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Doctors Are Working On A Vaccine That Could Cure Addictions To Cigarettes, Cocaine & Other Drugs

Submitted by on October 10, 2011 – 10:18 amOne Comment
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Addiction is, without a doubt, one of the most crippling diseases affecting our nation right now. While many people still don’t consider addiction a real disease—and refuse to feel bad for people who are addicted to things like cigarettes, cocaine, prescription pills, and other drugs—addiction rips apart hundreds of thousands of families every year, causes people to lose everything that they own, and results in millions of deaths. So, clearly, addiction is something everyone should not only consider a real disease but also something that everyone should be concerned with.

Fortunately, there are a group of doctors in San Diego who are so concerned with addiction that they’ve done extensive research on it in order to try and cure people who are struggling to beat certain addictions. Specifically, they’re working on a vaccine that will, in essence, “cure” people from addiction by causing them to feel nothing when they partake in whatever it is they’re addicted to. For instance, if they’re addicted to cigarettes, they’ll no longer get a nicotine rush when they light up. If they’re addicted to cocaine, sniffing the drug will not deliver the high they’re used to. Therefore, those who receive the vaccine will be able to rid themselves of their addictions easily and painlessly.

“We view this an as alternative or better way for some people,” Dr. Kim D. Janda, a professor at the Scripps Research Institute, told the New York Times recently. “Just like with nicotine patches and the gum, all those things are just systems to get people off the drugs.”

Dr. Janda and other doctors have been at work for years on these vaccines and, while they haven’t landed on one that actually works yet, they’re getting closer. By coming up with vaccines that create antibodies that fight the narcotics that people put into their bodies, they’ll be able to treat people who are addicted to certain substances. They can still use those substances if they’d like, but they’ll have absolutely no effect on them. So they’ll essentially be paying to try and get a high that they don’t actually get, making it less likely that they’ll go back and use those substances again.

So, is it worth doctors’ time and effort to try and create these types of addiction-killing vaccines? In the past, Dr. Janda has tried—unsuccessfully—to create vaccines to eliminate addiction to alcohol and marijuana. So, why do doctors think they’ll be more successful with other kinds of drugs? Well, the truth is that, as Dr. Janda points out in the NYT article, trying to fight addiction scientifically is “stupid.” It’s going to take years and years of research and testing to find a vaccine that fights addiction. However, addition has become such a problem in America that we need to continue to try everything we can to fight it.

If that means spending another 25 years researching addiction vaccines that very well might not work, then so be it. Eventually, all of this research is going to prove something about addiction and, if nothing else, we might be able to find out more about how we can combat it. There are going to be side effects that we can learn from, studies that help explain why people become so addicted to certain substances, and a whole bunch of medical research that comes out simply because these doctors are trying to vaccinate addiction.

Basically, this is something that needs to happen. We’ve figured out ways to make society more sympathetic to substance abuse and we’ve found better ways to treat it. We’ve also made great strides in establishing places where people struggling with addiction can get help. This is just the next step in the process. At some point down the road, science is going to kick in and help eliminate addiction. It might not be tomorrow or next year or 25 years from now, but at one day, you’re going to be able to eliminate addictions with vaccines. And it’s going to be because these doctors are doing their jobs right now and studying every aspect of addiction.

So, hold out hope. One of America’s most crippling diseases is going to disappear at sometime in the future. Addiction is going to be gone forever. And it’s all because a group of doctors are addicted to finding a way to do it. How’s that for irony?

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