So, I was listening to Macklemore the other day and I heard “Other Side” for the first time. This song is practically a PSA about the dangers of Lean. Macklemore’s albums are practically an after school special on topics ranging from drug abuse, homophobia, and consumerism. I enjoyed listening to “Other Side” because it put his song “Starting Over” in prospective for me. For those of you who don’t know, Lean is a mixture of fruity soda and cough syrup with Codeine. Cough syrup w/ codeine is a schedule V narcotic. If I remember correctly schedule I narcotics have no recognized medicinal use (ie Opium, and Peyote) and schedule V is the lowest level narcotic with the least potential for abuse. I am shocked by this classification. Lean, Sizzrup, Purp it goes by all sorts of names but it’s all essentially the same stuff.
Cough syrup with Codeine isn’t new. This drug was one of the reasons for prohibition in the 1920’s. I know it may seem strange to you but there was once a time in this country without a DEA, FDA or FCC. In those days you could purchase cocaine, marijuana, opium, and any pharmaceutical without a prescription. People could advertise snake oil to cure anything from baldness to hot flashes and it was all perfectly legal. Prohibition came to be for two main reasons. The first reason was that bars and brothels cashed pay checks. The second was the prevalence of addicts. It is one thing to see a wayward beggar on the off ramp of a freeway, addicted to smack. It’s another thing when addicts are suburban housewives that drive to Walgreens to legally purchase their fix. So if we’ve known how dangerous this stuff is since at least the 1920’s why is it so easy to get?