While lean is often portrayed by popular culture as an innocent way to spur creative thinking, it is a dangerous substance that can lead to addiction. The main ingredients in the drink, including codeine, are opioids that can cause addiction and cause physical symptoms such as slowed breathing. Long-term abuse of the drink can also cause psychological dependency. Moreover, people who use lean frequently may find that they require higher and higher doses to experience the same euphoric effects, which can be dangerous.
In addition to codeine, lean usually includes promethazine and other common drugs that are available without prescription. Promethazine, which is an antihistamine used for treating allergies, and codeine slow brain activity to induce sedative effects. Combined with alcohol and other cough syrup, these ingredients can produce an intense high. It is also very easy to overdose on lean, leading to life-threatening respiratory depression.
Some people also add substances such as cocaine and opium to lean to intensify the sedative and dreamy effects. This combination increases the risk of fatal side effects such as seizures and coma. It is also possible to become addicted to lean quickly because it can trigger the same reward system as opioids do.
Despite the dangers, many young adults continue to abuse lean. They are often unaware that it is a drug and can be addictive, especially if they abuse it regularly. It is important to educate teens about the risks of abusing this substance, and encourage them to seek help if they have problems.