Lean, also known as purple drank and several other names, is a recreational drug beverage, prepared by combining prescription-grade cough syrup with a soft drink and hard candy. The concoction originated in Houston, Texas, and is popular in the hip hop culture or those who reside in the southern United States.
The term lean refers to “abusers’ propensity of having difficulty in standing up straight.” “Purple drank” references its typically purple hue, as the cough syrups employed are often purple in color, and an African-American Vernacular English term for an alcoholic beverage or intoxicating drink. Other names include sizzurp, syrup, drank, barre, purple jelly, wok, Texas tea, and dirty Sprite.
Typically, the base for lean has been prescription cold medicine, specifically cough syrup, one that contains both promethazine and codeine, but over-the-counter cold medicine that lists dextromethorphan as the active ingredient has also been used, as it can produce similar effects and eliminate the need for a doctor’s visit. To create a drinkable mixture, the cough syrup is combined with Sprite, Mountain Dew, or grape-flavored Fanta and is typically served in a foam cup. A hard candy, usually a Jolly Rancher, may be added to give the mixture a sweeter flavor.