JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Hundreds of so-called ‘gas station heroin’ products are off the shelves thanks to a recent sweep by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The sweep comes shortly after Florida’s Attorney General issued an emergency rule outlawing the products.
Attorney General Ashley Moody put that rule into place less than a month ago.
The sweep covered 50 businesses in 27 counties and resulted in the seizure of 653 packages of products that contain the chemical Tianeptine.
You may have never heard of Tianeptine, but perhaps you’ve seen it on store shelves under a different name.
“Tianna is one. ZaZa, and they have different formulations of ZaZa, like ZaZa Red. Pegasus is another one of the brands that it’s been sold under,” said Dr. Dawn Sollee, Director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Jacksonville.
Sollee explained Tianeptine is used in some countries as an anti-depressant, but in recent years it’s gained popularity as a recreational drug sold in gas stations and smoke shops here in the States.
“It does work at some of the same mu receptors that opioids work at as well. And especially in the higher doses that people are taking when they’re abusing it, they’re not taking the little amount that the anti-depressant doses were. They’re going up several hundred-fold,” said Sollee.
And while Sollee said calls to poison control have been relatively few and far between, only 31 statewide this year in Florida, she noted the possibility of children gaining access to the products and their high addiction potential makes them particularly concerning.
“People that are taking this and they are setting alarms in the middle of the night just to take it,” said Sollee.
The recent operation didn’t uncover any gas station heroin products being sold here in Northeast Florida, but a convenience store in Green Cove Springs was cited for selling illegal synthetic marijuana products.
However, Sollee explained Tianeptine has previously been seen in our region.
“Does that mean that maybe they’ve pulled it off their shelves now because they know that there are these sweeps going on? That’s possible. But we definitely know that it has been around here in our area,” said Sollee.
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If you have any concerns or questions about these products or any other dangerous substance, Dr. Solle encouraged you to contact the poison center at 1-800-222-1222.