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Vaccine Could Cut Heroin Addiction

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the now-make-one-for-nicotine dept.

Medicine 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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U.S. needs this for national security (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147085)

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

Re:U.S. needs this for national security (1)

mwfischer (1919758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147113)

I'm not sure if I should mod that as Insightful or Funny... I'll post to the thread instead.

To Quote Woody allen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147149)

I used to be a heroin addict, Now I'm a methadone addict.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (5, Funny)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147349)

I used to be a heroin addict, then I took a methadone-tipped arrow to the knee.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1, Interesting)

Wansu (846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147361)

"I used to be a heroin addict, Now I'm a methadone addict."

Yep. Methadone has all the addictive qualities without all the pleasing euphoria. A recent post on /. says it's killing people, both the use of methadone and withdrawal from it.

There's no telling what side effects this vaccine will have, assuming it works as intended.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147457)

"Yep. Methadone has all the addictive qualities without all the pleasing euphoria."

You've clearly never tried Methadone.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1)

fizzer06 (1500649) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147695)

And you have?

Re:To Quote Woody allen (4, Insightful)

Sczi (1030288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147839)

I have, and if you haven't, then I dare you to take one. Bring snacks and a helmet.

The idea behind methadone is that you're not supposed to keep using it. You use it when detoxing to gradually step down, but surprise surprise, heroin addicts don't use it as intended.

Everything in moderation, including our excesses.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147777)

Actually (from the NIH - emphasis mine):

Methadone can be habit-forming. Call your doctor if you find that you want to take extra medication or notice any other unusual changes in your behavior or mood.

Do not stop taking methadone without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably want to decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking methadone, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, teary eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, muscle pain, and widened pupils (black circles in the middle of the eyes).

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148009)

You completely missed the point. Methadone does induce a pleasing euphoric effect. The OP said it did not.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1)

reub2000 (705806) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147969)

Yep. Methadone has all the addictive qualities without all the pleasing euphoria.

So people are getting addicted to something with no pleasant qualities? Please explain your logic.

Re:To Quote Woody allen (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147997)

How about being addicted to NOT having withdrawal symptoms?

Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1, Interesting)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147137)

How about (assuming it's safe) we forcibly administer it to anyone caught committing a crime while addicted to heroin?

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (3, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147177)

It'll be a long time before we can be sure it's safe.

However, it could be offered as a way to cut their sentence, or as part of their rehab. I'd fully support them having the option.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (5, Insightful)

CrzyP (830102) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147443)

Also, as the /. blurb, wouldn't this just increase the consumption for addicts since they cannot get the high they're looking for with "normal" doses, they would just increase the dosage. Right? "..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 they are still addicted and will feel the withdrawal effects and will then start smoking/injecting more of the substance.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147733)

Wish I hadn't used all my mod points yesterday; this is a really good point.

This is a vaccine that can't be applied to people without some serious supervision. An addict under withdrawal who is desperate for a fix may very easily use deadly amounts of the drug.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147961)

well then it is a good thing?

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

bsquizzato (413710) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147991)

At first I was thinking that as well. But notice it says that mice given the vaccine consumed less heroin. I would believe the mice were addicted too. If they consumed less, perhaps they weren't experiencing severe withdrawal either.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (5, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147217)

Since you have no problem with violating human rights, why not just kill addicts? Perhaps eugenics [wikipedia.org] is your thing.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (3, Insightful)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147255)

I gave the qualifier "if it is safe", so I think I'm in pretty good shape. Under that qualifier, it is far less of a "violation of human rights" to vaccine against heroin than to lock a human being in a cage for several years, wouldn't you say? Isn't that exactly what prison is, which is the normal "treatment" for the criminal class? What would you propose doing with criminals that doesn't involve "violating their human rights"? Inviting them to tea parties and giving them crumpets?

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (3)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147725)

Jail sentences are usually not for life. Perhaps we should also just castrate sex offenders instead of jailing them?

I am ok with giving an offender the option (maybe vaccine instead of jail time or fore reduced jail time), but forcing a person to permanently destroy a conduit of pleasure sounds too Clockwork Orange-y for my taste.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147801)

forcing a person to permanently destroy a conduit of pleasure sounds too Clockwork Orange-y for my taste.

Treating heroin as a "conduit of pleasure" worthy of respect sounds too hippie for my taste, so we're about even. :)

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (5, Insightful)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147953)

Instead of attacking the heroine aspect, examine this from a more objective stance. What is your (society-perceived) vice and who has the right to take it away from you?

Imagine a day where insurance companies can deny you coverage because you haven't had the "cigarette/alcohol/fatty-foods vaccine".

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

RKBA (622932) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147881)

Although I can't cite you an example offhand, I'm pretty sure a few sex offenders have voluntarily asked to be castrated in lieu of a long jail sentence. Yes, it's too Clockwork Orange-y for my taste also, but we are entering a new dark age where things are similar to those in Kubrick's movie and Orwell's book 1984 (ie; a Fascist police state). The United States Constitution essentially no longer exists and is universally ignored. Most of the people who graduate from today's government education camps can barely read and have never read the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Have you? Has anyone?

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

Pennidren (1211474) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148003)

It is the OP's "forcibly administered" that I take issue with. Voluntary options for reduction of sentence is more tolerable.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148005)

you exaggerate a bit and if a real s. offender wants a 'treatment' then why not? If it helps of course. Not sure if that only would help.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (5, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147923)

Well for starters, stop calling them "criminals". This "crime" exists only in the law. It has no victim. In fact, the law has victims, the users.

The law has driven up the price. Where there were once a few addicts who popped pills, or smoked some opium, we now have IV drug users. Where the worst people used to be was a bit lazy and checked out, we now have desperate people commiting petty crimes to get by. This is the result of the prohibition not the drug.

The evidence keeps mounting that prohibition is the cause of the real issues. Yet, the drug users are still the criminals, and not the politicians and cops who created this situation. Some areas report 50% of burn victims are the result of meth labs. Meth labs that exist only because of prohibition. 50% of burn victims are victims of prohibition. How many of those thousands of people would still have ended up there? 1 or 2? If that!

The majority of the problem is the situation. Blaming people for playing the game as it is set up for them is ridiculous. The law created the situation, the blame resides in only one place...bad policy making.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148023)

Well for starters, stop calling them "criminals".

How about for starters, you stop making assumptions. I didn't say anything about the "crime" of possessing heroin, which would end up as sort of a circular legal argument, as you point out. I was actually talking about serious crimes that affect other people.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

umghhh (965931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147977)

I think tea party is already full of criminals or criminal bigots so inviting more criminals would not change much or.....

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147341)

Godwin'd!

USians enjoy a "human right" to liberty. You may have noticed that it has limits though.

Likewise, you usually enjoy the right to refuse medical treatment, but I'm fine with your right to do that ending when you steal my TV to buy your next fix.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147455)

Right opiates work by bonding to chemical receptors in the brain. If a vaccination makes one non-responsive IV opiate drugs like heroin then it must be making significant and lasting changes to neural chemistry. Who knows what all affects that might result in, given or still limited understanding of the brain?

I don't think conviction of a non capital crime should permit the state to make permanent changes to persons body. That is slippery slope our society needs to stay the heck away from. I really think no matter how good an idea it might seem, no matter how many people it might "help" we really need to agree that there are lines we just won't cross because they run counter to the character of our society.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (4, Insightful)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147669)

Right opiates work by bonding to chemical receptors in the brain. If a vaccination makes one non-responsive IV opiate drugs like heroin then it must be making significant and lasting changes to neural chemistry. Who knows what all affects that might result in, given or still limited understanding of the brain?

And those same receptors are used legitimately to reduce pain while sick or recovering from injury. If this is non-reversable that's a whole class of pain killers not available to these people later on in their lives.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (4, Informative)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147685)

No. A heroin vaccine, like the cocaine vaccine, is designed to train the immune system to launch a very targeted attack against a specific molecule surface. Not by altering or interfering with pathways or receptors or neurotransmitters. Generally the target region for the antibody is not the same as the portion of the molecule that triggers receptors.

Also, we damn near force babies and small children to get vaccinations. Chances are if we don't give the injection to addicts, we'll be giving it to kids as a form of prevention.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147879)

You'd just run into the Little Angel effect, same as with the HPV vaccine. Parents will refuse to have their kids vaccinated, because they are confident their little angel of a child would never be lured into drug abuse - and any attempt to say other wise will be taken as a personal attack on their parenting abilities.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147775)

If a vaccination makes one non-responsive IV opiate drugs like heroin then it must be making significant and lasting changes to neural chemistry. Who knows what all affects that might result in, given or still limited understanding of the brain?

Something tells me that people who willfully take heroin, ecstacy or similar drugs for pleasure are not all too concerned about significant and lasting changes to their neural chemistry.

I don't think conviction of a non capital crime should permit the state to make permanent changes to persons body. That is slippery slope our society needs to stay the heck away from. I really think no matter how good an idea it might seem, no matter how many people it might "help" we really need to agree that there are lines we just won't cross because they run counter to the character of our society.

Agreed, however I think it is important that society makes the choice available. What good is our freedom and liberty if the society in which we live does not allow for or offer the opportunities and range of choices that allow for us to implement or freedoms and liberties?

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1, Offtopic)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147335)

Yes, that's exactly what they plan to do.

When do we get a vaccine to money that we can forcibly administer to our politicians? This is the far more dangerous addiction.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147357)

I am quite positive - considering the fact that there are people voluntarily entering rehab - that many drug addicts have moments where they are quite sober, and actually want to quit. Those moments probably last only until their bodies start to demand more: heroin is largely notorious for the strong physical addiction. This of course in combination with the fantastic high an addict experiences, the reason they use it to begin with of course.

Physical withdrawal is a major issue. Methadone is given as replacement, I'm not sure whether it's really less physically destructive but at least it's provided free/legal so an addict has a way out of the criminal world. Methadone is typical for people so addicted that cold turkey would kill them, that's at least pretty much what I've been told. Getting them clean is the best of course. Heroin is simply nasty.

This withdrawal effect is what TFA does not address. Does it lessen the effects? Make it easier to go through it? We probably will only know following human trials.

Getting the person "immune" to the effects is of course a good start, when (not if) they try again after coming out clean they don't have the rush, so the psychological part is cut off at least.

The next question (assuming it's tested and found safe) is going to be: will we vaccinate the whole population? Make it part of children's vaccination schedule? Now that could help in winning the "war on drugs". Take away the market!

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

maple_shaft (1046302) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147897)

Methadone is typical for people so addicted that cold turkey would kill them, that's at least pretty much what I've been told.

That may have been the intent originally, but you have unfortunately been told wrong.

As someone who is related to a few heroin addy's, one ex-addy, they typically tell me that methadone feels in many ways like a more powerful drug and it is indeed more addictive than heroin itself. The point of the methadone clinic is that they would rather have you on a controlled substance that is more powerful and addictive, but is dosed and quality controlled correctly than having people buy heroin off the street. Remember, heroin was invented to be the cure for morphine addiction!

This is all well and good but when you are addicted to heroin, then it is possible to be physically and mentally freed of that addiction through hard work, dedication, committment, and a LOT of time. One friend of mine was able to do this despite the fact that he was repeatedly told that it can't be done and that his only option was methadone.

They purposely try to convince you that you are not strong willed enough without methadone simply because it is cheaper and easier to treat hundreds of addicts by dispensing methadone than it is through extended rehab, therapy and a strong social support group.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147365)

Better yet, how about we add it to the infant vaccinations? (assuming it's safe)

OK, I'm kidding, that seems very wrong. But don't doubt that it will be a controversy for real if this thing works.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147649)

How about (assuming it's safe) we forcibly administer it to anyone caught committing a crime while addicted to heroin?

Forced medical procedures is unlikely to be considered constitutional. There's also quite a few international treaties dealing with this kind of thing. You might be able to justify it as a forced treatment for addicts that are mentally ill and unable to make their own decisions, but even then it would have to be for the benefit of the patient.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (0)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147837)

It doesn't have to be physical force, you can give them a choice between the drug and the jail.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147855)

(and by drug I mean the medication not heroin)

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

alexborges (313924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147985)

This is stupid. Doing heroin shouldnt even be illegal.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (1)

sideslash (1865434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147857)

What's the difference between someone who is mentally ill and commits crimes, versus someone whose heroin addiction causes them to commit crimes? You could regard curing a heroin addiction as morally the same thing as curing a mental illness. At least in the case of convicted criminals -- just as the state doesn't necessarily force any treatment on peaceful "naturally" psychotic people.

Re:Serious addicts who "decide to use" it? (2)

alexborges (313924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147947)

Yeah, why not?

Although I could ask: for what purpose?

Most crimes are not commited by people addicted to heroin. Most heroin addicts do not commit crimes to feed their addiction and then, most that do both, almost are never caught.

You need to cut down on the Nixon's War on Drugs kool-aid.

Re: oh no! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147141)

But then we'll just end up with Autistic addicts in recovery!

Masking the effects? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147147)

This sounds great, and I am all for a vaccine that could help erradicate a wide spread problem like this. I wonder what would happen to current users who tried to be vaccinated, or were forced to be vaccinated, when they use again? When using a normal dose of heroin does nothing for them, will they shoot up again with twice as much? This could easily be an uninteded solution to a heroin addiction! They'll never use again, period.

This could be a bad thing (1)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147163)

If you get really bad withdrawal symptoms (which in the case of heroin could potentially kill you), taking the vaccine means that you can't even have a little bit to alleviate the symptoms and cut down. I would also assume that it affects methadone too which, again, means suffering from withdrawal.

Re:This could be a bad thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147241)

Heroin withdrawal itself can't kill you. What can kill you is appeasing your cravings during the withdrawal and ODing due to a lowered tolerance.

Re:This could be a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147267)

You can get clean in a controlled setting at a treatment center. I'd imagine the most typical time to get the vaccine would be while you were there.

Re:This could be a bad thing (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147293)

I don't know where you got the idea that it's possible to die from opioid withdrawal, because it just doesn't happen.

Re:This could be a bad thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147541)

Unless they jump in front of a train or something.

Re:This could be a bad thing (1)

justin12345 (846440) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147751)

It's alcohol/barbiturate withdrawal that can kill you, not opiate, but that aside you raise a good point.

My question is, what happens when the vaccinated person needs surgery at some point in the future? Heroin's just another painkiller, vaccinating against it should probably render all painkillers ineffective.

I worry about vaccines for pleasure (4, Interesting)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:I worry about vaccines for pleasure (5, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147281)

Heroin use does exactly that, diminishes other sorts of pleasure.

Re:I worry about vaccines for pleasure (1)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147573)

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 for thieving.

other opiates? (4, Interesting)

liamevo (1358257) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147191)

Does this also stop the effects of other opiates?

Re:other opiates? (1)

Thugthrasher (935401) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147721)

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 being made comfortable)

Vaccine (4, Insightful)

edraven (45764) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147193)

You keep using that word...

Re:Vaccine (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147379)

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.

Re:Vaccine (2)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147883)

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 "serum", but that doesn't cut it either. Maybe something like desensitization agent... anyway, if there is a correct medical word for it, I doubt it would be proper for a vulgarization article like this one. OP is correct... but in the context for the article, I guess "vaccine" is an acceptable compromise.

Now that heroin is taken care of...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147203)

What about a vaccine for another highly addictive substance, choccy. :P

Re:Now that heroin is taken care of...... (1)

SargentDU (1161355) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147315)

Or Tobacco, Marijuana, cocaine, etc. :)

Re:Now that heroin is taken care of...... (1)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147413)

They'd have to kill me to vaccinate me against Marijuana (Which would be redundant anyway :P), it's too good + safe.

Re:Now that heroin is taken care of...... (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147945)

Smoking it will ruin your lungs faster than tobacco though. Hence why many users prefer other means.

Unintended consequences (4, Insightful)

iteyoidar (972700) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147245)

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.

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147499)

Considering that most Heroin users started off abusing other opiates, I would think this would be nearly useless if it didn't. They would just revert back to more expensive pills.

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

QQ2 (591550) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147779)

Doesn't matter the pleassure and pain numbing effects are not 100% intertwined. A number of modern Anesthetics are allready treated in a fasion that reduces pleassure and thus makes them less addictive. They are however still usefull in medicine.

Tbh the only problem with this vaccine I see is that if it deadens the pleassure of Heroin addicts what pleassure remains. Heroin reduces the sensetivity of any other pleasure and with that taken away wouldn't users remain 'unpleasurable'

Maybe the stimuli repressed by heroin will come back after a while but otherwise I fear that this will result in a lot more suicides. (then again long term Heroin usage is essentially that)

Re:Unintended consequences (1)

geogob (569250) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147959)

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.

Heroin addicted mice (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147237)

Heroin is a pretty serious problem if even mice are addicted to it.

This is stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147239)

The War on Drugs has gone too far this time. Seriously, just legalize everything for consumption and commercial sales, spend your enforcement dollars on things like curbing DUI/DWI (which is probably the single largest fallout on the rest of society from open drug use), and the problem is solved. People who can't control their addictions and urges will remove themselves from the gene pool before they procreate much, and we'll all be better off in the long run.

Re:This is stupid (1)

Saintwolf (1224524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147423)

But that would be the smart thing to do, and when have US leaders ever done that?

Hmmm... (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147243)

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.

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147317)

This would probably have lots of potential for the Americans when they torture their POWs.

Re:Hmmm... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147503)

Too permanent, I suspect. We appear to prefer our torture procedures to be easily repeatable as many times as deemed necessary.

Now, cycling the patient through an administration of heroin followed by an administration of Naloxone(superb for treating opiate overdoses; but kicks you into full-on withdrawl fast)...

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147663)

Or you could give them Naloxone AND the heroin vaccine at the same time. The pain will never end, and torturing them to the point of insanity suddenly became that much easier.

I wish I could work for the Americans. I would love to use their high tech devices to punish terrorists and American citizens.

fp faGorZ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147263)

overdose risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147403)

Another problem I see is that the addict, after brief sobriety on the vaccine, gets a hankering to shoot up and relapses. Being dismayed that the effect is not manifested as it once was, he takes a bunch more hoping to feel the desired effect. And dies.

How did the research even get this far? (1)

clm1970 (1728766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147425)

I guess these scientists have never heard the phrase, "Don't shit where you eat". I wonder how they kept the research under wraps so the cartels didn't ventilate them. If I were them I'd get the hell out of dodge.

Won't someone think of the children! (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147479)

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?

Defeating our opioid receptors a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147489)

Didn't RTFA but we have opioid receptors for a reason. Defeat the endorphin system and I would expect you would have clinical depression as a result.

Why not for everyone? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147539)

Why not anyone who's using heroin, why just "serious addicts"? When you have the nuclear, sure-fire fix, why does Medicine persist in trying nickel-and-dime schemes?

Re:Why not for everyone? (1)

berashith (222128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147691)

probably because this is a really horrible idea, and anyone who hasnt failed at every other option of quitting should not be exposed to it.

Poppycock (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147543)

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

I for one welcome this... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147591)

My cousin (former Marine) just died from heroin addiction and overdose. I welcome this and any possibly solution 100%. Yes, heroin is not a smart choice of drug but when your senses are completely battered and you have nowhere else to turn after trying therapy, alcohol, pills and whatever else you can get your hands on, heroin is the next step. It's almost unavoidable and believe it or not... if you want it, you can find it and you'll do anything to pay for it. It is so horrible... and watching someone in so much pain who WANTS to change their addictive behavior is so hurtful and emotionally draining. Something like this that can hult halt or prevent such a terrible lifestyle is welcomed no matter what. We, as a family, tried everything, and nothing seemed to work. It took a large toll on our family and left a young, smart, funny and loving person at the hands of the fates. RIP, cousin.

But what about... (1)

pellik (193063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147611)

I wonder if this vaccine would also negate pain-killers like morphine? I'd hate to see people use this vaccine and then develop some really terrible disease later in life and the best they can do to cope with the pain is take tylenol.

This is bad bad bad news (1)

Lieutenant Buddha (1660501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147679)

I can very easily envision them making vaccines like this for other drugs. The next generation of the drug war: don't stop the supply of drugs, just "vaccinate" the population (at an early age, what parent would say no?) from the pleasurable effects of non-state-approved psychoactives. This could be the endgame for the DEA and this scares the bejeezus out of me.

Ok... what about the rest of the stuff? (1)

Decoy82 (2446260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147693)

Ok - cut off the dope - that makes sense. However I am pretty sure there are quite a few other drugs out there as well as Alcohol (the worst). There is more going on than physical addiction. Try giving the mouse a little cocaine - maybe he'll run back to the dope. Even better - now we can all drink ourselves to death like normal people!

The good, the bad, and the ugly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147761)

If this works exclusively on heroin (so it doesn't work on painkillers like what they use for surgery or post surgery recovery) and is permanent, I could and would enjoy seeing this offered as an alternative to jail time or fines for some petty theft. But for anything major, I would not offer this option.

I would also make sure this was allowed for free to anyone who willingly asked for it both in prison and outside. Be able to catch some addicts when they have a moment of clarity before the cravings catch back up to them and people in prison who are honestly trying to get off the drug.

I can also see this abused by some parents who forcibly try giving to their children before the even hit the age of 10 or even know what heroin is as a "just in case" for when they get older or if it does also work on painkillers that are used by doctors, it would help with the pill heads as well but heaven help you if you need any real surgery and they can no longer numb you up before they cut your stomach open.

Not a vaccine (1)

Curunir_wolf (588405) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147843)

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.

Now if only... (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147859)

...I could cure my damn jet addiction. I'm just not smart enough to convince Myron that it's possible!

Vaccine side effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39147865)

It gets you addicted to it.

It'll help but probably won't completely stop it. (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147913)

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.

Unintended consequence (1)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147915)

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?

Did the mice do anything? (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147989)

Sure, they stopped shooting up, but were they dead, or basically in a vegetative state? I'd like to see some metric of their activity otherwise. My guess is that they didn't decide to learn a musical instrument, or go looking for employment. This is a classic problem with inference from animal models.

Why not just give addicts free heroin? (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39147999)

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 them be addicts?

Or better yet, just stop the war on freedom and let addicts buy heroin at realistic market prices? Some will just maintain a habit and perhaps work a job and be something other than criminals, some will just eventually OD, but the rest of us won't have to live in a police state.

What could possibly go wrong ... (1)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 2 years ago | (#39148017)

... with disabling the brain's response to endorphins?
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