“Lean” is another name for “Purple Drank,” the special drug cocktail (sipping syrup) that combines codeine-based cough syrup with promethazine, lemon-lime soda, ice, and crushed up hard candies. With those ingredients mixed together in a cup, the color of the blended components turns purple or pink. The core ingredient in “Purple Drank” is the codeine-promethazine cough syrup.
To produce Lean, one must first come into possession of diverted cough syrup. Promethazine and codeine is a controlled substance under Schedule III of the Federal Controlled Substances Act. The underground market for the cough syrup is brisk. A pint of promethazine and codeine cough syrup can cost up to $400. The average street price hovers around $250. In some cases, plain codeine cough syrup is substituted when the combination medicine can not be found. But true aficionados of lean will testify that plain codeine syrup falls far short of the effects of real promethazine-codeine products. Typically, Lean is mixed in a two-liter plastic bottle of lemon-lime soda with four ounces of cough syrup. Crushed up hard candies can be added at any point to the blending process. It takes several minutes for the candies to dissolve in the liquid. The candies, along with the lemon-lime flavoring of the soda tend to offset what can be a nauseating taste of cough syrup. Poured over cracked ice or small ice cubes, the drug is consumed from small foam cups. True “Lean” fans drink their cocktail from a foam cup. Music videos and pictures of rap artists using “Lean” or “Purple Drank” always depicts the drug being consumed from foam cups.
The effects of “Purple Drank” and “Lean” are dose dependent. Sharing the beverage with others as it’s poured from a two-liter plastic bottle, it’s unlikely that a partygoer will get any more drug than what would constitute one to two doses of straight-up cough syrup. In the end though, how much any one abuser ingests is dependent on how much is shared and how many glasses of “Lean” is consumed. Users are urged to nurse their “Purple Drank.” It’s encouraged to drink the mix it in a fashion similar to that of a martini or “scotch on the rocks.” Because both codeine and promethazine are central nervous system depressants, the effects of “Lean” can be quickly observed. Some of the signs and symptoms of “Lean” intoxication are the following: