The Dangerous Opioid That Is Constantly Glamorized

When it comes to opioids, most people have heard of the major opioids that cause someone to develop an addiction. Prescription opioids like Oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal opioids like Fentanyl and Heroin, are all known to be incredibly dangerous. However, an opioid that is not often thought of or credited as one of the major factors in many opioid addictions is Codeine, also known to many rap fans as the drink Lean. This opioid has become pervasive in pop culture and rap music, but most people don’t know what it is or what effects it can have on the body. Let’s take a closer look at how Codeine, and subsequently Lean, are incredibly dangerous opioids that pop culture is constantly glamorizing.


What Is Lean?

Lean is a popular drink that is used in tandem with, or as a replacement for alcohol. The drink is known by many names, like Sizzurp, Purple Drank, and Dirty Sprite. This last name shows the popularity of the drink, as it was used by the rapper Future as the name of his very popular 2011 mixtape. Essentially, this drink uses Codeine prescription opioid cough syrup, mixed with some sort of soda, usually Sprite, and sometimes a hard candy for sweetness. This drink was first developed in Houston by blues musicians who mixed the Codeine syrup with beer. The name Lean originates from the way a person acts after they’ve consumed the drink, with the drowsiness and euphoric effect of the opioids causing them to slouch or lean over.


What Are The Effects Of Lean?

Like most opioids, the Codeine found in lean produces a feeling of sleepiness as well as relaxation and euphoria. On the other hand, Codeine has some incredibly dangerous side effects. Dizziness, shortness of breath, constipation, memory loss, hallucinations, and even seizures in at-risk individuals are all possible side effects of drinking Lean. The most common misconception about this drink is that, due to it being constantly glamorized, it is not dangerous. Codeine is a weaker opioid, but it is nonetheless an opioid and can easily be abused, causing an addiction to develop. Withdrawal symptoms can appear as soon as 12 hours after using codeine to get high. These symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, sweatiness, excessive yawning, and chills. Like other opioids, the long-term effects include liver damage, kidney damage, as well as the possibility of death.


The Deadly Side Of Lean

For all the glamorization that Lean and Codeine have enjoyed in rap music, it is one of rap’s biggest up-and-coming stars that was the victim of its effects. In December of 2019, rapper Juice Wrld, born Anthony Higgins, landed in a private plane at Chicago’s Midway Airport. Police were waiting on the tarmac to search the plane, in a routine drug bust. While police were searching for the plane, Higgins began to have a seizure. He was given Naloxone and transported to the hospital, but it was too late, and he was pronounced dead in the early hours of the morning. His cause of death was announced as due to toxicity from Oxycodone and Codeine. The police reported that six bottles of Codeine syrup were found on the plane.

This sad tale serves as a warning. While Lean seems relatively safe it can lead to a path of opioid dependency and may cause those who drink it to pay the ultimate price.


If you are suffering from a dependence on codeine or other opioids, Fritz Clinic of Alabama can help. For over 35 years Fritz Clinic has been a leader in using proven, medication-assisted- treatments, to help people heal from the scourge of opioid dependency. Call or contact Fritz Clinic today to make your first appointment.