One hundred and fifteen people die every single day due to opioid drug overdose. These numbers were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of their research in aiming to both understand and tackle the opioid drug abuse epidemic in America.
These numbers are completely shocking especially when compared to figures from past decades. The number of deaths caused by drug overdoses in 2016 was five times as much as it was in 1999.
One of the main causes behind these numbers is clear. The fact that doctors and other medial professionals have been prescribing opioid painkillers more than needed. Prescribing these drugs such as oxycodone are both legal and more and more common. Many people will start the drug in an entirely legal way, but will then later become dependent on it.
Once their prescription runs out, they will often do anything to obtain more of it illegally. Most of these acts are done out of desperation due to severe pain. Some people will even end up taking highly illegal hard street drugs such as heroin to deal with their withdrawals from their previous prescription.
It is extremely challenging to treat drug addiction unfortunately, which is why researchers feel a strong need to find new means of ending this severe epidemic.
The Scripps Research Institute has recently released their findings of the study of the idea of a vaccine that could potentially treat heroin addicts. This idea has been around since the 1970’s at the very least.
Similar to any other immunization, the potential vaccine against heroin would create antibodies that create heroin in the blood in the body, and would then prevent the drug from entire the barrier between the blood and the brain, which makes the consumer high.
The concept behind this vaccine is that without experiencing the effect of the drug, the consumer would no longer feel the need to relapse.
There are other teams of researchers that are also currently working on vaccines of this sort, and even one that could help cigarette smokers stop smoking. Regardless of what drug is at hand, there is a serious need to address addiction.
The biggest challenge right now is finding the specific magic ingredients that will enable these treatments to successfully work for humans. They have shown to work on animals, however for humans so far they have unfortunately not been as successful, which was more than a decade ago.
The researchers are planning on trying again and remain optimistic.