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I-Team investigation: Dangers of Tianna

The WAAY 31 I-Team uncovers a potential addiction that might be right around the corner from your family

Posted: Mar. 12, 2019 6:37 PM
Updated: Mar. 12, 2019 6:37 PM

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tonight the waay 31 i-team uncovers a potential addiction that might be right around the corner from your family. even your kids could become addicted. across huntsville and in other parts of alabama . our i-team found bottle after bottle of a product called tianaa. convenience stores are where buyers get their hands on it. waay 31's greg privett explains one huntsville woman's struggle to reveal the dangers of tianaa ... and rescue a family member. "where is all this money going?" a woman worried sick. "how are these charges showing up at a gas station?" "and it was sometimes two or three times a day." determined to track down the truth. "i just followed him in the gas station and that's what he was buying." she turned detective. "he didn't want me to see he didn't want me to know what he was buying." what she found horrified her. "it's addictive and it can kill." << > "he was craving the drug. after a lot of intervention with other family members, he decided he needed help." sheila gray uncovered her family member was hooked on tianaa. "and the family member was buying that because he works long hours to give him some energy." gray says . it may be labeled a dietary supplement . but tianaa put a loved one's life at risk. and it cost at least a thousand dollars a month. "when i found out, of course, i cleared all the money out of the bank account, took away the car, took away the keys to the car, took away the credit card, took away the phone and just let him withdraw." <clay hammac > "we have seen a presence of tianaa mostly around convenience stores." captain clay hammac is commander of the shelby county drug enforcement task force. tianaa is a problem in shelby county. hammac wants people across alabama to know . tianaa is dangerous. "the more alarming ingredient in tianaa is a synthetic drug called tianeptine. tianeptine is not approved for use as a prescription here in the united states by the fda." he warns tianaa affects your body much like opiods. anyone who uses it can quickly become addicted. "tragically, the chemical- dependency on tianeptine resulting in withdrawals are quite severe. in fact, some of the withdrawal symptoms are very similar to that of opioid withdrawals." standup "this is just one of the convenience stores in huntsville we found selling tianaa. so, does the store across the street. and everywhere else we checked. the people buying tianaa aren't just adults. down in shelby county, high school and college students are buying tianaa and using it as a recreational drug. right now in alabama, that's perfectly legal." "what we would consider casual drugs that students are experimenting with that many times you do find at your local gas station." hammac told waay 31 school resource officers often find empty tianna bottles in school bathrooms and parking lots. some parents find their own evidence. "mom and dad are reviewing the credit card statement and they see an exorbitent amount of charges at a local gas station." "their daughter has been purchasing kratom as well as, after the ban of kratom, tianaa." tianaa showed up in alabama after state lawmakers made the herbal supplement kratom a controlled substance two years ago. "these items were being sold right next to the cash register at many local gas stations." senator arthur orr sponsored the kratom ban. when kratom- laced liquid dried up in convenience stores, "we now have products like this: tianaa." tianaa filled the void. orr told us . manufacturers constantly skirt the law and reformulate products to slip through legal loopholes. so he's working to make sure law enforcement can target active ingredients. <nats of cash register > tianaa is a huge seller. in decatur . one convenience store told us they sell up to eighty bottles of tianaa a day. that's about 40 dollars a pop . for a bottle of 15 capsules. waay 31 called tianaa's florida- based distributor . m-t lotz. they told us quote . "we're not interested in making any comments." tianaa's distributor may not want to talk. but, drug officers insist parents must talk with their children about the dangers of tianaa. <on cam > "what we want to encourage parents all over the state of alabama is listen, moms dads, you need to be vigilant." clay hammac says beating the addiction to tianaa is tough. "the withdrawals can be violent: bone chills, muscle aches, gi complications." "and that was awful. he said it was like ants crawling up his legs. it was just like opioid withdrawals. just like it." for sheila gray . fighting tianaa has been maddening. "i didn't mention anything to the people who were selling it. but, i was angry at them." "i would like the cops to raid all the gas stations and take them off the shelves. but, i understand that takes some time." greg privett, waay 31 news.> waay 31 contacted the madison morgan county drug task force. they told us it is on their radar. but, their hands are tied until they
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