdrawal Symptoms

The main withdrawal symptoms associated with lean drink are:

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body pains
  • Stomach cramps

Lean Addiction Treatment

Because lean is made with an opioid, specifically codeine, it is highly addictive. It is a fast-acting drug, which means that the user feels the effects quickly. This also means that people who use lean are constantly chasing a short-lasting high and are often repeat users, leading to problem substance use and addiction.

Treatment is available for lean addiction. Young adults seeking treatment for lean addiction have options for different levels of care. Residential or outpatient treatment for substance use disorders can help young adult with an addiction to lean.

Substance Use Disorder Treatment at Newport Institute

At Newport Institute, we use an integrated approach to treat young adults ages 18–35 who are struggling with mental health challenges and co-occurring substance use disorders. Our treatment for substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder addresses the root causes and underlying issues associated with addiction.

Our treatment programs are trauma-informed and support not only recovery from addiction, but also recovery from trauma and other diagnosed mental illnesses, like anxiety and depression. In addition, we provide withdrawal management (“detox”) at some of our locations as part of our integrated approach.

Contact us today to get started on the healing journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is lean a drug?
  • Is lean alcohol?
  • What does lean have in it?
  • What are the effects of drinking lean?

Front Psychiatry. 2022; 13: 806872.

Front Psychiatry. 2021 Jan; 11: 10.3389.

J Anxiety Disord. 2018 Jan; 53: 1-8.

Psychopathology. 2013; 46 (6): 365–376.

Social Psychiatry Psychiatric Epidemiol. 2014; 49: 1287–1296.

J Anxiety Disord. 2008 Sep; 23(4): 429–435.

Co-Occurring Disorders / September 27, 2023