Tobacco

North Carolina Bans ‘Gas Station Heroin’

Gov. Cooper signs bill making tianeptine a Schedule II controlled substance
tianeptine
Photograph courtesy of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration

As part of House Bill 250, Gov. Roy Cooper (D-North Carolina) on Monday signed into law legislation banning tianeptine—also known as “gas station heroin”—in the Tar Heel State, adding it to the Schedule II list of controlled substances.

“In determining that a substance comes within this schedule, the commission [finds] a high potential for abuse … and the abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence,” the law states.

The law becomes effective Dec. 1, and it applies to offenses committed on or after that date.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned consumers repeatedly about tianeptine, and in late 2023, it called out the Neptune’s Fix brand specifically and warned consumers not to purchase or use the substance.

“Tianeptine is not approved by the [FDA] for any medical use. Despite that, some companies are illegally marketing and selling products containing tianeptine to consumers. They are also making dangerous and unproven claims that tianeptine can improve brain function and treat anxiety, depression, pain, opioid use disorder, and other conditions,” the agency said.

In North Carolina, the tianeptine ban follows Cooper’s signing into law on July 3 a separate bill to create a new regulatory system for the certification of vaping products in the state.

Beginning May 1, 2025, only consumable products and vapor products listed on the registry published by the North Carolina Department of Revenue will be authorized for sale in North Carolina, with a 60-day grace period for compliance.

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