There are vaccines for chicken pox, meningitis, and even hepatitis. The pharmaceutical world continues to come out with new vaccines for diseases and conditions that impact the modern world, including the Ebola virus and HPV.
Is it unrealistic to hope that there could be a potential for a vaccine to be developed to counter heroin addiction?
The abuse of opioids continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. Considering the skyrocketing number of overdose deaths related to opioid misuse or abuse across the nation in recent years, it is understandable to hope that a vaccine for opioid addiction will soon be on the horizon.
Based on recent animal studies, an addiction vaccine might not necessarily be too farfetched a concept.
New Research Shows Potential Vaccine to Be an Effective Tool Against the Opioid Epidemic
Opioids are highly addictive. After just a few uses, some people find it difficult to go without their drug of choice, which quickly leads to addiction that is best dealt with in an addiction treatment facility.
But what if this dangerous spiral into drug misuse could be stopped before it becomes a full-blown addiction?
Researchers from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Maryland co-developed an experimental vaccine with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The scientists claim that the heroin vaccine induced antibodies in rodents that blocked the drug from crossing the blood-brain barrier and therefore prevented euphoric effects that can quickly lead to addiction.
In addition to producing antibodies against heroin, the experimental vaccine was also shown to induce antibodies against other opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and codeine.
While these are preliminary rodent studies, they show some promise and indicate that a vaccine may be effective in inducing antibodies against opioids in humans some day in the future with continued development and research. In turn, this may one day be useful in fighting the battle against opioid addiction and preventing potential overdose deaths.
However, until a vaccine is formally developed, clinically tested, and available to be administered to people at risk, opioid overdoses and deaths attributed to such overdoses continue to be a harrowing reality for those who currently suffer from addiction.
Fighting Opioid Addiction in Rehab
Access to sound addiction treatment facilities and programs such as opioid management therapy (OMT) is needed to help those trying to overcome their substance use disorder. Fortunately, Colorado addiction treatment resources are available. Here at The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake, you can find help and long-term healing in one of our holistic treatment programs.
If you are currently battling a substance use disorder, please consider reaching out for the help we can provide. Contact us to learn about your treatment options today.