Tianeptine pills, also known as zazaza red or gas station heroin, are becoming a problem in Mississippi and across the country. These pills are marketed as a dietary supplement to provide an intense mood boost and increased mental clarity. However, the drugs are not delivering on their promises and can cause addiction and even overdoses. The Drug Enforcement Administration has reported a rapid increase in calls to poison control centers related to the drug. Tianeptine, or zaza red, is a tricyclic antidepressant that is used legally as an antidepressant in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
Despite its antidepressant properties, tianeptine has been banned in some countries due to its opioid-like effects. This is what earned the drugs their slang name gas station heroin because the drug hits opioid receptors in the brain. The resulting high can be dangerous for some people and cause severe withdrawal in others. Moreover, the drug interacts poorly with other substances, especially alcohol and other drugs that target the same opioid receptors as tianeptine.
The pills sell under a variety of names and come in capsule, pill, liquid, or bulk powder forms that people will swallow and dissolve into a liquid to drink, smoke, or inject. Some people will add other ingredients, such as kratom and phenibut, to enhance the effect. In some cases, the drugs are marketed as an appetite suppressant or to improve muscle tone. The drugs are available at gas stations, convenience stores, and online retailers. The drugs are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so it is hard to know exactly what is inside each batch. The labels typically read as a proprietary blend and do not disclose the actual dose or ingredients. A few batches tested have revealed a mix of filler materials, such as dried plant material, baking soda, and liquid vegetable fat.
Because the tianeptine in Zaza Red is a tricyclic antidepressant, it works in a different way than traditional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Rather than increasing serotonin, tianeptine binds to the MU opioid receptors in the brain. This produces the same effects as opioids like fentanyl and heroin. The effects can be incredibly intense for those who abuse the drug, and are often longer-lasting than other legal highs.
The heightened feelings can make a person more prone to compulsive behavior, which can lead to substance abuse and addiction. This is why it is important to seek help if you or someone you know has been abusing zazaza red. There are effective, non-drug treatments for addiction, including detoxification, residential treatment, and individual and group counseling. Moreover, these treatment options can help you learn healthy coping mechanisms and regain control of your life.