Did you know that Instagram is being widely used as an open-air drug market? It is. Vice just covered the story of the vast Instagram trade of lean a.k.a sizzurp a.k.a. the purple cough syrup that's been widely popularized in hip-hop music, and recently landed Gucci Mane in prison and rehab. Dealers post photos of their drug hauls and people looking for drugs can just search under terms like #lean or #drank and pay the dealer over PayPal to score.
Lean is cough syrup that contains codeine and promethazine, and the highest end prescription brand is called Actavis (which is purple), though there are a few others out there. Users typically mix it with Sprite, though sometimes with alcohol (though that can get dangerous), and photos of rappers sitting around, drunk looking, with huge styrofoam cups of the stuff are now ubiquitous. As are the references to "lean" or "drank" or "mud" or "dirty Sprite" in rap music. Mondre Man of Oakland-based hip-hop duo Main Attrakionz has spoken publicly about his use of lean, saying, "It's like heroin. Liquid heroin, man."
The effects, so we gather, are to heighten sensations and give you an overall mellow body high that eventually puts you to sleep. Codeine, of course, is an opiate.
Instagram parent company Facebook doesn't want another Silk Road situation on their hands, so they're now cracking down, as the BBC reports. They're banning certain search terms (we note that "lean" no longer works, but "drank" still does) to try to avert trouble, but kids are probably still connecting to dealers via posts like this one where there are links to private accounts. Also available: Xanax, marijuana, and a host of other stuff. No word on whether there's free shipping.
"People can't buy things on Instagram, we are simply a place where people share photos and videos," says an Instagram spokeswoman. "We encourage people who come across illegal or inappropriate content to report it to us using the built-in reporting tools next to every photo, video or comment, so we can take action."