Heroin addiction is a major problem, contributing and playing a significant role in the drug problem today. It remains a legitimate issue, inflicting an expanding number of our youth in especially this country. It’s a growing epidemic with a string of relapses ahead of anyone who gets hooked on the stuff. Apparently scientists at the Scripps Research Institute found what may be a solution to one of the most infamous, yet glorified, drug addictions there is.
They’ve reported some success on preclinical tests for a new vaccine against heroin. The vaccine particularly targets the psychoactive breakdown of heroin in the bloodstream, keeping it from reaching the brain. The heroin-addicted rats used for this study ceased to repetitively use heroin in a compulsive manner once the vaccine was used on them. They’re saying that if this works as well on human trials as it did during the preclinical study, it will most likely become the staple therapy for treatment in an addiction to heroin.
Heroin addiction supposedly inflicts over ten million people all over the world. Taking that into consideration, this study could really be the beginnings of a breakthrough in tempering the endless efforts to treat an addiction with a fast growing, rising popularity.
Heroin isn’t the only drug that’s being tested under a vaccine type of study. Apparently since 1990 there have been several drug vaccines developed by the scientists of TSRI as well as other organizations. The designs have been evolved by vaccine designers for vaccines against cocaine and nicotine that are currently undergoing clinical testing. And supposedly a methamphetamine vaccine is following right behind them. Heroin in particular has been more of a hurdle in terms of developing a vaccine against it, due to the speed in which it breaks down in the bloodstream, which seems to be almost instantaneous following injection. Apparently this new heroin vaccine, however, tracks the drug as it’s metabolizing and preventing it from reaching the brain, which makes this particular vaccine more effective than the ones previously tried for heroin.
Heroin addiction poses a serious threat in society today, and a solution in the form of a vaccine that could prevent blocking the effects of methadone (a commonly used medication in the treatment of opioid addiction) seems to be an effective one. In fact, the garden-variety opioid painkillers such as codeine or oxycodone would also remain effective on the individual taking this heroin vaccine. It has been noted that heroin addicts in treatment with this vaccine would obviously be undergoing other forms of therapy as well. According to one of the scientists involved in this study, rats in some of the other trials of drug vaccines would commonly compensate for the lack of drug effects by doubling or tripling their intake, yet with this specific heroin vaccine they didn’t need to. In other words, this heroin vaccine seems to be a little bit more effective, more fine-tuned even, than that of the other drug vaccines.