Conquering Addiction


Florida bans 'gas station heroin' in emergency filing

Tianeptine now banned in 9 states
Zaza or "gas station heroin" is now banned in Florida.
Posted at 11:22 AM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 16:54:59-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A popular drug that can be deadly and easily found at gas stations is now banned in the state of Florida.

Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency rule to outlaw tianeptine, or "gas station heroin," last month.

Tianeptine, which is found in the drug and often called Zaza, is on the Schedule I list of controlled substances in Florida, which means it is now a felony to have, sell or buy the drug.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the drug for any medical use, yet it is often sold as a supplement in gas stations, convenience stores and online.

According to a press release by the attorney general's office, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee have outlawed the drug due to its highly addictive nature and severe withdrawal symptoms.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said the drug is used for its euphoric properties similar to other opioids, such as heroin. Severe adverse health effects, including respiratory depression, severe sedation and death have occurred from misuse.

Conquering Addiction

Nurse shares concerns about opioid-like drug 'Zaza' after nearly losing friend

Victor Jorges
4:02 PM, Aug 17, 2023

A couple of weeks ago, WPTV spoke to a local nurse who was devastated after losing her friend to the drug.

For nurse Ashley Harrison, this drug is a nightmare that almost claimed her friend’s life.

"I couldn't imagine losing her or her family losing her," Harrison said. "She's a beautiful soul and has so much to offer."

Harrison said her friend spent two days in the intensive care unit after buying the drug from a smoke shop in Delray Beach. Harrison said her friend was hospitalized, put on a Narcan drip, and continued to feel symptoms after a stranger found her on the side of the road.

"It's scary that it doesn’t have to be illegal," she said. "All you have to do is go into a local store."

With that story, WPTV also spoke to Luis Garcia, a retired firefighter and the founder of a nonprofit that teaches people how to use NARCAN and distributes it all around the country.

He said the issue of whether or not to carry this product in a store is a moral one.

"It’s really based on that store or owner's business conscience," he said.

According to a news release by the attorney general’s office, Florida's Poison Control Center received 15 exposure calls from tianeptine in the first half of 2023 from users between the ages of 23 to 58. Last year, 24 calls were reported, and 54 over the last four.

Keep in mind that those calls were voluntary, so the attorney general's office said the number of cases likely exceeds those reported.