New vaccines that manipulate the brain to make it immune to mind-altering chemicals could be a new first-line defense against heroin and opioid addictions, according to Science Alert.
The vaccines have been researched as part of America’s ongoing drive to solve its chronic opioid addiction crisis.
The US has recorded around 60,000 deaths due to overdoses in 2016.
The findings on vaccinations were presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington DC and continue a long and controversial approach to treating addiction – using vaccines to effectively negate the effects of drugs.
Kim D. Janda from the Scripps Research Institute in California said: “There is an urgent need to discover effective medications to treat substance use disorders.
“Increasingly, drug users are turning to opioids and powerful synthetic versions of these drugs that can sometimes be as much as 100 times more potent than heroin.
“Moreover, many patients [are] receiving treatment relapse.”
The problems of synthetic substitutes are well documented in the form of overdose deaths.
Synthetic substitutes are hard to gauge in terms of strength.
While users may be acclimatized to a certain dosage, there have been reports of black market opiates that are 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.
Such strength leads to users taking far too heavy doses and thereby fatalities increase.