Heroin addiction affects hundreds of thousands of people each year and each year more and more first time users are younger and younger. A rough estimate of new users each year is around 150,000. In recent years, the age of a first time heroin user has reached an all time low of 21, before that, the average age of first-time use was around 26. Before, heroin was often the last drug that individuals did when they were experimenting with drugs, however now heroin can be the first drug or one of the first drugs youths try when they begin using substances. Heroin in an opioid and it is derived from morphine which is harvested from the seed of the Asian poppy plant, it is considered a central nervous system depressant and is extremely addictive, both physically and psychologically.
There are a variety of typoes of treatment for heroin addiction, however once a person starts using the substance and becomes addicted it can be very difficult to stop use. That is why a recent discovery of a new vaccine for heroin might prove to be essential in the prevention of addiction to heroin. Currently the studies have only been done with rats, however the researchers write that the compound has the ability to drastically decrease the motivating factors for an individual using heroin, even individuals who have had a history of heroin addiction in the past.
In the animal trials, the vaccine had the ability to stop the rats from taking more and more heroin, just by using the vaccine alone. The hope among the scientists and substance abuse clinicians is that the vaccine in combination with other treatments such as methadone or detoxification and rehabilitation will drastically improve the ability to prevent and treat heroin addiction.
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Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.