Can addiction be treated like the flu, or like measles, where a vaccination is injected once and the body then fights off drugs and alcohol the way it would the flu virus?
Dr. Kim Janda, a medicinal chemist at the Scripps Institute in San Diego, California is working to make the answer to that question a definitive yes. His work on mice is leading Dr. Janda closer to an effective immunization for drug and alcohol addiction.
The idea is to inject an addict with the vaccine so that if a substance like cocaine, heroin, or alcohol is ingested, the body recognizes it and works to fight against it, and rid it from the system. If effective, the user would not experience a high, or any other pleasurable effects of drugs and alcohol.
Great news for those who want to stop drinking and using, right?
Studies are still in the works to determine the appropriateness of the vaccine on actual addicts. If found successful in the treatment of addiction, the shot will be used as a part of substance abuse treatment, not as a preventive measure. Addicts who want to stop using and drinking can receive the immunization.
Dr. Janda shares his views by saying, “People need to get over the idea of addiction being a moral failure. It’s nothing but a disease of the brain.” He believes that a major advantage of the vaccine is that it treats the physical addiction, the component of the disease that keeps people using.
The danger in addicts relying on an already-administered immunization is overdose. If an effort to “power through” the vaccine, an addict may take a extremely large dose of his or her drug of choice because a high is so desired. When the body is unable to dismantle all of the substance that’s been ingested, the addict can fatally overdose.
Funding for the vaccine is in the works. Dr. Janda would love to see his ideas help people successfully battle addiction while he is still around to see it.
Listen To Rob talk about the help Sovereign Health gave him in dealing with addiction: