Lean and Alcohol Substance Abuse
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Mixing Alcohol With Lean: What Are The Dangers?
Mixing alcohol and codeine cough syrup, referred to as “lean” or “purple drank,” was made popular by rappers in the early 2000s. Unfortunately, it still plays a role in pop culture today, and it’s not without some devastating and even life-threatening side effects.
In this post, we’ll go over the details and dangers of mixing alcohol and lean and how you can find help if you’re having a hard time stopping. Learn more about substance abuse recovery at Zinnia Healing.
What is “Lean?”
Lean is made by combining cough syrup that contains codeine and promethazine with Sprite or 7Up and pieces of hard candy, like Jolly Ranchers.
Other names for lean include:
- Purple drank
- Texas tea
- Purple stuff
- Purple tonic
- Player potion
- Sip-sip oil
While codeine is considered one of the weaker opioids, it still produces a high and has a strong potential for abuse and addiction. What’s more, lean’s glamorization in pop culture and social media leads people to believe that drinking lean isn’t dangerous, when in reality, the opposite is true.
The Effects of Mixing Alcohol with Lean
Lean users, who are typically young adults, often underestimate the dangers of mixing alcohol with lean. Opioids, in general, have a high potential for addiction. As tolerance and dependency build, users pour larger and larger amounts of codeine cough syrup into their lean to feel the same effects. When combined with alcohol, the side effects of codeine include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Slowed breathing
- Loss of coordination and balance
- Impaired vision
- Dental decay
- Weight gain
- Memory loss
The Dangers of Mixing Alcohol with Lean
Fatal overdose is more likely when combining alcohol and lean because of the risk of respiratory depression, which causes the user to breathe less often, less regularly, and take shallow breaths when they do breathe. As a result, the brain and body receive less oxygen, which causes organ damage, coma, and death.
Consuming opioids, such as codeine, on their own can lead to respiratory depression. But when you mix codeine and alcohol, the chance of respiratory depression greatly increases. In fact, the top two drugs involved in drug-related emergency department visits in 2021 were alcohol and opioids. The combination of these drugs led to more serious outcomes, such as long-term hospitalizations.
It’s also important to note that when someone overdoses from combining alcohol and codeine, it’s harder for healthcare providers to treat the overdose. During a typical opioid overdose, a treatment provider will administer Naloxone or Narcan to stop the overdose symptoms. But when alcohol is thrown into the mix, these opioid reversal drugs won’t be effective. Instead, the person will need to seek immediate medical attention, including having their stomach pumped.
People who overdose on codeine and alcohol regularly experience brain damage, seizures, heart issues, and muscle deterioration.
Why Do People Mix Lean and Alcohol?
The codeine in lean is an opioid that decreases pain perception while increasing pleasurable feelings. These effects are enhanced when the codeine is combined with alcohol, causing both drugs to interact with dopamine and serotonin transmitters to create a sense of euphoria. This causes the user to feel relaxed and happy. But, when the drugs wear off, they will feel depressed and may choose to continue drinking lean and alcohol to chase the short-lived euphoria they produce and stop any symptoms of withdrawal. This cycle can lead to addiction, opioid overdose, substance use disorder, alcohol addiction, and death.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Mixing Alcohol with Lean
Once a tolerance has built up, and you stop consuming lean or cut back on how much lean you consume, your body will produce withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Involuntary shaking
- Hot flashes
- Cold flashes
- Aches and pains
- Flu-like symptoms
- Intense cravings
These withdrawal symptoms can make it very hard to stop using lean. That’s why it is highly recommended to seek professional addiction treatment at a center that offers medically-assisted detox to help lessen the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and help you make a full recovery. Learn more about detox at Zinnia Healing by calling (855) 430-9439 today.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Alcohol and Codeine Addiction
If you’re suffering from a co-occurring addiction to lean and alcohol, you should seek help for drug addiction at a rehab center. Dual diagnosis programs work to treat both addictions and any co-occurring mental health conditions.
Different treatment options and levels exist, such as inpatient and outpatient programs, detox programs, and longer-term options for therapy, sober living, and aftercare.
During inpatient treatment, you will live at a treatment center for around-the-clock care, supervision, and treatment. Most people stay at these overnight facilities between 21 and 90 days.
Outpatient treatment provides care, supervision, therapy, and treatment for addiction on a more flexible schedule to allow you to fulfill work, familial, school, and personal obligations while still getting the treatment you need. Both of these options offer strong support systems with peers and addiction specialists to arm you with the skills you need to make a full recovery and navigate the challenges of everyday life in a healthy and productive way.
Zinnia Healing Can Help
If you, a loved one, or a family member are struggling with alcohol and lean abuse, Zinnia Healing is here to help. Our dual-diagnosis substance abuse treatment programs include detox, inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy, sober living, and aftercare. Give us a call at (855) 430-9439 or reach out by email to learn about treatment options and how we can help you overcome your addiction and reclaim your life.