A closer look at over the counter pain relief

A drink found at the checkout counters of convenience stores called Viva-Zen, in little bottles similar to popular energy shot drinks, is advertised to relieve pain. The product was banned in Tennessee because of one of its ingredients, and Kentucky may be next.

In 2013, Tennessee banned the manufacture or sale of the chemical mitragynine, which was found in many over the counter “feel good” shots. After the law passed, three convenience stores were padlocked for selling mitragynine. Legislators say the products were easy for children to get their hands on as there were no age restrictions on the products.

In Kentucky, Viva-Zen is on store shelves. It contains the chemical, which is said to have harmful side effects, especially for young children. 

“They could get real sedated. They can have potential convulsions, possible constipation, or a bowel obstruction,” Pharmacist Marshall Davis says.

A local store manager says, although there is no age restriction on Viva-Zen, they try to keep children from buying it.

State Rep. Gerald Watkins is floored that Kentucky has not caught up to Tennessee’s ban on the popular product. He says he will support or propose legislation banning the use of this chemical.