PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — A highly addictive gas station drug has brought a community of people together, advocating for its ban. While tianeptine is legal on a state level, local leaders have decided to play by their own rules.
On Monday, the mayor of Pell City, Bill Pruitt announced the city had passed an ordinance banning the drug within city limits. It took the city less than a week to raise the concern, put it on the city’s agenda, and pass the ordinance.
The new law goes into effect on Monday. Businesses found in violation of the ordinance will be fined $500 and risk losing their business licenses.
Those that have advocated for a ban on tianeptine on a statewide level are now trying to get it banned in their communities after hearing what Pell City accomplished.
Tianeptine is a highly addictive gas station drug. It is advertised as an herbal supplement. It is not FDA approved, and users say it gives a meth-like high with the withdrawals to match.
“There are not proper warnings as to what kind of addiction, what kind of dependency these pills can cause,” said Sherry Frazier.
Frazier has a loved one battling a tianeptine addiction. She has been fighting for drugs like Tianaa and Zaza to be banned across the state and in Decatur, where she lives.
“But every day Tianeptine is on the shelves in our local gas stations and convenience stores, it another day of temptation. Another day of difficulty,” said Frazier.
Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt has become a resource, not just for his community, but for people across the state pushing for the same change.
“Lincoln is working on one now, they’ve reached out. Springville. Riverside. Ragland. You know, it’s starting to get some traction because a lot of people are realizing, ‘hey, I can go to my mayor, go to my council and ask that they look into this and do this,'” said Pruitt.
Frazier has reached out to her city councilors in Decatur about banning tianeptine and said she was pleasantly surprised at their response.
“They were very supportive and said they’d do their research and get back with me about it as soon as they could,” she said.
City officials want you to know, community change can start when you reach out.
“You know, if there’s anybody that has any questions or any other municipalities that want to know about what we did, I just encourage anybody to reach out to me,” said Pruitt.
Pruitt asked CBS 42 to share his work email for any residents or city officials that have questions on how Pell City passed this ordinance. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is currently a bill in the state legislature that would make tianeptine a schedule II drug. The bill, if passed into law, would make possession, distribution, or trafficking of the drug illegal. Next week, HB2 will be read for a final time, then voted on in the house judiciary committee, before going to the house floor for a vote.
These efforts come after the Alabama Department of Health had to withdraw their ban of the drug last year, following litigation from the drug manufacturer.