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FDA recalls ‘gas station heroin’; tianeptine abuse grows despite Arkansas ban



Little Rock, Arkansas – The Food and Drug Administration is warning customers about a substance that can have negative psychological and physical impacts on individuals who take it.

The FDA has issued a recall for the medication tianeptine, also referred to as gas station heroin. They sent warning letters not to sell this substance at petrol stations and smoke shops around the nation, where the stuff is typically located.

This ingredient has effects akin to those of opioids and can be found in medications like Neptune’s Fix, Za Za, and Tianaa.

“While it may not be as potent as drugs such as heroin and fentanyl, we are going to start to see a lot of the same types of symptoms like becoming less responsive, we can see their breathing slow down and eventually it may stop if you take enough of it,” said Ari Filip, Medical Director for the Arkansas Poison Control and Information Center.

The FDA states that between 2000 and 2013, poison control centers nationwide recorded 11 cases. In 2020 alone, that number surged to 151 instances.

To counter these figures, the Arkansas Department of Health classified this as a controlled substance in 2022, according to state Senator Justin Boyd.

This means that unless your doctor orders differently, it is unlawful to purchase, sell, or send anything into Arkansas.

“It is not federally illegal, but it is illegal in the state of Arkansas,” said Boyd. “Anywhere within the boundaries of the state of Arkansas, it is just as illegal to sell tianeptine as it is oxycodone, hydrocodone, Adderall, Ritalin, or any other scheduled two substances.”

Filip added that they are still receiving more cases despite this.

“We are actually seeing the number of tianeptine cases rise,” said Filip. “We are certainly seeing these overdoses occurring despite this being a banned substance here in Arkansas.”

He claimed that the overdoses they are witnessing are not related to tightly regulated pharmaceutical items, where you frequently don’t know what you’re getting.

“Things that can cause really wild and unpredictable effects on the body,” said Filip. “We are seeing fatalities in other places in the country from people overdosing on this. You could also be getting other drugs that are not regulated that could be even worse.”

According to Filip, there hasn’t been a recorded death in the state as a result of tianeptine overdose, but withdrawal symptoms can be severe at times, possibly accompanied by seizures and hallucinations.

To maintain that high, it frequently triggers the need to take harsher drugs.

Tianeptine-containing items are also offered online, and shipping them into the state of Arkansas is prohibited.



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