In the midst of the endless conversation of the opioid epidemic, it’s nice to see some news about possible solutions.
I appreciate the approach of this drug because it sounds like it will inhibit some of the brain hijacking that happens with addiction. In very simple terms, addiction, as it progresses, causes changes to the structure and behavior of the brain, further encouraging addicted behaviors and cravings.
This is where we talk about addicts not having a ‘choice’. Our brains really do get taken hostage.
I hope you find this interesting, I included the link below for the full article.
A heroin ‘vaccine’ will soon be in testing for humans, and already has been successfully tested on rodents and non-human primates.
For years, naloxone (brand name Narcan) has been available as an injectable antidote to fentanyl, heroin, or opiate overdose. Hospitals, clinics, EMTs, and some police departments have used it to save lives when they encounter somebody who has overdosed or is about to. There are also substitute drugs, such as methadone, intended to slowly wean patients off opioids so as to avoid severe withdrawal symptoms, and other drugs such as Vivitrol that block opioid receptors from releasing dopamine, negating the effects of opiates.
The basis of the idea, hatched by chemist Kim Janda, Ph.D., and published this week at The Scripps Research Institute, is to treat the drug as something the body will reject as foreign, much like a virus, bacteria, and similar invaders.
It’s a fascinating and unique approach to abuse and overdose, and one that has great potential, since the vaccine can be stored at room temperature for 30 days and can be used to help anybody who wants to stop their addiction.
The effect on overdosing was not expected by his team. It has everything to do with breathing and how opioids affect that function. In short, when people die from opioid overdose, the drug so powerfully compromises the central nervous system that breathing stops. This vaccine mitigates that effect.
According to Janda, the vaccine was developed initially for third-world countries and is therefore likely to be inexpensive. It’s just a few years from actually being available on the market, after human testing is completed.
Original post and full article available at: http://bigthink.com/news/what-if-there-were-a-vaccine-for-heroin-addition-and-overdose-there-is