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

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Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 1:10 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WYMT) - On Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear signed an emergency regulation that classified all products containing tianeptine as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Tianeptine is an unregulated drug known as “gas station heroin”, and it produces opioid-like effects. It is available online and in convenience stores and gas stations. It has no known medical use, but it has been linked to serious harm, overdoses and death.

“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.”

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. It is unapproved in the U.S. as reports of bad reactions and unwanted effects increased.

Officials with the FDA said people with a history of opioid-use disorder or dependence may be at particular risk of abusing tianeptine.

Side effects from abusing or misusing tianeptine include agitation, drowsiness, confusion, sweating, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, slowed or stopped breathing, coma and death.

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