Every day, 130 people in the US die from an opioid overdose.1 One opioid that’s widely prescribed across the country is codeine. In fact, it’s been estimated that 33 million people use this drug every year. Moreover, nearly 4.7 million Americans reported having used prescription pain relievers for non-medical purposes. According to researchers, painkillers that contain this drug are leading more and more people into addiction.
What is Codeine?
It is an opioid medication that’s commonly prescribed to relieve pain. It’s present in a range of pain medications, such as over-the-counter products. Products containing this drug can have many side effects, as well as addictive properties. For this reason, doctors recommend not to use these products for more than three days.
Is Codeine an Opioid?
Yes! It is an opiate that comes in the form of a tablet and as the primary ingredient in prescription cough suppressants. Because it is less regulated than some other opiates such as morphine and OxyContin, getting it is relatively easy.
Tylenol with Codeine
Tylenol with codeine is a type of medicine prescribed for relieving moderate to severe pain. The combination medicine contains an opioid pain reliever (codeine) and a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen).
Promethazine codeine is a combination medication prescribed to patients struggling with:
- the common cold
- other breathing problems
Codeine reduces the urge to cough, while promethazine relieves watery eyes, itchy eyes/throat, sneezing, and runny nose.
What is Lean?
Lean is a mixed drink made from codeine cough syrup, soda, and hard candy. The term “lean” derives from the position the drug can put you in after drinking it.
Lean is a popular drink with teenagers and students that can be often seen at parties. There’s not an exact number of how many people abuse the drink, but it’s been known that many teenagers abuse cough and cold medication to get high. The 2018 Monitoring the Future report found that nearly 2.8% of 8th graders, 3.3% of 10th graders, and 3.4% of 12th graders regularly take the medication.2
The drink affects the nervous system and slows down brain activity. It creates feelings of euphoria and relaxation that can make one feel like they’re floating away from their bodies.
The main drug in lean is codeine. Another drug that’s often included in the drink is promethazine, which is an antihistamine.
Lean is also known as purple drank. It got its name from the deep purple color of promethazine-codeine products.
Purple drank is also referred to as sizzurp, barre, and Texas tea. It originates in Houston, Texas, and often served in a white Styrofoam cup. The most common way of making lean is mixing prescription cough syrup, such as codeine and promethazine, with a carbonated soft drink and hard candy.
How Does Codeine Affect You?
It has similar side effects as morphine, although less powerful. The most common include:
- feeling of euphoria
People who regularly use this drug can develop a physical and psychological addiction. As a consequence, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it.
Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:
- difficulty sleeping
- depression, anger, or irritability
- stomach pain
Overdose takes place when a person takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medicine. It can happen by accident or on purpose. This drug is especially dangerous if mixed with alcohol, other opioids, and drugs like Valium. Taking codeine for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor, or taking or illegally increases the risk of an overdose.