Recently, Mexico announced that it had secured the patent on a vaccine against heroin addiction. Though it will take about five years worth of studies and tests before it is ready to use on humans, the hope is that this will mean great strides in the fight against opiate addiction in the country and around the world. On the horizon, too, is research that is working toward finding a similar treatment for cocaine addiction and crystal meth addiction.
Will Vaccines Help Fight Addiction?
Whether the medication is used prior to the development of addiction in order to fend off the disorder as with other vaccines or used during treatment to block the effects of the drug and diminish cravings to render relapse ineffective, the argument focuses on whether or not it’s helpful in terms of long-term recovery. In the cases of similar vaccines under development in the United States, doses must be given frequently and their effects only last for a short period. Addicts will need to undergo long-term addiction treatment in the form of therapy and deal with underlying issues that spawned and fueled their addiction so that they can get to the point where they no longer need the vaccine.
Getting to ‘Drug-Free’
Some people who are seeking freedom from drugs and alcohol go all the way and want nothing to do with substances of any kind. They would see the vaccine as another drug – a blocking drug that keeps them from abusing other substances but a drug all the same. In other words, some might view it as a crutch, not unlike methadone or buprenorphine, and not feel that they were truly abstinent until they no longer had to get booster shots of the vaccine.
How Do You Define Recovery?
If a vaccine like the one recently patented in Mexico were made available for human consumption in the United States, would you use it? Do you believe that those who take regular doses of medication for no other purpose than staving off active addiction are drug-free or are they just barely fighting off relapse? If you’ve ever taken maintenance medications like methadone or buprenorphine and successfully gotten off of it, did you feel more like you were drug-free during or after the medication – or was there any difference? Leave us a comment below and let us know your experience.