Lean: Drug Abuse in South Africa

Most youth gatherings and social events are incomplete without the presence of a small cough syrup/Stillpane, an anti-flu, antitussive, and somniferous drug, which at first glance seems harmless. However, young South Africans see it differently, and this is the root of a big problem.

Cough syrup is the nucleus of a substance called Lean, a compound based on codeine, candy, soda, and sometimes alcohol.  Codeine or methyl morphine is a drug extracted from opium, less toxic than morphine, used primarily as an analgesic and narcotic in the treatment of conditions such as cough and chronic pain, but in this case, people use it as a “recreational drug”.

This drink originated in the United States around the 1960s, where musicians mixed syrup with beer. However, it became popular by the 1990s, thanks to rockers and rappers who mixed it with candy and soda.

The boom in its recent popularity is due to musical movements considered only as a “trap rap”, which mention in their songs and present in their videos this substance also known as Purple Drank, Sizzurp or dirty Sprite. Although it is not the origin of Lean, without a doubt this musical “movement” contributed to its consolidation as a “necessity” for most social events nowadays.

Special cases reported in Durban schools confirms that several children, including those as young as Grade 5, use this drug. The teachers of those schools claim to have found several empty bottles of cough syrups on school cleaning days.

Having someone close to you addicted to a drug is not a simple thing, especially when we talk about something so popular and close to each of us, where the possibility of relapse is everywhere. The first step is to learn about our enemy – the drug – and understand how we can help those we love.

Codeine – The Lean’s Secret

Codeine is one of the most widely used opioids worldwide, a fundamental tool in pain and cough treatment, which belongs to the family of narcotics.

As a derivative of opium, it can bind to opioid receptors found mainly in the central nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. It can nullify or diminishing the pain signals that travel to our brain, making it an effective analgesic.

However, like most opioids, codeine has important side effects, such as sedation and stupor. In fact, codeine is in the top 10 most addictive substances in the world, which warns us of the powerful drug it is.

Therapeutic benefits have always outweighed society misuse, yet the recent trend has led to the creation of many dependents after immeasurable abuse.

In South Africa, there is a large population of people – especially children and young people – addicted to Lean, who need help to overcome this drug.

Some symptoms of codeine abuse:

-Sleepiness and sedation: Like any opioid, its main action is to depress the nervous system. The problem lies in the dose since if the person exceeds the recommended, even death can occur. As a central nervous system depressant, it will eventually cause your muscles to stop responding to your brain, so your chest will not move and you will not be able to breathe.

-Sensory alterations: reality distortion, paranoia, and sensations of euphoria or relaxation are part of the symptoms of the excessive use of codeine. These manifestations are due to the effect of this drug on the opium receptors found in the nervous system.

– Cardiovascular: We can observe alterations of the rhythm normally oriented towards the increase of the cardiac frequency, although high doses cause a decrease and slowing of the rhythm. Frequently, this drug consumption leads to alterations of the vascular flow, causing important secondary problems such as erectile dysfunction.

-Others: there is also the possibility that the consumer suffers from mild symptoms such as nausea and vomiting to more serious complications tremors, convulsions, loss of consciousness and muscle tone.

Rehabilitation – Opium Antagonists

Most people know Lean as a conventional and populist drug, which deserves nothing more than “to walk away momentarily” to overcome it. In fact, many of them ask common questions as:

-Can Lean be so addictive?

-Is a rehabilitation system necessary?

-Can I keep the affected person away from drug abuse?

However, if you think that way, you are mistaken.

Opium, as mentioned above, is one of the 10 most addictive substances in the world. Lean’s compounds shares category with other powerful drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and morphine. The codeine present can quickly create addiction, and no matter how confident you are, it is difficult to give it up on your own.

The best way to overcome any disorder is with the help of our specialists, where we use the best solutions to help with the battle against addiction.

As discussed in Naltrexone Helps Overcome Opioid Abuse, Naltrexone is one of the best drugs used in “Lean” rehabilitation, among the few approved by the FDA, because it is an opium antagonist. This is an effective blocker of opium receptors, the cause of the effect of codeine, making it ideal for treating any addicted patient.

The best way is to take the oral medication in a controlled space, where there are people dedicated to helping the patient improve and overcome their addiction.

Having an addicted family/friend is a burden to anyone, representing a tremendous physical and emotional toll. ARCA’s rehabilitation treatment in a specialised centre takes a weight off your shoulders and it is the best way to ensure getting their life back for good. Our team of trained medical professionals and therapists will ensure that you are guided step by step through your recovery.

Give us a call today on 062 2770 911 or 011 656 0705 for a consultation.

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