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Vaccine Could Cut Heroin Addiction 382

JumperCable writes "Scientists at Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry are working on a vaccine that makes the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure. The researchers say they have successfully tested the vaccine on mice and are preparing to test it on humans. Mice given the vaccine showed a huge drop in heroin consumption. 'It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs.'"
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Vaccine Could Cut Heroin Addiction

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:38AM (#39147085)

    We must close the heroin vaccine gap with Mexico before the Lohans attack again!

  • by pedantic bore ( 740196 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:44AM (#39147189)

    What if, in addition to the pleasure due to heroin, it also diminishes other sorts of pleasure?

    This sounds like it could be a small slice of hell.

    • by Gotung ( 571984 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:50AM (#39147281)
      Heroin use does exactly that, diminishes other sorts of pleasure.
      • by Inda ( 580031 )
        A few Fluoxetines on top and you no longer care about diminished sorts of pleasure.

        Smack, as it's called here, is a nasty drug. Everyone I've known to take it has had big fall. Luckily no one has fucked themselves up perminately. Most started taking it after smoking rocks. Neither have had any appeal to me, and I've never bothered with them.

        Theiving fuckers, the lot of them. Once you know someone taking the brown, never let them in your house. They'll eye up everything. They hardly care when you beat them f
  • other opiates? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by liamevo ( 1358257 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:44AM (#39147191)

    Does this also stop the effects of other opiates?

    • FTA:
      "It could be reasonably effective, but maybe too general and affect too many different types of opioids as well as heroin," Janda said.

      So, basically, they don't know yet. Which, if any, other opioids/opiates it affects is a big key because you don't want A)heroin users just moving to oxycontin or b)a former heroin user 20 years in the future unable to get effective treatment for their pain because it blocks all opioids/opiates (particularly if it is "end of life" style pain where they are just bein
    • Re:other opiates? (Score:5, Informative)

      by demonlapin ( 527802 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @12:13PM (#39148349) Homepage Journal
      Since the active compound in Heroin, codeine, and morphine is morphine (the first two are converted into it in the brain), those are right out. Semisynthetics may or may not be affected.
  • Vaccine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by edraven ( 45764 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:44AM (#39147193)

    You keep using that word...

    • FTA:

      The vaccine, which has been patented in the US, makes the body resistant to the effects of heroin, so users would no longer get a rush of pleasure when they smoked or injected it.

      So yes it seems to be a vaccine, to be administered once (or at long intervals maybe). Not a medication that has to be taken all the time and that loses effectiveness in hours or days.

      • by geogob ( 569250 )

        OP is correct. Although it may seem like act like a vaccine, it is not.

        The term "vaccine" refers to something very specific, and that is a product based on viruses or bacterias (or part of) that are injected in other to boost (or train) the immune system to these particular micro organism. By definition, you cannot make a vaccine against a chemical agent like Opioids.

        But I do understand why the term vaccine was used here... I honestly have no clue what the correct terminology would be. I thought about "seru

  • by iteyoidar ( 972700 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:45AM (#39147211)
    What happens when someone who got vaccinated with this needs anesthetics or painkillers for surgery? They don't say if it only works on heroin and not a ton of other opioids as well.
    • TFA mentions that it is currently not known whether it works on heroin only, and not on other opiates. So this is indeed an issue that needs further research.

    • by geogob ( 569250 )

      The article contains very little details on the actual effect of the treatment. It may only desensitize the body to the psychotropic effects, but leave analgesic effects unaffected. But that also is just speculative.

      Even if it did reduce the overall effect of opioid drugs, there are alternative analgesics and anesthetics.

  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @10:47AM (#39147243) Journal
    While heroin has never struck me as a terribly wise drug of choice, the notion of deliberately provoking an immune response to an opiate seems crazy risky...

    We have a fairly extensive endogenous opioid system, with a variety of opioids and opioid receptors, in place and the results of immune system intereference with that would be... likely very unpleasant. If I were of the Mengele school of experimental medicine, I'd be fascinated to learn exactly what flavor of 'very unpleasant'; but I'm guessing that the ethics of that would be pretty shaky.
    • by tgibbs ( 83782 )

      Endogenous opiates are peptides, not alkaloids, so it is extremely unlikely that antibodies directed against alkaloid opiates would bind to endogenous opiates. Also, antibodies do not readily enter the brain.

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @11:04AM (#39147479) Homepage

    First, is this really a "vaccine" i.e. a one-off long term treatment? I very much doubt it, there's little money in that. More likely it's just another form of dope that needs regular, lucrative doses that nobody who's already addicted would ever choose to take. Seriously, who's going to volunteer to go no-choice cold-turkey?

    But on the slim chance that it is what it claims to be, the real question is: why focus on already addicted junkies? By the time they seek treatment they've generally already ruined their lives.

    So, start earlier. Much earlier. Would you have your kids (safely) vaccinated so that they can't get hooked on common drugs?

    Of course, the most harmful drugs are alcohol and nicotine, so how about we focus on finding a "vaccine" for them?

    Heck, caffeine is a vile, toxic, horrible addicting substance - let's dump the antidote in the town's water supply, right?

  • I don't need a vaccine, I can quit any time I want. It just stops me shaking, that's all.

  • Heroin addiction is not spread by a pathogen, heroin is neither a virus nor a bacteria, and whatever it is they are giving those mice, it's not a vaccine.

  • ...I could cure my damn jet addiction. I'm just not smart enough to convince Myron that it's possible!
  • Take a look at smokers. You can give them nicotene patches nicotene gum, etc etc. But there's still the oral fixation. They want to put a cigarette in their mouth.

    And let's not kid ourselves here. Some of these people are going to be dumb enough to keep using in the hopes that they'll once again get their high back.

    • Quitting smoking is quite easy. I do it. Daily when I go to bed.

      Snide comments aside, what you have to do first is to WANT to quit. I don't wanna quit smoking, so I could use all the nic patches and e-cigarettes and whatnot I'd wanna and it wouldn't have the slightest chance to accomplish anything. Because there is not really any drive to just do it.

      Maybe soon, maybe later, maybe never there will be me wanting to quit and THEN those patches, gums and whatnot will probably work. 'til then, I could slap a pat

  • Here's a question: Does this cure and/or prevent just the addiction? Or does it kill off the high you get? If it's the former, I'd say that heroine use would skyrocket because there would be no repercussions. If it's the latter and the effects are permanent, should this be required by law just like MMR vaccines?

  • Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • I'm always reading about some old, rural residential campus (asylum, VA hospital, etc) that's being closed down because they don't need it.

    Why not make that a "residential heroin treatment center" -- give addicts a choice of inpatient, locked-door detox and treatment or to maintain their habit but live at the treatment center where they would get heroin but live under restrictive circumstances?

    Or even better, just give them heroin (perhaps doled out in quantities small enough to inhibit dealing) and let the

  • ... with disabling the brain's response to endorphins?
  • I would assume one would no longer be able to effectively use narcotin painkillers, the first that comes to mind is morphine. I've been in a couple bleeding out and praying for death so the pain would stop situations where morphine sure was nice to have. Also oxycodone is very useful to manage pain while recovering.

    The flip side I suppose is if you have an addiction you can't drop on your own and it consumjes your life, you're probably already in a world of hurt and not worried about pain management during

  • As with any drugs, the first step isn't "not using it anymore". The first step is WANTING to quit. Without that, there is no use trying. And I'm not talking about wanting it like wanting to never drink again after you wake up with a head the size of the grand canyon after a night on the town. Or when it's new year's eve and you need some kind of new year's pledge. I mean really making the decision after some consideration that it's time to get off the stuff and realizing that it will be not something you'll

  • "Mice given the vaccine showed a huge drop in heroin consumption." - It's about time someone did something to help those mice. I kept telling them "don't do it. You're only harming yourselves." But they wouldn't listen (being mice and all).
  • So you've got a bunch of people who are immune to the effects of heroin. And presumably every other opiod as well. What happens when one of them gets in a car accident? Needs surgery? Has cancer? Or any other occurence when a narcotic painkiller is administered, regardless of the persons history of drug use? I mean, a heroin addict who has cancer won't be denied painkillers, but where is the relief for them if their body can't accept the prescribed pain killer?

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @12:18PM (#39148409) Journal

    I've been a herion addict and was on methadone and the Buprenorphine trials we had here for a bit. I was an herion addict for about 10 years, let it control my life, homeless and all that crap. Got on methadone on and off for some years, did the Bupernorphine trials, got back on methadone again.

    Even though I wanted to quit using dope, i would always end up back because want wasn't enough. While I was on methadone last, I got to talk to a shrink, and after a bit, found out I was dyslexic and ADHD and other fun stuff that I should of found out before my mid 30's. It was getting help for my ADHD and dyslexia that made it so I was finally able to say Fuck you to herion, and even methadone. I volunteerly lowed my dose till it was down to nothing, and stopped going to the stupid ass methadone clinic. By that time, I hated it and the people that went there and mostly the policies they have there.

    Making it so people can't feel the high of doing Herion is going to make them do other drugs so they can feel something. Plane and simple. I knew a girl who'd OD because she had one of those thingies they put in your stomache so you can't get high. She kept trying and you want to know whats up with her now? She talks to herself. Mentally, she's gone. Kept trying to get high. She didn't die from it, but she's no longer the person she was.

    You want to get herion addicts to stop? You need to find the reason why they are a heroin addict and fix those. Me? I was confused, I didn't understand people and people didn't seem to understand me. Stress and frustration were my enemies, and they didn't matter if I was high. Unfortunetly, being a herion addict means you don't get high as much as you get well.

    Anyways, I think this is the wrong approach big time. But it doesn't surprise me, people don't understand addiction, and that is why a lot of people get addicted to stuff.


  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:39PM (#39149625)
    I am referring to the Clockwork Orange movie where the "cure" to violence addiction had the side effect of turning off the pleasure music. will taming one part of the mind disable other parts in some subtle fashion. Maybe its not coincidence that many artists are bipolar: extreme creatively may be a mental outlier.
  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Friday February 24, 2012 @01:58PM (#39149955)

    The consequences of what must be done to obtain illegal, unsafe heroin is the problem.

    Smack is illegal because it is considered Sinful, and Sin must be punished without respect to actual social damage. The War on Some Drugs is a moral obligation to Jesus (or your Middle Eastern Sky Fairie of choice).

    Booze escaped Prohibition after years of spectacularly destructive blowback, but the US is delighted to tolerate the War on Some Drugs, build police empires to continue it, fund the destabilisation of Mexico, and drive Mexicans to immigrate from the country our policies are wrecking. Since the only objective of life is Salvation, terrestrial suffering and consequences are not relevant.

    USians talk shit about Muslims enforcing Sharia, but Xtian superstition is barely tamed here and drives extremely expensive and destructive national policy.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?