Known as gas station heroin or gas station dope, ZaZa, or Tianna Red (Tianaa), ZaZa Red is legal and available in most states and is commonly marketed as a dietary supplement. The primary ingredient in ZaZa Red is tianeptine, which is addictive and can have dangerous consequences. This drug has been a drug of abuse since 2000 and has led to many overdoses and some deaths. People who are addicted to ZaZa Red do have hope for recovering from their addictions. It’s important to understand the dangers of this drug and what to do if you or a loved one is currently combatting an addiction to it.
Table of Contents
- What Is ZaZa Red?
- Tianeptine’s Effects on the Body and Cardiovascular System
- Side Effects of ZaZa Red
- Bans of ZaZa Red
- Addictive Potential of Tianeptine
- Overdoses on Tianeptine
- Withdrawing From Tianeptine
- How Should People Stop Using Tianeptine?
- Treatment of Tianeptine Addiction
- Get Help from Live Free
What Is ZaZa Red?
Tianeptine, the primary ingredient in ZaZa Red, is a tricyclic antidepressant medication that has been approved in several countries in Europe and Latin America for use in treating depression. Still, it has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of its potentially dangerous side effects and addictive potential. This drug targets the mu-opioid receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors opioid drugs such as oxycontin and heroin target. Its effects on the brain are why it is addictive.
ZaZa Red is also called gas station heroin, ZaZa, or Tianna Red by users. It is commonly sold in convenience stores in states across the country. When users take it, the drug targets the mu-opioid receptors and enhances the reabsorption of serotonin, which can positively affect mood. However, it also allows excess dopamine to build up in the brain’s tissues and affects the brain’s reward system, leading to its addictive potential.
Tianeptine’s Effects on the Body and Cardiovascular System
As a mu-opioid receptor agonist, tianeptine is used in countries in which it is approved and closely controlled for depression and chronic pain. It affects the body’s central nervous and opioid systems and the various bodily functions they control. This includes effects on mood, pain, and stress and the body’s respiratory, immune, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems.
People who use tianeptine can become tolerant to it and use successively higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can lead to dependence and addiction, along with serious consequences on the body and brain. An individual who abuses tianeptine can experience an elevated heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to severe cardiovascular events, including stroke or heart attack. If someone overdoses on tianeptine, they can also suffer damage to the cardiovascular system and potentially life-threatening issues.
Side Effects of ZaZa Red
Users who stop using ZaZa Red can experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms and side effects similar to the side effects people might experience when withdrawing from opioid drugs. Some of the side effects people might experience during withdrawal include the following:
- Body temperature regulation issues (hot flashes or chills)
- Muscle aches
- Respiratory symptoms
- Rebound of anxiety and depression
- Involuntary jerky movements
- Increased pulse rate
- General feeling of malaise
- Watery eyes
- Pupil dilation
- Abdominal cramping
Some people experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms might also experience delirium. Withdrawal from tianeptine should be closely monitored in a detoxification center to alleviate the severity of the person’s withdrawal symptoms.
People who use tianeptine repeatedly can build up a tolerance and require higher doses to achieve the same effects as previously. This can result in drug dependence and addiction. When people become dependent on this drug, they can experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using it.
Bans of ZaZa Red
While tianeptine is legal in most states, its addictive and potentially deadly side effects have led to recent bans in the following states:
However, it is readily available in other states and online, and many people purchase it in convenience stores.
Addictive Potential of Tianeptine
Some people misuse tianeptine because of its effects. The drug causes similar effects as those caused by opioids and has a high addictive potential. If a person becomes addicted to this drug, they will no longer be able to control how much they take or how frequently they use ZaZa Red and will continue taking it even though it negatively impacts their health and life. People who have been addicted to opioid drugs have a higher risk of also becoming addicted to this drug if they use it.
How long it might take for a person to develop an addiction to tianeptine will vary since it depends on the individual’s history of controlled substance use, the dosage, and the frequency of how often they ingest it. It can also depend on individual physiology.
Overdoses on Tianeptine
People can overdose on tianeptine if they take too much. A tianeptine overdose can be similar to an opioid overdose and should be treated as an emergency. If you believe you are experiencing a tianeptine overdose, you should call 911 immediately.
When someone is overdosing on tianeptine, they might experience the following symptoms:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Trouble breathing
Withdrawing From Tianeptine
Studies on people withdrawing from tianeptine have found that it takes around a week for people to complete the withdrawal process. Since withdrawing from opioids can cause early-onset and late-onset symptoms, tianeptine can involve similarly early and late withdrawal symptoms.
Tianeptine has a half-life of around two-and-one-hlaf hours, so early symptoms can appear quickly and include muscle aches, agitation, eye-watering, sweating, insomnia, runny nose, and yawning. These early symptoms can last up to three days, depending on the length of time the person has used opioids or tianeptine.
Once the early symptoms subside, people can experience late symptoms lasting for another one to three days. These late-onset symptoms include abdominal cramping, goosebumps, dilated pupils, cravings, depression, nausea, and vomiting.
People who have abused large doses or have abused tianeptine for an extended period might experience withdrawal symptoms for a longer time, and some people might develop post-acute withdrawal symptoms lasting for weeks. These post-acute symptoms are psychological and include cravings and mood swings. These occur because of the alteration of the brain’s biochemistry caused by long-term use that makes it more difficult for the brain to produce neurotransmitters without the drug’s presence.
How Should People Stop Using Tianeptine?
If you have been using tianeptine for an extended period and believe you have developed a dependence or addiction, you should seek medical help before you try stopping or reducing your use. Tianeptine detoxification should be completed in a medically supervised center for monitoring and management of the withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals might help an individual reduce their use over time to manage the symptoms or supervise the person’s detoxification from the drug in a supportive environment.
Treatment of Tianeptine Addiction
The first step to treating a tianeptine addiction is to go through detoxification. This must be completed under medical supervision to safely manage the individual’s withdrawal symptoms to prevent serious side effects.
Once the individual has completed the detoxification process, the recommended addiction treatment will depend on the individual’s needs and might include outpatient, inpatient, or residential treatment. During treatment, the individual will learn to identify unhealthy behavioral patterns and how to change and restructure them. They will also receive help in managing withdrawal symptoms and the side effects of tianeptine dependence. While treatment can vary, most people benefit from a combination of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy and medication.
People need to choose treatment programs that meet their individual needs. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among the most commonly used types of psychotherapy used to treat substance use disorders, including tianeptine abuse. CBT is a talk therapy that helps an individual to identify negative behaviors, feelings, and thoughts and learn to restructure them to gain new, healthy coping skills.
If someone has a strong support system and is not a risk to their safety or that of others, they might benefit most from outpatient treatment. By contrast, someone with a severe tianeptine addiction who poses a risk to their safety or that of others might benefit the most from treatment in an inpatient or residential setting to receive the structure, supervision, and support they need.
Get Help from Live Free
If you are struggling with a tianeptine addiction or are worried about your loved one’s use of ZaZa Red, it’s important to reach out to the recovery professionals at Live Free Recovery Services, a healthcare facility specializing in addiction treatment. We offer comprehensive detoxification and treatment services to people who are working to overcome their drug addictions safely, including a detoxification center, outpatient therapy, and residential treatment homes. To learn more about our treatment services and the help we can provide, contact us today.
Published on: 2023-12-20
Updated on: 2024-01-18