#LeanOnMe campaign – raising awareness and educating communities about codeine abuse amongst the youth
Substance abuse doesn’t only affect the user, it affects those around them; family, friends and the community at large. For this reason, when substance abusers reform, they need the help and support of all those around them.
South Africa has seen a rapid increase in the consumption of lean amongst its youth. Lean is a mixture of codeine, found in cough mixtures, along with other ingredients including fizzy drinks. The mixture is known to have an intoxicating effect that calms and relaxes the user, this can last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours. The state of euphoria is believed to fuel creative thinking.
Codeine is a pain medicine that is commonly used to treat mild to moderate pain, it is also used in cough suppressants1. This pain medicine is addictive when consumed in large quantities. The abuse of this drug may lead to effects such as body aches, difficulty breathing, impaired vision, organ damage, and in some cases death 2.
Lean is most popular in the entertainment industry, with some celebrities popularising the drug.3 The problem herein lies in that the youth look up to these celebrities, and use them as a point of reference when it comes to deciding what’s cool and trendy, and as a result, increasing the drug abuse rates in a country that is already faced with a substance abuse problem.
The Norwood Community Police Forum (NCPF) is dedicated to curbing this growing trend and providing the youth with any assistance they may need.
#LeanOnMe is a campaign aimed at sensitising communities and raising awareness as well as educating the community about lean and the effects of codeine abuse amongst the youth. The campaign ultimately seeks to drive change in reducing the drug abuse problem the country is facing, particularly that of codeine consumption.
The #LeanOnMe campaign aims to encourage the youth to have confidence in their talents and ask for help when they need it, as opposed to relying on external forces to fuel their creativity and numb their pain. Irrespective of the challenges they may be facing, the campaign wants to ensure that young people remember that there is always someone they can lean on for support. As part of the campaign, the youth and the community at large will be provided with facts about the dangers of lean consumption, symptoms of addiction, and be provided with information on how to get the necessary help needed to quit.
- Article. Addiction Center. Codeine Addiction and Abuse. https://www.addictioncenter.com/opiates/codeine/ (Accessed on 17 May 2021)
- Article. American Addiction Centers. Codeine Side Effects: Is Addiction Possible? https://americanaddictioncenters.org/codeine-addiction (Accessed on 17 May 2021)
- Riky. Laguna View Detox. Lean Drink aka Purple Drank: Deadly Effects Risks and Treatment. 08 October 2019. https://lagunaviewdetox.com/lean-drink-purple-drank/ (Accessed on 17 May 2021)