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Legislature passes ban on tianeptine in Alabama

Tianeptine is a substance that mimics the effects of opioids when taken in high enough doses.


The Alabama House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to concur with Senate changes to legislation banning tianeptine.

Tianeptine is a substance that mimics the effects of opioids when taken in high enough doses, often sold as a dietary supplemental under brand names like ZaZa or Tianaa in gas stations and other stores. House Bill 2 was sponsored by state Rep. Mike Holmes, R-Wetumpka. HB2 had already passed both houses of the Legislature, but it was amended by the Senate.

Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, R-Monrovia, asked Holmes to explain the Senate amendments.

Holmes said that the original House version of HB2 made tianeptine a schedule II controlled substance in the state of Alabama. The Senate amended the bill to make it a schedule I controlled substance. They also amended it to add another opioid-like substance to the Alabama list of controlled substances.

The Senate amendment “made it a better bill,” Holmes said.

Doctors do occasionally prescribe tianeptine as an atypical antidepressant. That also has been banned by the Senate amendment to this bill. Deaths have been attributed to the abuse of tianeptine.

Rep. Tracy Estes, R-Winfield, said: “I want to make sure the amendment hurting hemp farmers in my district has been removed. Has the amendment on Delta-8, Delta-9, and Delta-10 been removed?”

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Holmes assured the body that the Senate had removed the controversial committee amendment which would have made hemp-derived Delta-8 and Delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinols controlled substances in the state of Alabama. The failed amendment to HB2 had been very controversial.

The House unanimously voted to concur with the Senate changes to HB2. The Senate had voted 30 to 0 in favor of the legislation. It passed out of the House, in its original form, unanimously as well.

HB2 now goes to the governor for her consideration.

Thursday will be day 27 of the 2021 Legislative Session. The Constitution of 1901 limits the Legislature to a maximum of 30 days in a regular session.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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