Substance abuse and addiction in America have grown to all-time highs, with record overdoses over the last two years and the fallout costing the nation hundreds of billions of dollars. For people in recovery, the margin for error is so thin that even the smallest lapse in judgment may result in the addiction returning in full force. But new vaccines in development may provide an extra level of protection for recovery patients, potentially preventing the possibility of an addiction relapse.
Researchers are currently working on vaccines that would block drugs from reaching a user’s brain, meaning that he or she will not get high. In theory, these vaccines could prevent a person in recovery from relapsing, because the euphoria from taking the drug would be eliminated. The vaccines are being developed to work for several months at a time.
There are currently vaccines in development to combat nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids and methamphetamines. The goal is to use the vaccines to help the immune system develop resistance against the effects of drugs and alcohol. Researchers from around the world have been working on these vaccines for nearly two decades, and clinical trials will be the next step.