Forget Vivitrol, There’s a New Heroin Vaccination Right Around the Corner
The search for a “cure” to opiate addiction has led to many different consumer products promising to be the “silver bullet” or “miracle drug” for for those addicted to painkillers or heroin. As the opiate crisis worsened, Suboxone, Methadone and Vivitrol hit the market. These products were regarded as possible panaceas for opioid addiction, so desperate users and their families reached out for them in the hopes they would help deal with their addiction and allow the family to be pieced back together. The newest search for an “easy way” out of opiate addiction has come in the form of a vaccination that will hopefully not only prevent opiate addiction but cure it once a user decides they want to get clean.
The Scripps Research Institute has developed a vaccine to combat opiate addiction that has shown some successes when used on monkeys. The way the vaccination works is just like vaccinations for illness; it uses the immune system. This new vaccination uses the body’s immune system to produce antibodies against heroin and it’s psychoactive and intoxicating characteristics. Basically, after the vaccination is administered, the next time a person takes heroin, they won’t feel the effects of the drug… and it can apparently last up to 8 months. The idea is that if you take away the reward users get (the high) after taking heroin, they won’t want to use it anymore which would help them in their attempts to get sober.
In my opinion, the same argument against this vaccination is the same argument against Vivitrol. Vivitrol is a drug that is injected into opiate users that block the high from heroin and other opiates with the hope that they’ll stop using opiates altogether if they can’t get high from it. The problem here is that Vivitrol doesn’t do anything to handle the addiction. All it does is handle the drug, so to speak. If you don’t handle the actual addiction, the real reason a person uses drugs, then they’re unlikely to stop getting high. Vivitrol blocks a drug user’s ability to get high from opiates. But they can still get high on a laundry list of other drugs. It’s not uncommon for addicted individuals to change their drug of choice. So, when one doesn’t work, they just go on to another one. Drugs, in general, are a solution to a problem for people. It’s very easy to swap between substances…there’s one drug to give you energy and focus, another one to numb you out, and everything else in between. If you take a user’s ability to get high on one drug away, there are many others that’ll do the trick.
There are no magic cures for addiction. If no one has told you that before, then there you go. All the vaccinations, injections, and pills in the world won’t handle an addiction. We seem to be on this endless search for an easy way to get sober, but quite frankly, getting sober isn’t easy. There’s a lot that goes into getting addicted in the first place. Addiction doesn’t happen overnight, so it takes some time to undo all of it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are no short-term solutions to achieve long-term sobriety. These drugs and potions just give us a false sense of hope by giving us some sort of “cutting edge” way to handle addiction. You handle addiction by getting the root of why a person uses drugs and get them to a point where they don’t feel like they have anything to medicate away anymore.
That they realize life is better clean.
There’s no more effective way to do it.