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Vaccinations for heroin and prescription drug addiction on their way

Opioid addiction

(NaturalNews) It seems like Big Pharma is about to have it both ways in the current opioid painkiller epidemic.

After years of supplying the very opioids that have addicted millions of Americans, Big Pharma is now about to market a vaccine, of all things, that is supposed to help combat prescription painkiller and heroin addition and stem the tide of overdose deaths.

As reported by Medill News Service at Northwestern University, a vaccine that has undergone tests in animals so far shows promise in ending such addition, claims Dr. William Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The vaccine, he says, would "produce an antibody response which would latch onto the drug of use... and because they're large molecules they will not be able to cross the blood-brain barrier."

Compton, in focusing on the prescription drug and heroin addiction epidemic at a panel on the "Neuroscience Clues to the Chemistry of Mood Disorders and Addictions" recently, said that the vaccine could be the best solution currently available. Speaking at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in the nation's capital, Compton estimated that there are an astounding 200 million prescriptions a year written just for opioids, in the United States alone. While they are mostly prescribed for pain, many go unused, he said, and are subsequently abused by family members and friends.

'Science can help'

The news service further noted:

"As prescription drugs are chemically similar to heroin, if a patient becomes addicted to prescription drugs, heroin is a logical next step on the journey to addiction. In 2014, more than 50,000 Americans died of drug overdoses, including 19,000 who died of prescription drug overdoses and 10,000 who died of heroin overdose. The remaining overdoses were due to other commonly abused drugs."

"Science can help in many ways," Compton said.

If drugs were unable to cross from the circulatory system into the brain through the blood-brain barrier, he claims, the "intoxication reinforcement" of the opioid would be stopped. When addicts can no longer get their "high" from a drug they are less likely to use it, he says.

In using an "empty wallet" analogy to describe how the potential vaccine would allow addicts to "spend" on drugs, he said they would not receive the payback of the "high" in return. And he noted that the vaccine would become one portion of a three-part strategy designed to combat the current drug addiction epidemic that is sweeping the country by helping addicts, reversing the incidence of drug overdose, and preventing new addictions.

Below-the-skin implant also considered

In addition to developing a new vaccine, Compton said that the National Institutes of Health were also working on developing a buprenorphine implant which would aim to help addicts combat their habit. The implant would fit under the skin, like a number of birth control products, and dispense a steady, small dose of opioid replacement drugs like buprenorphine for up to half a year.

"It would be very small, minimally invasive and would last six months," said Compton. "As a clinician, that sounds marvelous to me. Every day [my patients] have to decide 'today am I going to stay healthy or am I going to go back into my drug using pathway?'"

The scientist adds that the implant essentially decides for an addict for at least six months to help him or her beat the addiction.

These kind of scientific solutions – to reverse medication addiction and overdose – have been on the market since the 1970s. Some, like naloxone (Narcan), have been in use by emergency medical personnel and police to instantly reverse the intoxicating affects of opioids for many years.

Still, it is important to discover scientific solutions to prevent addictions in the first place, Compton notes.

As promising as this sounds, we have to recall that Big Pharma and the modern medical industry are responsible for the opioid epidemic in the first place. And what's more, with our extremely mixed history of success regarding vaccines, who's to say that this new one won't make the problem worse? But once again, we're being fed the line that traditional medicine is going to fix itself, and there is no proof of that ever happening.






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