Gas Station Heroin Banned In Ohio

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on February 4, 2023

Over the past few years, some Ohio gas stations have started selling a substance known as “gas station heroin.” This drug is actually a tricyclic antidepressant called tianeptine. However, it acts similarly to heroin and other opioids. It can even cause overdose and addiction. Due to these risks, Ohio recently banned it.

Heroin is a highly addictive illicit drug. In recent years, some people have started using a similar substance called tianeptine, also known as “gas station heroin.” It’s legally sold as a dietary supplement in many states.

However, like regular heroin, it poses serious health risks. That’s why Ohio recently banned it. 

Gas Station Heroin Banned In Ohio

On December 22nd, 2022, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine signed an executive order permitting the Ohio Board of Pharmacy to classify tianeptine as a Schedule I controlled substance. 

That means it’s now illegal to buy or sell products containing tianeptine. The penalties for violating this law may include fines, mandatory rehab, or 6 to 12 months in jail. 

Ohio is not the first state to outlaw tianeptine. The substance has also been banned in Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, and Tennessee. 

What Is Gas Station Heroin?

Tianeptine, or gas station heroin, is a tricyclic antidepressant. It’s approved to treat depression in some Asian, European, and Latin American countries. 

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for medical use in the United States. Still, in states where it has not yet been banned, tianeptine is sold online or at convenience stores and gas stations. 

That’s why it’s often called gas station heroin. Other names for the drug include Zaza, Tia, Tianna, and TD Red. It’s usually sold in tablet or powder form.

Tianeptine Vs. Opioids

Unlike most antidepressants, tianeptine activates your brain’s opioid receptors. That’s why it acts similarly to heroin and other opioids. In particular, like opioids, it can cause relaxation and euphoria (intense joy). As a result, some people have turned to it as an alternative to opioids. 

Unfortunately, tianeptine poses many of the same risks as opioids. In fact, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has declared the drug an “extreme public health concern.” 

Risks Of Gas Station Heroin

People who use tianeptine may experience:

Side Effects

The most common side effects of tianeptine include:

  • nausea
  • constipation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • stomach pain
  • abnormal dreams 

Tianeptine supplements sold in the U.S. may also have other side effects. That’s because they’re unregulated, which means they might contain additional ingredients that the buyer doesn’t know about.


If you use high doses of tianeptine, you may overdose. Common symptoms of tianeptine overdose include:

  • drowsiness
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sweating
  • fast heartbeat
  • high blood pressure
  • slowed or stopped breathing
  • loss of consciousness

When left untreated, a tianeptine overdose may be life-threatening. If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical help right away. 

You should also administer naloxone if possible. Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication that can quickly reverse an opioid overdose. Case reports suggest that it can also reverse tianeptine overdoses. You can get it at most pharmacies without a prescription. 


If you use tianeptine regularly, you may become addicted to it. Addiction is a serious disease that makes you feel unable to stop using a drug.

The most common symptom of tianeptine addiction is physical dependence. That means your body starts relying on the drug to function. If you stop using it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • irritability
  • low mood
  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • high blood pressure
  • sweating
  • shaking

Another common symptom of tianeptine addiction is tolerance. That means your body gets used to the drug over time. You will then crave increasingly larger or more frequent doses to feel the desired effects. This increases your risk of overdose.

Other symptoms of tianeptine addiction may include:

  • mood swings
  • loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • loss of motivation
  • avoidance of family and friends
  • trouble concentrating at work or school
  • decline in personal hygiene

Like other types of addiction, tianeptine addiction requires treatment.

Tianeptine Addiction Treatment Options

If you or a loved one shows signs of tianeptine addiction, seek help at a substance abuse treatment program

Some of these programs are inpatient, meaning you live at the treatment center. Other programs are outpatient, meaning you live at home and regularly visit the treatment center.

Both inpatient and outpatient programs provide treatment services such as:

  • medical detox, in which doctors help you slowly stop using tianeptine so you experience minimal withdrawal symptoms
  • mental health counseling, in which a therapist helps you manage tianeptine cravings and any underlying mental health concerns that may have contributed to your drug abuse
  • support groups, in which you can discuss your experiences with other people recovering from tianeptine addiction

To learn more about tianeptine addiction treatment, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our inpatient treatment programs offer comprehensive, evidence-based care to help you or your loved one stay healthy.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Characteristics of Tianeptine Exposures Reported to the National
  2. CNS Drugs — Tianeptine: a review of its use in depressive disorders
  3. Food and Drug Administration — Tianeptine Products Linked to Serious Harm, Overdoses, Death
  4. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Opiate and opioid withdrawal
  5. Ohio Department of Public Safety — State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy Releases Retailer Guidance on Illegal Drug Tianeptine (aka "Gas Station Heroin")

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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