If you’ve been inside a gas station or convenience store lately, you may have seen the bottles. They have names like Tianaa, TD Red, and ZaZa Red. They promise everything from pain relief to mood boost to even an alternative to cannabis, but they all give one thing in common: Tianeptine addiction.

Tianeptine is used as an antidepressant in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, but it was never approved by the FDA for medical use in the US. The drug hits the same receptors in the brain as opioids, giving it the nickname ‘Gas Station Heroin’ because of its easy availability.

Here's Why Tianeptine Is So Dangerous

"Za Za" Tianeptine Supplements
Nova Distro Inc
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Because there are no FDA regulations on Tianeptine, each supplement brand has its own “blend” so you’re never sure exactly what else is in the pills. Tianeptine supplements typically cost around $30 for a bottle of fifteen pills. VICE News spoke with a recovering Tianeptine addict who said that at the height of his usage, he would consume three to six bottles per day.

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One of the aspects that make the pills so addictive is that the high they give is extremely short, prompting users to pop another one. Then when they try to wean themselves off Tianeptine, the drug gives addicts extreme withdrawals – nausea, fever, body pain, sweating, and horrible, constant chills.

Is New York Doing Anything To Stop Tianeptine Sales?

A graph about the dangers of Tianeptine
CDC
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Tianeptine pills are still legal and unregulated in New York. The only states to ban the sale of these drugs are Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee. The FDA is warning people about the pseudo-opioid as poison control center calls related to the drug rise across the country.

New York has introduced legislation to make any product with Tianeptine a Schedule II narcotic. That would make these supplements a controlled substance that could only be prescribed by a doctor and take them out of gas stations and convenience stores. The bill is currently sitting in the NYS Senate Health Committee, where it’s been for the past year. So for now, be careful to avoid any product with Tianeptine and protect yourself.

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