“Purple Drank”, “Dirty Sprite” or “Lean” is often glorified in pop culture, most recently by popular rapper Lil Wayne, as the “thing to do” if you’re young and “in the know.” We’ve coined Lean as, “Hip-Hop’s New Heroin”. And unfortunately, Lil’ Wayne’s plane had to take an emergency landing in June 2016 because of seizures brought on mainly because of this “lean” drink. But he also suffered seizures in 2012 and 2013 from the same thing!
This drink is also seen as the preferred method of getting high. Originating in Houston, Texas, in the 1960s, purple drank (also known as sizzurp and purp) can bring about euphoric effects with its use. Unfortunately, this concoction can create dangerous side effects, including death, if taken at high dosage. one of the possible side effects of heavy dosage.
Codeine, one main ingredient in “Lean” is an opiate similar to: Heroin, Morphine, Oxycontin or Vicodin. Not a good look by the way, if you’ve ever seen a heroin addict. Some of the biggest supporters of this drink seem to be the ones who have died at the mercy of this drink. DJ Screw, died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose in 2000. Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé, who rapped excessively about this drink died at age 33 in 2007, after suffering a heart attack one week earlier that left him in a coma.
In a 2006 survey, 3.6 percent of 8th graders admitted to abusing cough medicine. High schoolers had even higher percentages – 5.3 percent among 10th graders and 5.5 percent of 12th graders.
Codeine is not as addictive as Heroin, but once addicted, the withdrawal symptoms mirror those of a Heroin addiction. Pimp C had a history of suffering from Sleep Apnea, a condition where you stop breathing while you are asleep. Pimp C drank Lean before going to sleep and when combined with his respiratory condition, is what killed him.
The two active ingredients Codeine & Promethazine are Central Nervous System Depressants, meaning they both slow your breathing, which is why people feel that “good feeling” or that euphoria. But sometimes it slows the system down so much that a person stops breathing and dies.
The drink is called Lean because of the loss of control over your body. People affected by Lean tend to lean or slump over.
April 2012, Rapper Schoolboy Q revealed that he quit sipping on Lean and is trying to get A$AP Rocky to follow his lead. The duo created the popular hit, “Hands on the Wheel”. Schoolboy Q said he quit after he drank some Lean and passed out, then woke up breathing heavily due to his complications with asthma: “I don’t know if it was a near-death experience but it felt like I was about to die. I’ve been going through withdrawals… It’s like somebody’s grabbing your stomach… and just holding it.”
The drug can cause Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS), which can be fatal. Symptoms may include fever, stiff muscles, confusion, abnormal thinking; fast or irregular heartbeat and sweating.