SHELBY COUNTY, Ala. --
Before it was banned in Alabama, the herbal drug causing a stir was Kratom. Now that it is banned, experts say the drug taking its place is Tianna.
It can be found at gas stations and is said to be a mood enhancer and provides a euphoric feeling. Captain Clay Hammac, the Commander of the Shelby County Drug Enforcement Task Force said one of the ingredients in Tianna, Tianeptine, raises alarms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it is an anti-depressant unapproved in the United States. The CDC also says it has opioid-like effects such as euphoria, drowsiness and more, but misuse can lead to to dependence and withdrawal. In addition, it is used in the UK and other European countries to treat depression on severe levels as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorders
"What parents need to be on the lookout for is not just specifically in this product," Capt. Hammac said. "This product has habit-forming properties, addictive properties. That is the behavior parents need to be on the lookout for whether it is this product or a product that has taken its place. We want to be cautious and protective not to see a transition of those habit forming behaviors, leading our students into experimentation or recreational use of other illicit drugs."
Hammac said that recently, they are starting to notice younger people using the drug.
"There may be some benefits on the herbal and homeopathic side of a supplement like this," Hammac said. "However, when you see synthetic research drugs laced with a product like this, please be cautious, be aware. If you are looking to explore other medical alternatives, the gas station is not the place you need to be looking at. Go speak to a local pharmacist, consult with your family physician or family pediatrician."
Executive Director of Compact 2020, Alan Miller said that parents need to have their conversations about drugs like this with their kids as soon as possible.
"You have got to have the conversation," Miller said. "Failing to have the conversation and allowing the child to wander into this territory, it can have life-changing consequences. It really could. It is important, especially for parents to focus on conversations with their children about what is healthy for them and what is unhealthy for them. It does not necessarily be a conversation about what is right or wrong. The parent needs to communicate with the child 'I am concerned about your health. I have learned about this and some of the things being sold at these stores. These are things you want to stay away from. They are bad for you.'"