Coming Soon: Addiction Fighting Vaccine
Tampa- The United Sates has been so heavily affected by addiction crisis recently that President Trump has addressed this situation as an emergency.
The number of automobile related deaths has been exceeded by drug overdoses increasingly in the past years. It would be revolutionary if addicts could rid their cravings with a simply vaccine.
According to Tom Price, Health and Human Services Secretary, expert researchers are looking into vaccine possibilities at the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
It could be a few years before a product is readily available to distribute, but the outcome will be well worth it.
Dr. Vicky Buckles is a specialist who focuses on substance abuse at the University of South Florida.
“Basically we're utilizing our own immune system" she said.
This vaccine would differ from a typical shot because it would expose the body to the drug in order to prevent a high.
“When a substance enters the body our body doesn’t react until it reaches the brain," she said. "The idea is that now we would have anti-bodies that would react as soon as a substance was entered and wouldn’t need to go to the brain."
According to Buckles, the molecules of the drug will be smaller than any virus a typical shot would fight, which means the newly formulated vaccine would have to be designed to enlarge them.
"Then it’s no longer accessible to the brain.” she said.
Since every drug is different, a separate vaccine must be formulated to target each one.
For all addicts, recovery is tough. Cravings are hard to fight once you’re hooked on any drug.
Max Kotler, 23, is a recovering addict who has been fighting this disorder for almost a decade. At 14, he became hooked on pain killers which opened doors to a cocaine addiction later on down the road.
“When I was using, I would do whatever it took to get that next high," he said “It just progressed into using everyday. I had to wake up and use… it wasn’t even to the point of feeling good.”
In 2015, he was pushed to the edge when he realized his life was going downhill. His friends were overdosing and still influencing him to keep using. Finally, he made the decision to get help.
“The amount that I was using, it just seems crazy thinking about it now." he said.
For two years he has been clean with the help of treatment and local support groups.
Kotler is supportive of the development for vaccines that fight all types addiction. It could save so many lives of addicts, and improve the lives of their families who surround them.
“It’s amazing they’ve been able to create something like that, but the whole basis of recovery is acknowledging that I had a problem," he said. "Going through a recovery program, it changes the thinking, it’s not just about the drugs.”
Currently, there are several medication assisted treatment methods. Things like Vivitrol, Suboxone, and Methadone all target the receptors in the brain that are affected by the drugs. These vaccines would be designed for use through the immune system so that the drug would never even reach the brain.
It is estimated that it will be at least ten years before anything like this would hit the market. However, when it does, it will be life changing for people across the nation.
For more information, or to donate to this cause, visit www.scripps.edu
The goal for raising $60,000 has been more than halfway met so far.