We're learning about the serious problems some pills commonly sold at gas stations are creating in North Alabama. This comes as state senators are set to consider a bill that would make Tianaa or Tianeptine illegal in Alabama.
"It has a worse effect than Heroin and Methadone," said B.J. Summers, Certified Addiction Counselor.
Right now, the New Outlook Detox Center at Highlands Medical Center is seeing its fair share of patients abusing Tianeptine.
"People are led to believe it's safe when I know it's not," Rachel Gonce, Nurse Practitioner, said.
Both Summers and Rachel Gonce from Highlands Medical explained that patients will sometimes turn to Tianeptine as a way to stop taking Opioids.
"The detox coming off of it is way worse," said Summers.
The drug is hard to catch. Jackson County Judge Don Word said the drug frequently stays off the radar of drug tests and the effects are serious.
"It literally drives them to the point of suicide a lot of times. I know we've had a couple ladies get to that point, right to the edge of that point," said Word.
He is the judge for the Family Wellness Program, which works to reunite families after parents lose custody. He says Tianeptine is often a big problem for the parents he's trying to help, and it's frustrating to see it on the shelves of gas stations.
"You can go to many gas stations in Jackson County and buy it right now, and you shouldn't be able to," said Word.
Word says he's in support of a bill headed to the state Senate right now that would make possession of the drug illegal. Tianeptine is not FDA-approved.