The Buy Zaza Red brand of kratom is a popular headshop product with a bad reputation and questionable ingredients. It’s also incredibly dangerous.
The product is sold in capsules or a liquid shot and often added to kratom powder to enhance its effects. The main ingredient in Zaza Red is tianeptine, a synthetic drug that has been used in Europe and Asia as an antidepressant but is illegal in the US. Tianeptine binds to the same opioid receptors as heroin does, so it’s considered to be more like a drug than an herbal supplement.
It’s usually marketed as an energy booster but can cause dangerous side effects if taken in high doses. It’s extremely addictive, and people who have developed a dependence on it experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Tianeptine is banned in Alabama, and other states are following suit because of an influx of unexplained cases of severe withdrawal. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, and seizures.
Tianeptine, the substance that makes Zaza Red so addictive, binds to the same opioid receptors as heroin and other opioid drugs. This makes it very dangerous and potentially life-threatening if used in large doses or alongside other drugs like alcohol.
Jason knew he was taking a risk when he left his house to go to the smoke shop. But he couldn’t stand the withdrawal pains he was going through, so he had to score some tianeptine.
The shop had only one bottle of the drug, but Jason was willing to fight for it. He walked in and grabbed the bottle off the counter, threatening the clerk.
Because Zaza Red is not regulated by the FDA, it is impossible to know exactly what’s in it. It is often mixed with kratom powder and Methylsulfonylmethane, which are both known to be risky. The pills themselves may contain anything from 12 to 700 mg of tianeptine. They are usually packaged in small tinted bottles with easy-open lids that are not child-proof or idiot proof.
Kristin’s husband Jason is a former Marine who was wounded in Afghanistan and now lives with a disability. He’s used painkillers to cope with his injuries, but they made him drowsy and unable to concentrate.
A few months ago, he spotted six bottles of Zaza Red in the local smoke shop. They cost $80, and he planned to buy one for himself and one for her.
The drug is a non-FDA-approved atypical stimulant called Tianeptine, also known as ZaZa Red and “gas station heroin.” At high doses, the drug can stimulate opioid receptors, creating withdrawal symptoms similar to those from heroin.
The FDA has warned that people using Zaza Red can experience side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, high heart rate, and confusion. It can also cause addiction if abused or combined with other drugs like kratom and Phenibut. Tianeptine also has a short half-life, meaning that the effects quickly wear off. That means users need to take it regularly to feel the desired effect.
Tianeptine, also known as Zaza Red or TD Red, was banned in Alabama after it was found to be responsible for many cases of extreme withdrawal. Local poison centers and emergency departments have been receiving calls about the drug, which is commonly sold over-the-counter at convenience stores under various names as a dietary supplement or nootropic.
It is not regulated, so sellers do not have to disclose what it contains. But researchers and recreational users believe it is close to a powerful opioid because of its effects on the brain. It binds to the same receptors as opiates such as heroin or fentanyl.
It comes in capsule, pill, liquid, or bulk powder form that people will swallow and dissolve to make into a drink or to smoke or inject. It is often mixed with kratom, which has been a primary source of addiction for some users. It can be purchased online or in headshops across the state line from Alabama.