update, like several before it, does not stand alone. To truly
understand the depth of the research and background it is important to
have first read Update #26 Part 1. This Part 2 builds on the previous presentation of Trayvon Martin’s lifestyle choices and drug use connections.
This update is a creation of Treeper “Dedicated Dad“,
who deserves full credit for investing numerous hours researching,
learning, understanding and fitting the disconnected puzzle pieces
together. What we outline here was right in front of our face the
whole time. Yet we looked past it because we were in a position of
ignorance about what we were looking at. We just didn’t know. Now
however, it all comes together:
Several weeks ago, as further information and discovery came to the
surface the whole framing of the original media narrative began to
crumble, I stumbled over a reference to “DXM” in Trayvon’s Facebook history.
It’s nagged at me since, at various times popping to the front of my
mind when Trayvon’s drug use was mentioned, was quickly lost to other
distractions. A couple of evenings ago it again came to the forefront
of consideration. This time I decided to dig in, do a little
research, and see if there might actually be something to it.
What I found was frankly, quite stunning. So much so that it literally made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.
After further reflection this drug use aspect may actually lead to
the greatest understanding, and key, to the whole case. Understanding
exactly where the mindset was of both Trayvon Martin and George
Zimmerman, and what influences are now readily available and out in the
public forum, a number of questions are now finding answers about that
evening’s events, most importantly what precipitated and led to Trayvon
Martin’s approach toward being questioned by George Zimmerman.
So I suppose I should start by answering the obvious: “what in the
heck is Dedicated Dad talking about”, and how would research answer
questions about “intent”?
The substance of research was prodded by with this graphic
of unknown attribution, dealing with the possibility that Trayvon
Martin was not only an illegal drug-user, but possibly a drug-dealer. (Large file version here)
Go ahead and review the whole thing,
because while it most certainly is “controversial” it is also a good
substantive fact-based background in Trayvon’s own words. But, again
it is only background, and more information is needed for the rest of
this discussion. We will highlight some sections of it, from Trayvon
Martin’s own words, throughout this explanation because it speaks to a
“directional sense” in the lifestyle of an evolving teenager.
As I use these Facebook discussions from Trayvon I’m going to correct
the ebonics unless it seems necessary to reference directly to the
source. Otherwise I’ll do my best to interpret it into something
people unfamiliar with nuance within a “cultural language” can
Let’s begin about mid-way down the page on the left-hand side, where Martin says:
“unow a connect for codine” or
“do you know of a connection for codeine”?
Trayvon is seeking a source for the prescription drug Codeine.
Eventually we learn that he’s not seeking the pill form, but rather a
“liquid” form, which he says he’s “had…before.”
His friend responds that he doesn’t NEED codeine – that he can just mix Robitussin and soda to make…
“…some fire @$$ lean.”
Our first question then becomes “What exactly is “lean”"?
WHAT IS “LEAN” ?
According to Urban Dictionary, “Lean” is described as follows:
“… 6. Lean is a mixed drink originating in the Southern Rap culture. It is a mixture of Promethazine and Codeine cough syrup and a soft drink such as Sprite (usually). While other soft drinks may be used, Sprite was the original.
There are some variations of Lean. For example, Promethazine and
Codeine syrup is usually Purple in color. But there are other colors of
syrup that work the same way. There is a golden-colored syrup
(hydrocodone based) and other colors as well.
Lean slows you down. It makes you feel good. It’s meant to be sipped
on, and it taste damn good. One of the best feelings you will ever
experience. Euphoria with a hint of sedation. …”
Lean is also the drug mixture that killed Pimp C. nigga pimp c died on an overdose of lean (urban dictionary descriptive)
OK, so now we know Trayvon is seeking a source for a powerful cough
syrup, commonly used in the ”drug culture or circle” to make an
intoxicating drink called “Lean” – also known as the infamous “purple drank/Purple Lean/Lean/Sizzurp.”
Purple Lean, or Lean, is an intoxicating beverage also known by the names lean, sizzurp, and liquid codeine.
It is commonly abused by southern rappers and wannabe suburban
teenagers. It is a mixture of Promethazine/Codeine cough syrup and
sprite, or other beverage [such as Arizona Watermelon] with a few jolly ranchers and/or skittles thrown in.
There are your “DXM” ”Watermelon Lean” Ingredients
Arizona Watermelon Juice purchased from 7-11 included in the Crime Scene Photographs and incorrectly listed/discussed as “Tea” by Benjamin Crump, the media, and even police reporting authorities.
Promethazine with codeine, consumed in such large amounts as is popular with such southern rappers as lil wayne, slim thug, and Big Moe, produces an opiate-like high that is potentiated by the Promethazine.
Promethazine by itself will not produce a high. The beverage must be sipped slowly, and not guzzled, in order to avoid unconsciousness and/or life threatening overdose.
But what does this have to do with Robitussin or “DXM”? Trayvon clarifies in his next message:
“codine is a higher dose of dxm”
As the conversation continues, Trayvon indicates that he plans to
quit smoking marijuana because he doesn’t want to risk being busted or
“roped”, because it is discoverable in drug testing, and possession of
Marijuana is illegal….. (Obviously he never did actually quit)
….. and further believes he can obtain the same high by drinking “Lean” . But that’s not nearly as important as the fact that he’s
clearly under the impression that prescription Codine is a stronger
form of the drug DXM found in various versions of cough suppressant or
So, what then exactly is “DXM“?
“DXM” is an abbreviation for the cough suppressant Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide — which is the active ingredient in the cough-syrup brand Robitussin.
According to numerous websites found with a search, DXM is
increasingly being abused as a recreational drug. One of the more
scholarly and scientific sites found with in-depth analysis of DXM and
its various uses is “Erowid.org“. According to its “FAQ”, Erowid is:
“…a small non-commercial organization that operates in
the controversial and politically challenging niche of trying to provide
accurate, specific, and responsible information about how
psychoactives are used in the United States and around the world. We
are committed to protecting the privacy of contributors and reporting on
the topic non-judgmentally. Although our primary focus is on the
Erowid.org web site, we also provide research and data for other harm
reduction, health, and educational organizations.”
In short, it’s a site filled with information on various forms of
drug abuse, mostly to enable the abusers to do so with as little risk as
possible. It is not within the scope of this discussion to make any
value judgements about this fact so we’ll continue our discussion –
considering Erowid a valuable resource for our research and typical of
the sort of information someone can easily locate on today’s Internet.
According to Erowid’s ”DXM Home Page“:
DXM is a widely available over-the-counter cough suppressant. When taken far above its standard medical dosage, it is a strong dissociative used primarily by teens.
Their “DXM Basics” page further makes clear that it is:
“…a semisynthetic opiate derivative which is
legally available over-the-counter in the United States. It is most
commonly found in cough suppressants, especially those with “DM” or
“Tuss” in their names. It is almost always used orally, although pure
DXM powder is occasionally snorted…“
At this point you’re probably thinking – as I did at first – “how bad can this stuff be if it’s available over the counter!” However, as we’ll see, it’s actually startlingly dangerous stuff!
Erowid begins to hint at DXM’s seriousness in their “DXM Basics” discussion:
This stuff is compared to PCP ? This is no exaggeration! DXM in higher doses is actually a very volatile and dangerous drug, and they are quite right when they compare DXM to PCP and Ketamine!
In fact, the drug has come to be known in some circles as “Poor-Man’s PCP!”
Perhaps more importantly, unlike marijuana and many other drugs of abuse, DXM does not cause sedation, and in fact can produce profound agitation hence the comparison to PCP. In the “DXM Basics – Problems” section, Erowid notes:
“…DXM causes physical and psychological effects that may
be frightening or unpleasant… Psychological effects can include profound
disorientation, depression, a feeling of personal disintegration, or a
feeling of “unreality” and disconnection that may persist for days. Chronic use may cause depression, psychological dependency, and possibly brain damage. Large doses may be associated with psychotic breaks…”
It was at this point that I first noted the feeling of the hair
standing up on the back of my neck – but this sensation would become
much more common and pronounced as I continued reading and gaining
One of the best sources I’ve found for DXM info is Erowid.org’s “DXM Vault.” One article in particular was especially helpful – “The DXM FAQ by William E. White – Version 4“, published at the previously linked site Erowid.org.
This document is, to be blunt, written for “recreational users” of DXM – those who will use it “to get high.” I will refer to “recreational use” by its proper term: Abuse.
In the document’s “Introduction”, the author notes that as the number
of people abusing DXM has grown since he published the first version of
his FAQ, so to the number of adverse effects and problems has also
“… A few people, on the other hand, seem to be greatly susceptible to DXM addiction and some of these have suffered long-term health consequences.
A very few may have suffered permanent brain damage from extremely
heavy use of DXM (e.g., an 8oz bottle of Maximum Strength syrup every
day). On the other hand, some people consume the same amount for years
seemingly without consequence. And while some people can consume
DXM regularly without psychological consequences, others suffer from
severe depression and psychotic breaks, even leading to a few cases of
Perhaps with the understanding that Trayvon used “Lean” to get high the Medical Examiners notes in the autopsy of Trayvon’s brain cultures now have a new light shed upon them.
For these reasons, the author points out, ”as of the time of his
writing (coincidentally in 1995, the year Trayvon was born!) there just
wasn’t any significant quantity of medical research into the long-term
effects of DXM abuse, which he hopes (unsuccessfully, as it turns out)
will be resolved in the following years, and notes “…Until then, my official recommendation is not to use DXM at all!“
Of course he knows people will not stop using, so he goes on to express his “own personal belief that DXM is probably pretty safe when used occasionally (e.g., once or twice a month) at the lower plateaus, and rarely (e.g., once or twice a year) at the higher plateaus.”
Mr. White then gives hints at the otherwise unclear “data” he’s gathered by saying “I
have yet to hear from anyone who used DXM with this or less frequency
who has suffered any impairment, temporary or permanent. Actually, to
be technically correct, nobody using it once a week for less
than six months has ever seemed to have problems, but it’s always best
to keep a wide safety margin…”
Unfortunately, teenage boys, especially those from within Trayvon’s
cultural demographic, are not known for their temperance, much less “keep[ing] a wide safety margin.“
To the contrary, it’s likely that a young man like Trayvon would
consider Robitussin an easily obtained standby for times when marijuana
was unavailable. In his own words he has already expressed his opinion
that it gives him “the same vibe” – and he is in fact likely to PREFER the DXM as it’s less likely to get him “roped” (busted).
Subsequently a rational framing would be the odds of him limiting his use to “once a week for less than six months” is highly unlikely. We know from his own words to his friends that Trayvon has used DXM as far back as June 2011.
Even more troubling, the author goes on to note:
“Another thing to keep in mind is that DXM in the upper plateaus is a considerably different experience than the lower plateaus, and may be better suited to spiritual or ritual use. Even at the lower plateaus, DXM is not really well suited as a frequent recreational drug
… In summary, I’m not nearly as convinced that DXM is a benevolent psychedelic as I used to be. It is in many ways considerably more powerful (and certainly more dangerous) than LSD or mushrooms.
Like all psychedelics it can profoundly change you; unlike others,
these changes are not necessarily under your control, especially if you
are not very familiar with yourself.
I don’t think there are too many people less “familiar with themselves”
than teenagers whose sense of ”self” is still highly formative.
The concern from this discovery was growing quickly, but this next
section really took the feeling of concern to entirely new heights:
DXM can be a great tool for spiritual rebirth, but it can also turn you into a paranoid, antisocial asshole… It is a unique and uniquely powerful mind-altering drug, and one which I think most people would do best to avoid. “
In short, the “drug-user world’s” foremost “expert” on DXM abuse is
clearly advising against regular, chronic use for some very good
reasons. But if a teenager like Trayvon were even aware of such a
recommendation what degree of confidence would there be that the
would actually heed it? Remember, this is a young man who thinks “codeine is a higher dose of DXM” and is actively seeking to find it.
Therefore, the odds of him accidentally and naively stumbling into enough of a habit to render himself “A paranoid, antisocial asshole“, in the words of Mr. White, are probably quite high.
But… Let’s read on!
Physiology of DXM / Lean Use
We know from Trayvon’s own words that he’s experienced “lean” – and
since he knows what DXM is – but thinks the promethazine/codeine
cocktail is “a higher dose” then he’s also experienced DXM, at least at a
In answer to the question “What’s the DXM Trip Like” the author says:
“Well, that depends on how much you take. There are four
different kinds of experiences, based on the dosage; these are called
The first plateau is a
mild stimulant effect with a little bit of a buzz, and has been
compared to MDA [a more psychedelic cousin of MDMA -aka-"Ecstasy"].
The second plateau is more intoxicating and has been compared to being drunk and stoned at the same time.
The third plateau is dissociative, like a lower dose of ketamine.
The fourth plateau is fully dissociative like a higher dose of ketamine.
You should not [emphasis original!]
attempt higher plateau doses unless you have someone with you who can
take care of you in case you get sick or freak out. It happens on DXM.
Many things can happen unexpectedly on upper plateaus,
such as spontaneous memory recall, complex delusions, hallucinations,
out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, and perceived contact
with spiritual or alien entities. You need to be pretty stable and grounded before you can handle these things“.
“Stable and grounded” would not describe the behavioral or social
pattern of Trayvon Martin who was moved from house to house, parent to
parent, and surrounded by a litany of on-again, off-again, relationships
from his parent’s partners. Could a “complex delusion” or “hallucination“ perhaps elicit a paranoia ”tracked” by George Zimmerman?
One thing is sure – young Trayvon was CLEARLY ANYTHING BUT ”STABLE AND GROUNDED” in both his physical and emotional address.
In another section – “Is DXM Dangerous” – the Author again makes note of the possibility of “bad trips…psychotic breaks…psychological addiction and depression and irreversible brain damage“.
To repeat the obvious, THIS IS VERY VOLATILE, DANGEROUS STUFF
especially in the hands of an impulsive, cognitively immature, and
adolescent minded individual like 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
One of the problems with DXM is that with long-term or regular use “most
of the pleasurable effects of DXM tend to go away … Tolerance can build
rapidly, leaving one only with a general sensation of being high and
In young and impulsive individuals, this can lead the person to take higher doses, looking for the same “vibe“, and thus accidentally lead the individual to find themselves on a much higher “plateau” than they intended.
Lacking both the knowledge and experience to understand what is
happening to them, and the skills or assistance needed to deal with
the ”surprise” effects, an ungrounded teen can suddenly find themselves
in a dangerous – even potentially fatal – situation!
The “FAQ” lists the following “Risks” (among others):
- “Major Risks of Occasional Use:
- Panic Attacks
- Psychotic Breaks
- Impaired Judgement in Critical Situations (!!)
- “Risks of Regular Use and Binges:
- Violent Ideations, Antisocial Behavior and Paranoia
- Habituation and Psychological Addiction
- Tolerance and Physical Addiction
- Liver, Kidney and Pancreas Damage“
At this point it is highly important to remember, or refer to, the coroners report about Trayvon’s Liver? (a screen grab is below)
In addition to the risks of DXM itself, many
DXM-containing products contain other active ingredients that can be
dangerous. Common additives include acetaminophen (Tylenol), which can
cause fatal liver-damage in large doses. Products containing Chlorpheniramine Maleate such as Coricidin Cough and Cold should especially be avoided. See DXM Health for more information.
When you take acetaminophen,
[such as would be used in making Purple/Watermelon Lean] your liver
breaks it down into a substance called N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine, or
NAPQI, which is toxic to your liver [...] Your liver contains an
antioxidant called glutathione that can keep NAPQI from causing damage,
but too much acetaminophen reduces glutathione and leaves your liver
open to harm [...] acetaminophen only causes liver damage if you take
more than your body can handle.
These post-mortem symptoms of DXM use would also mask themselves as a
variety of causes for ‘mild fatty metamorphosis of the liver’ if you
were not specifically knowledgable of the subject’s history. Obviously
in this example neither Tracy Martin, nor Sybrina Fulton would be
informing the Medical Examiner of prior drug use.
We can confirm from his Facebook and Twitter Accounts that Trayvon
had essentially been “sippin sippin” (using Lean or DXM) for at least a
year, perhaps longer. It would appear from the Medical Examiners report
Trayvon’s liver was showing the early indicators of excessive use
consistent with such a timeframe.
Psychology of DXM Use
In the FAQ’s section on “Psychotic Breaks” the author notes:
“…Be very careful in trying to restrain the tripper, since she or he may perceive this as a threat, and will probably be mostly immune to pain...the tripper, like a cornered animal, could beat the living shit out of you without thinking twice. (!!) …”
So, where does all of this lead? At this point, after reviewing all
the information, it appears quite probable that a pattern of drug
cocktail use specifically led to the mindset, or psychological
environment, between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin on the night of
The tone or hostility of the encounter, and Trayvon’s response to
being confronted, would more easily be understood against the backdrop
of the discovery for his prior drug use; and more specifically the types
of drugs being used.
It is quite possible that Trayvon Martin – experiencing the tolerance
effects caused by chronic use of DXM - potentially took a larger dose
of DXM than he’d had before, or at the very least was recently
indulging himself in an admitted actitity. Maybe even suffered a
“psychotic break”, but at least the behavioral paranoia and
psychological stress consistent with the use of long-term DXM use might
have to a physical and psychological reaction to questions by George
Zimmerman, and ultimately to his aggressive response.
Trayvon would not necessarily have needed to be under the “immediate
influence” of the “trip” at the time (Robotrippin’), he could just
as easily have been preparing for his next “trip” while still holding
the long-lasting effects from prior use. The timing of prior use may
contribute to his emotional state, or the cumulative effect could have
been a contributing factor. Both are just as potentially dangerous.
If however, Martin was in the midst of a stress induced ”psychotic break”, or under duress exacerbated by George Zimmerman’s “eyeballing him“,
well, then, there’s really nothing George Zimmerman could have done
once the confrontation began. Any confrontation at all could have led
to the same outcome.
The FAQ advises a “Tripper’s” “Safety Person” to:
“…Instead of restraint, try talking him or her down. Be
calm, soothing, and repeatedly remind the tripper that they have taken a
drug which has critically impaired their perceptions. Remind them of
who they are and how they got here, and that the experience will end…”
That sounds great, on paper, - except for the fact that George Zimmerman had no idea Trayvon Martin was potentially “Robo-tripping“, and it’s rather difficult to “be calm, soothing” and so on when the “tripper” has already snapped and is busy “beat[ing] the snot out of you without thinking twice!!“
We know from Trayvon himself that last summer, between the school years, in or around June 2011, Trayvon was engaged in DXM/Lean and Marijuana use.
We also know there are multiple behavioral side effects from DSM/Lean
use. Those side effects and impacts on cognitive judgement increase
with prolonged exposure. The more you use, the worse the psychological