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Her organization seeks to combat substance abuse, especially in Durham’s youth community. Her concerns are echoed by Durham community activist Minister Paul Scott.
“The (illegal) drink is glorified in today’s rap music and has caused the deaths of hip hop artists. Legal Lean is being promoted as having the same effects,” Scott wrote in a note to Mayor Bill Bell.
The product, which is manufactured by the company behind snortable chocolate Coko Loko, sells for $12.50 online. According to a spokesperson on the site, Legal Lean is also sold at "corner stores and smoke shops."
Though many have called for more regulations, Legal Lean’s natural ingredients exclude it from FDA regulations, Cynthia Kuhn, professor in the Duke University School of Medicine’s Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, told the Herald-Sun.
“You don't know if there is effective dosage in there, and you don't know if they interact with each other because they haven’t, much, been studied in combination.”
In a promotional video, a man can be seen purchasing Legal Lean and within hours exhibiting drowsy symptoms and requesting " a case" of Legal Lean.
Though the website specifies Legal Lean is for adults 18 and older and is not approved by the FDA, advocates like Scott and others say its hip-hop connotation and promises to relax and calm may be appealing to young people.
“We’re in an age when millennials are waking up socially and politically, and it’d be a shame to put them back to sleep,” Scott said. “Parents in Durham should be scared.”