The Company Behind Your Favorite Rapper's Favorite Cough Syrup Will Stop Making 'Lean'

by Doran Miller-Rosenberg

Actavis, perhaps the most popular and recognizable brand of lean (promethazine and codeine cough syrup) is stopping production.

They cited media attention and glamorization of the unlawful, dangerous uses of the drug, which of course, they never intended people to do. They also didn't profit off it too much, or at least won't anymore.

It's funny, because how do all these bottles of factory-made and shipped bottles of lean get out to the public?

You'd think they make it based on demand, then ship it to approved retailers of the stuff, yet thousands of bottles of Actavis have been making it onto the black market, then embarrassing the good people at Actavis when they're abused and glorified. It's so strange.

Noisey did a piece on lean recently in which they tried to figure out how this regulated product keeps getting into Biebers' grubby, little hands. If a bottle can go for hundreds on the open market, and insurance will only pay a fraction, you guess what lean manufacturers are going to do.

If this is how they interact with the public, imagine what they're doing when no one's looking:

"Repeated calls from Noisey to Morton Grove and its parent company, Wockhardt Limited, went unanswered. Calling Morton Grove’s main number rings and rings, ultimately dumping off into a voicemail box labeled 'general.'"

The FDA had been sending warnings Wockhardt Limited, that the company hasn't properly accounted for what it's made and sold, and has delayed and limited FDA inspections.

Another company that makes lean is Tri State Distribution:

"I can only describe my interactions with Tri State Distribution as bizarre. Their website directs all business to a 1-800 number. Since I am not a customer, the automated system told me to press '0,' which led me to the sales department. "On my first attempt, a sales rep told me that she’s not allowed to forward my calls to anyone else within the company. Instead, she had instructions to direct all inquiries to a P.O. box." “'Isn’t that a little odd?' I asked. She chuckled and said yes, pausing for a moment. 'But if you hang on just a moment, I’ll give you the number for Human Resources. They’ve left for the day, but you can try them in the morning.'" "When I called the number the next morning, I realized it was the number for the Home Shopping Network."

Lean is a strange, niche drug. Because it's nominally cough syrup, a common product we all have access to, and the opportunity to abuse, it seems harmless in comparison to more recognizably evil drugs like heroin.

But when you read about daily users, or see what's happened to Gucci Mane over the past few years, this doesn't sound like the recreational fun associated with other, more socially accepted drugs.

Mondre M.A.N., one half of Main Attrakionz, Oakland's magnetic cloud rap duo gave Vice a great, succinct description of what lean is like:

"Alright, so if you been sippin’, if you really been sippin’ this shit, and you ain’t had none for like a day or a two or three, your stomach gonna start hurting. You're gonna want some more lean. It's like heroin. Liquid heroin, man." "Okay, so man, I wake up. I probably already have a cup in the refrigerator. You sip it and you're gonna feel it hit your stomach, you feel me? "The thing though, the shit gonna keep you calm, keep you cool. But if you got a busy day though or your girlfriend is in your ear or you got problems or some shit, you gonna get really mad real fast man. You're gonna start flashing and shit."

First Actavis, now the rest. The era of lean is over.

H/T: Noisey, Photo Courtesy: We Heart It