Deadly chemical compound intercepted by US CBP

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the port of Cincinnati seized a shipment containing the deadly, addictive, and illegal substance Tianeptine on January 26. Officers seized the 12 pounds for violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). 

Tianeptine is an unapproved drug in the U.S. Although other countries have approved tianeptine, corporations are making dangerous and unproven claims that tianeptine can improve brain function and treat anxiety, depression, pain, opioid use disorder, and other conditions.

Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has identified cases in which people experienced other serious harmful effects from abusing or misusing tianeptine by itself or with other drugs, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. These effects included agitation, drowsiness, confusion, sweating, rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, slowed or stopped breathing, coma, and death.

Although the FDA has warned consumers about tianeptine, vendors continue to market and sell this drug. The FDA is aware tianeptine has been sold online, typically in tablet or powder form.

“The FDA is especially concerned about the illegal importation of unsafe drugs like tianeptine which has been shown to pose a significant risk to patients and consumers,” said Assistant Commissioner for Import Operations Dan Solis. “FDA supports CBP’s efforts in protecting the nation’s border through our cooperative partnerships and enforcement actions. Last week’s interception of unapproved tianeptine prevented a dangerous medical product from entering the U.S. and is just one of several examples of positive public health outcomes from our strong partnership.”  

The shipment originated in Hong Kong and was headed to Houston, Texas. The domestic value of this drug is over $246,000 and is part of an ongoing investigation.

LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office commended her officers for their work on this shipment. “CBP is responsible for ensuring that all goods entering and exiting the United States do so in accordance with all applicable U.S. laws and regulations. Our officers and specialists in Cincinnati consistently showcase their quality training and commitment to the CBP mission. They are exceptional at what they do and are part of the best frontline defense in the world.”