Seriously, that’s the name people have given it. Mainly because that’s where it’s available for purchase — at mini-marts and convenience stores. Promoted as a “dietary supplement” that can be used as a sleep aid and mild sedative.  Turns out to be anything but that.

Its proper name: tianeptine. As for its characterization as a dietary supplement:

The FDA officially disagrees.

From a recent news report: “The New Jersey Poison Center …has recently identified a cluster of poisoning cases involving tianeptine, a substance with opioid-like effects that is being falsely marketed and sold across the state in gas stations and online…”

If the stuff is toxic, why is it widely available for sale? Your guess is as good as mine.

Products that contain tianeptine are now also being touted as an effective remedy for the discomfort of opioid withdrawal. Opioid users seeking to relieve drug hunger are encouraged to switch to tianeptine as a ‘safer’ substitute.

That promise appears to have been fools gold. Per the FDA, “Consumers may inadvertently find themselves addicted to tianeptine and should avoid all products containing tianeptine, especially those claiming to treat opioid use disorder.” The FDA seldom gets much clearer than that.

Apparently, the withdrawal symptoms from Gas Station Heroin can be quite severe. Even dangerous.

As a result, I suspect that using tianeptine in early recovery may simply trigger the relapse that it’s supposed to help prevent.

We do seem to be trapped in an endless cycle, where commercial enterprise continually develops new products that result in further harm to our  health and welfare, as we struggle to keep up. It’s all done in the name of free enterprise.

Well, not exactly ’free’, in the sense that somebody, somewhere, is getting rich doing it.