General Merchandise/HBC

Florida Bans Opioid-Like Substance Sold in Convenience Stores

Tianeptine, or ‘gas station heroin,’ sold under brands like Pegasus, Zaza Red, attorney general says
Tianeptine products
Photograph courtesy of the Florida Attorney General's Office

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an emergency rule Thursday to ban tianeptine in the state. The substance is commonly known as “gas station heroin,” Moody said, and it is sold as a dietary supplement under brand names like Pegasus, Tianaa or Zaza Red.

Tianeptine can mimic the effects of opioids and is available at gas stations, convenience stores and online, Moody said.

Tianeptine products have been linked to serious harm, overdoses and death, the Food and Drug Administration said on its website.

“People seeking to treat their ailments sometimes mistake a product as being safe because it’s easily available, whether online or even at gas stations,” the FDA said. “But availability is no indication of effectiveness or safety. This is especially true of tianeptine, an unapproved drug associated with serious health risks and even death.”

Tianeptine is now on the Schedule I list of controlled substances in Florida. It’s banned in other states like Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee for its addictiveness and the severe withdrawal symptoms it causes, Moody said.

“Tianeptine, also known as gas station heroin, is highly addictive and even deadly,” Moody said. “The federal government reports deaths nationwide, and tianeptine is causing an increase in calls to Florida’s Poison Control Center. We are taking immediate action to outlaw this dangerous substance in our state. No one should buy, sell or use products containing tianeptine.” 

Florida’s Poison Control Center received 15 exposure calls in the first half of 2023 from users between the ages of 23 and 58, she said. Fifty-four total calls were reported over the last four years from users aged 18 to 66.

“Calls into the center are voluntary, so the number of cases likely exceeds those reported,” Moody said. “Nationally, approximately 607 calls were made to poison control centers from 2020 to 2022.”

Moody developed the Dose of Reality Florida website to help educate Floridians about the dangers of illicit substances and where to find help.

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