Buy Zaza Red is a popular brand of kratom-based capsules that are often marketed as dietary supplements or “nootropics,” drugs designed to enhance brain function. But in reality, Zaza Red contains a highly addictive drug called Tianeptine that is banned in many countries as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its opioid-like effects. The FDA warns that consuming the product can be dangerous and may lead to addiction, overdose, and withdrawal. In Alabama, local poison centers and emergency departments began reporting a wave of withdrawals and other serious health complications from using the drug. On March 15, 2021, the state of Alabama officially banned tianeptine products, also known as Zaza Red, and declared them illegal to sell or possess.
The drug is sold as a powder that people swallow and dissolve in liquids to drink, or in pill, tablet, and liquid shots that can be injected. The tianeptine in Zaza Red works by binding to the same opiate receptors as heroin and other opioids. It’s typically taken by individuals who are battling opioid addiction or those seeking to mitigate the effects of opioid withdrawal. Some users take multiple doses of the drug per day in an effort to achieve and maintain the desired effects, such as euphoria and relaxation.
Some users report taking as much as 3000mg of a combination of Zaza Red pills and other legal drugs like phenibut and kratom in order to achieve a high, while others consume the product to ease withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction. Combining the drug with alcohol or other substances that interact with the same opioid receptors can cause exaggerated sedation and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
In one case, a man was arrested for breaking into a smoke shop to steal the tianeptine-based product. In surveillance video, the man can be seen leaning over the counter and grabbing the Zaza Red from a clerk’s hand. The store owner called the police who apprehended the man. He was charged with armed robbery and drug possession.
The drug is very easy to become addicted to and can be incredibly difficult to stop using due to its strong opioid-like effects. Medical detox and residential treatment programs that provide a safe, healthy environment away from daily triggers and temptations can help individuals to successfully overcome Zaza Red withdrawal.