1st wrongful death lawsuit filed linked to 'gas station heroin' tianeptine against Neptune's Fix

ByBarb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones and Chuck Goudie WLS logo
Thursday, June 6, 2024
First wrongful death lawsuit filed linked to tianeptine, or 'gas station heroin'
The family of 37-year-old Christopher Haggarty has filed a wrongful death lawsiut in Ohio against the gas station and the manufacturer of Neptune's Fix for his death from tianeptin

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sales of the unregulated opioid-like drug, tianeptine, by convenience stores and gas station has surged, along with the number of overdose victims.

The I-Team first reported on this deadly drug problem in February. The first lawsuit targeting what's called 'gas station heroin,' was filed Wednesday by the loved ones of 37-year-old Christopher Haggarty.

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Haggerty died in November 2023 after his family says he bought and ingested a bottle of Neptune's Fix at his neighborhood gas station.

The product marketed coast-to-coast as a dietary aid contains a substance called tianeptine. It mimics an opioid high in many users, hence the nickname "gas station heroin."

READ MORE | Ohio mother says tianeptine, or 'gas station heroin,' killed her son, lobbies for ban

It was at a Midwestern gas station that Haggarty bought a bottle of Neptune's Fix, even though the product contained tianeptine, which was banned a year earlier by the state of Ohio.

In an interview with the I-Team almost four months ago, Haggarty's mother characterized "gas station heroin" as death in a bottle.

"Fifteen dollars a bottle. How many people bought it besides my son? It was for sale at the gas station just right next to the lottery tickets and the cigarettes," she said.

RELATED: Tianeptine, known as 'gas station heroin,' is easy to find, potentially dangerous to use

She has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Ohio against the gas station and the manufacturer of Neptune's Fix.

"We want to make sure that what happened to the Haggarty family happens to no other family across the United States or the world. So, we want to make sure that number one, this product is off the shelves, period, end of story," attorney Jordan Lebovitz told the I-Team.

Lebovitz says testing shows Neptune's Fix contained not only lethal tianeptine, but also two kinds of synthetic cannabinoids, a brew that proved fatal for Chris Haggarty. His family wants Neptune's Fix and the gas station to pay dearly.

MORE COVERAGE: Proposed law would ban sale of tianeptine or 'gas station heroin'

"We're not at liberty to disclose the amount that we will be asking a jury for eventually, but it will be in the millions if not in the tens of millions of dollars," said Lebovitz.

The I-Team has not received a response from the maker of Neptune's Fix, which has facilities in Kansas City and Wyoming, or from that neighborhood gas station named in the Haggarty family lawsuit.

Not only is this the first wrongful death lawsuit targeting "gas station heroin," but as a result of I-Team reporting, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin last month introduced federal legislation that would effectively ban the substance for U.S. store shelves.