State lawmakers to debate banning over the counter drugs like Tianaa

Lawmakers and many other want tianeptine off the drugstore shelves

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - It’s labeled a dietary supplement, and you can it find easily on convenience store shelves right now.

However, lawmakers and recovering addicts want it banned.

It’s called Tianaa, we’ve told you about it before and now lawmakers are close to making it illegal to sell.

You can find the drugs labeled as dietary supplements behind the counter at most gas station convivence stores. Some names include ZA ZA Red, Tianaa Red and Tianaa White.

All of these pills have the drug Tianeptine.

That’s what lawmakers in Montgomery are working to take off store shelves.

“It causes the blood pressure to go sky high. Glassy eyes, not being able to see very good, you can tell they’re stumbling around like they’re drunk,” Kevin Free said.

When Kevin Free sees these signs, he’s sure it’s the tianeptine.

Free is a former addict himself, and now serves as the Drug and Alcohol Recovery Director for the Salvation Army in Huntsville.

“These men are coming into this program trying to get their lives together. And one of the things, you can’t move forward if you continue to spend your money on an over the counter drug that gets you high like heroin,” Free said.

Free says he’s met over 1,000 people in his program who have become addicted to the supplement.

Each bottle contains 15 pills. Free says some addicts take two bottles a day.

We went to several convenience stores in Huntsville and could easily find it for sale at the register.

That’s what lawmakers want to change.

“The FDA has said that it is more addictive than these prescription opioids. And the only problem is, it’s legal to sell in all states accept Michigan,” Mike Holmes said.

Representative Mike Holmes is the main sponsor for the bill, he says he hopes to see it debated on this week.

“I have literally gotten hundreds, hundreds of calls form victims families, addicts themselves, both current addicts that are suffering right now, as well as former ones who have finally made it through the recovery. And they want to testify themselves. They want to tell the world what a terrible drug it is,” he said.

This bill might not even be necessary.

Brandon Lackey, the Executive Administrator for the Alabama Association of Christian Recovery Ministries tells us the State Health Department could beat lawmakers to the punch, and are already working on getting it banned.

If and when that does happen, he wants anyone addicted to know, there is help out there.

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