Is Your Teen Down With Lean? Watch for These Signs

Posted by Teresa Stewart on June 26, 2013


Teenage slang is often ignored because parents find it annoying and confusing. Teens can come up with words or phrases that seem simple enough that parents do not pay attention, yet they may be referring to something dangerous. One of the most dangerous of these slang words at this time is "Lean".

Fizzy Purple Grape Soda
Image Src: flickr

What Is Lean?

Lean is a nickname given to a concoction that teens and adults are making from codeine and a promethazine-based prescription cough syrup mixed with Sprite, or other sodas. Sometimes, to hide the cough syrup flavor, and to create different colors, hard candy is crushed and added to the concoction. The user then drinks this mixture like they would a regular soft drink. The amount of codeine and promethazine in the drink, however, is many times more than what should safely be ingested, which is what causes the "high."

Why is it Dangerous?

Codeine is a pain reliever and cough suppressant that is derived from Opium. It is a controlled substance because it is highly addictive and can cause a person to become quickly impaired, even when used at the prescribed dosage. Promethazine is an antihistamine which relieves nausea, and motion sickness. Using both medicines leads to an altered level of consciousness, and sedation. It's perceived as an euphoric effect which is why users think that Lean is "cool." Sadly, many do not understand the risks associated with this abuse. Usage can lead to respiratory distress and in worst cases, cardiac arrest.

It's been said that Lean's origins began as early as the 1960's, and has become very popular in the last ten years among the Hip-Hop crowd due to attention it receives from rap singers, in song, and admitted use. Many have been arrested and hospitalized due to excessive use.  The DEA reports their largest syrup busts in Texas and Florida, and a Texas University study reported that 8% of secondary school students had used Lean. If your teen happens to fall prey to an arrest for Lean, contact a legal advocate such as a Houston DWI lawyer.

Lean is also known by the following names

  • Purple Drank
  • Sissyrup
  • Texas Tea
  • Syrup
  • Tsikuni

Common Signs That Your Teen May Be Using Lean

  • Impaired Vision and Slurred Speech
  • Euphoric Feelings and Actions
  • Uncommon Sedation, Drowsiness and Lethargy
  • Dissociation from the body, and Impaired Motor Skills

People that build up significant amounts of codeine in their systems are also subject to

  • Fainting and bouts of uncontrollable dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Dry mouth that cannot be cured
  • Vomiting
  • Hives and uncontrollable itching all over the body

What Can A Parent Do?

If you suspect that your teen may be interested in this recreational drug, or that they may be using, it is your responsibility as a parent to address the issue. Of course, this will not be easy. Approaching your teen about any issue at this time in their life almost seems impossible.

If you suspect interest in this drug, approach your teen with information. Tell them you have just learned about this new drug being used and all the dangers and complications from it. Provide them a way to become informed without feeling threatened. You will be amazed how willing they will be to talk with you if they do not feel intimidated.

If you believe that your teen is using, you will have to have a more direct approach. You will need to confront, and you will need to figure out a treatment plan. Codeine is addictive and there are withdrawal symptoms. Let your teen know that you love them and will be there for them through the entire detox process.

Parents should always "listen" to what their teen says, even if they do not know exactly what they are talking about. As described above, simple words like "lean" can have an entirely different and dangerous meaning, and parents need to make sure that they remember to ask questions when something doesn't make sense.

About Author: Teresa Stewart saw the negative effects of the described prescription cough syrup on an unwitting victim who innocently mixed it with other daily medications, and notes above information to promote awareness of the use and associated dangers to parents of teens. Houston DWI lawyer Dane Johnson aggressively represents clients who have been charged with illegally obtained prescription drugs. He will work to minimize the impact, or will protect your rights at trial.

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