A drug dubbed “gas station heroin” is popping up in convenience stores across America and getting users hooked. The pills, which contain tianeptine and are sold under names like Zaza Red, Tianna, Pegasus, and TD Red, are being advertised as a natural brain-boosting supplement and marketed as a mood enhancer. But they can also cause a dangerous opioid-like high that’s been linked to addiction and even death, according to NewsNation.
The alleged ingredients in ZAZA Red, including tianeptine, hit the mu opioid receptors in the brain, which is what gives them their addicting effects for some people. The pills have a short half-life, meaning the effects can wear off quickly, and users with a high tolerance may need up to three or six pills a day to feel a noticeable effect. The pills are allegedly marketed as a way to reduce stress and increase energy, but they’re being used by some to self-medicate for anxiety, depression, and pain.
While tianeptine is approved for prescription use in Europe, it’s not FDA-approved here in the United States. It’s also a controlled substance in some countries. The UAB researchers who investigated ZAZA Red say it’s not the first time they’ve heard of a compound sold as a dietary supplement leading to abuse and addiction.
They say a lot of the problems associated with TIanna and other tianeptine products are because the pills don’t follow proper manufacturing standards. The capsules aren’t child-proof or idiot-proof, and the bottles come with cheap, easy-to-open lids that make it possible for anyone to access them. In addition, combining tianeptine with other drugs that interact with the mu opioid receptors can lead to exaggerated sedation and life-threatening side effects.
Another problem with ZAZA Red is that the doses of tianeptine in each pill aren’t standardized. People who have a high tolerance to the drug often take multiple pills at once or in larger amounts than recommended, and the results aren’t always pleasant. A person can become addicted to tianeptine if they continue to take large doses and do so over long periods of time, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms that are similar to those caused by opioids.
Those who have been taking zazane, tianna or any other td red products are encouraged to seek detox help. Medically supervised detox helps to ease withdrawal symptoms and can be the gateway to residential treatment, where patients receive education, support and recovery away from their daily triggers. It’s the best way to break a dependence on drugs and avoid relapse. For more information on how to get help for a substance abuse problem, call the SAFER Institute today. We’re here to help you regain control of your life.