Jun 30, 2023

Columbus, Lowndes County discuss plans to ban Zaza

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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – In Columbus and Lowndes County, there has been a growing concern about the over-the-counter drug Tianeptine, also known as Zaza.

People gathered at Columbus City Hall to discuss the possibility of banning the substance.

Tianeptine is not only causing overdoses in the area but has some parents on high alert.

Since there are no restrictions on it, anyone, including children, can get their hands on it.

"They can be doing great one day, and within a week, they are addicted to it or dead," said Morrison.

Tracy Morrison blames Tianeptine, also known as ZAZA, for her son, Christopher Harper Montgomery's death on February 5.

Zaza is marketed as a dietary supplement, with its main ingredient claiming to be vegetable capsules.

One family said that is far from the truth.

"He wound up buying a bottle of the Zaza reds, which goes under different names – Tianna, Pegasus, and the actual drug name is Tianeptine; he did this on a Friday, and within four hours, he was gone," Morrison said.

Sheriff Eddie Hawkins also shares his insight into the increased usage of the drug and its effects in the community.

"Here locally, we’ve seen a lot of overdoses, overdoses from using the drug. We’ve seen burglaries at the convenience store where people are breaking in just to get the drug. So it's causing all through our community," Hawkins said.

Surrounding states like Tennessee and Alabama have banned Zaza, and Sherriff Hawkins believes it's crucial for Lowndes County and Columbus to step up and do the same, and possibly serve as an example in North Mississippi.

"Our ordinance looks like the city ordinance does, so we are enforcing the same ordinance throughout. If you have so many different ordinances, it can confuse the retailers, and we want to make sure that it is crystal clear that we do not want this product in our community," Hawkins said.

The Columbus City Council meets Tuesday, February 21.

Council members plan to address the ordinance prohibiting the sale of Zaza.

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