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Substance misuse

What is “Lean”?

A group of young adults sit together on a bed in a cosy bedroom. One holds a glass in their hands. Overlaid is text that reads: "Drugs Awareness Poster Hub".

Substance misuse is an issue which cuts across our organisation and we have worked with frontline staff at Surrey Young People’s Substance Misuse to produce downloadable resources that anyone working with young people, or who would like to know more about emerging trends, can download, print off and share.

Lean or ‘Purple Drank’ are terms used to describe a recreational drug which our substance misuse practitioners are seeing increased use of. It’s a concoction of over the counter or prescribed liquid medicine (such as cough syrup) mixed with fizzy drinks and sometimes fruit-flavoured sweets. A dangerous and addictive drug, Lean can be fatal when taken with alcohol and other drugs.

Lean may commonly be called: ‘Purple Drank’, ‘Dirty Sprite’, or ‘Sizzurp’


  • Lean is a drink typically made from a cocktail of substances including; codeine linctus (an Opiate), promethazine, paracetamol and dextromethorphan;
    mixed with fizzy/ fruit soft drinks.
  • If you drink Lean prepared by others you don’t really know what drugs it might contain or what effect it may have. Some of the drugs in Lean may be illegal.
  • If you prepare or use Lean you cannot be sure how strong the mixture is. As a result there is a risk of overdose, which can be fatal.
  • Using Lean together with alcohol or other drugs is very dangerous, and can have unpredictable effects, especially risky when used with other depressants.
  • Lean can cause sedation, psychological and physical dependence as well as other risks to your physical and mental health and if used regularly you may experience unpleasant symptoms when use is stopped.

If you have used Lean and you’re feeling unwell or notice someone else is unwell whilst using, after using or after stopping using Lean, then seek medical attention urgently. Contact 111 for urgent medical advice or 999 in an emergency.