Gov. Beshear takes step to stop sale of ‘gas station heroin’

Use of tianeptine can cause harm, overdoses, officials say
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 11:22 AM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky (WSAZ) - Gov. Andy Beshear signed an emergency regulation on Thursday classifying all products containing tianeptine, an unregulated drug known as “gas station heroin” that produces opioid-like effects, as a Schedule I controlled substance.

According to officials, Tianeptine, which is available online and in convenience stores and gas stations, has no known medical use.

It has been linked to serious harm, overdoses and death, according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA).

The drug is approved for use in other parts of the world, where it is marketed as Coaxil or Stablon.

In the United States, tianeptine is known as ZaZa, Tianna, TD Red and Pegasus.

Officials report side effects from abusing or misusing tianeptine by itself or with other drugs, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, include agitation, drowsiness, confusion, sweating, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, slowed or stopped breathing, coma and death.

Tianeptine is an unapproved drug in the United States. Officials say reports of bad reactions and unwanted effects are increasing.

Cases described in medical journals, calls to poison control centers and reports to the FDA suggest tianeptine has a potential for abuse. People with a history of opioid-use disorder or dependence may be at particular risk of abusing tianeptine, according to the FDA.

“Today, Kentucky became a safer place,” said Gov. Beshear. “Until now, someone looking for a heroin-like high could walk into certain places or buy this harmful product online. We’re committed to protecting Kentuckians from this kind of harm, and if someone is struggling with abuse, we’re here to help.”

Resources for addiction and recovery include FindHelpNowKY, the KY Help Call Center (833-8KY-HELP) and the Kentucky Opioid Response Effort, or KORE.

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