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Progress Made in Developing Methamphetamine Vaccine

  1. marshagoldberg
    By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
    Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on May 12, 2011
    lab-test-blood-3.jpg Researchers report promising advances in the lab toward the development of a vaccine to treat methamphetamine addiction.
    Although the abuse of “speed” or methamphetamines is under the radar screen for many, the costs associated with the addiction are astronomical exceeding $23 billion annually. Expenditures include medical and law enforcement outlays as well as lost productivity.
    In the paper, Kim Janda, Ph.D., and colleagues note that “meth” or “crystal meth” can cause a variety of problems including cardiovascular damage and death. Meth is highly addictive, and users in conventional behavioral treatment programs often relapse.
    Earlier forms of vaccines for methamphetamine addiction were ineffective or are very expensive. As a consequence, researchers made and tested new vaccine formulations that could potentially be effective for long periods, which would drive down costs and help prevent relapse.
    The group found that three of the new formulations that produced a good immune response in mice (stand-ins for humans in the lab) were particularly promising.
    “These findings represent a unique approach to the design of new vaccines against methamphetamine abuse,” the researchers said.
    The report appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.


  1. johndoehoe
    so when our government makes it a law to recieve health care and government mandated vaccines people who smoke meth recreationally and controllably will be fixed? not hating on this post nor do i or have i ever smoked meth, just saying look where our country is headed. what other vaccines will they come up with? one for people who like to use mind expanding hallucinogenic drugs? will there be a mandatory everyone think this and do this vaccine before to long?
  2. EscapeDummy
    Scary. This is the first step towards some of those dystopian films where emotions are regulated/controlled by the government.
  3. johndoehoe
    the first step was the creation of television and the news lol. god help us.
  4. Garand
    I am a peer volunteer in a recovery program for people who abuse alcohol. My gut reactions to the meth addiction vaccine news was that it was a good thing, science in service of society, perhaps a medicine that will stop the terrible suffering and bleak certainty of an addiction that is much worse than alcohol, which can be pretty bad.

    From a single thin news article, one poster concluded that "the government" will mandate vaccinations. Against meth addiction? Show me the evidence for that conclusion. It is a straw man fallacy. I assumed the article was using "vaccination" non-technically and that the proposed medicine is actually a treatment. Until I have objective evidence one way or the other, I will believe that the subject is meth addiction treatment. I support anything that can shorten an addiction recovery process, improve its quality, improve its odds of success, or make the necessary adjunct treatments more effective.

    As for persons who use meth in a controlled manner, how will they be compelled to take this medicine? This is another straw man fallacy. The article cited contains nothing to support the assertion. By definition those people are not abusing meth, therefore are not suffering adverse consequences. They will not come to the attention of the courts, some of which offer some people a choice between prison or treatment, nor will they voluntarily present for treatment. So they will not be in a position to get the medicine.

    The comment about "regulating emotions" is irrelevant. The research is about providing a meth addict with a drug that breaks or interrupts the biochemical pathway that drives meth's reward cycle toward addictive behavior. The neurological functions at issue are significantly more fundamental than the emotions. The various "vaccines for meth addiction" do not operate in the brain areas related to emotional function.

    Moreover, and more importantly, emotional disregulation and emotional self-alienation are hallmarks of drug abuse. One of the first intermediate steps after a recovery process has successfully started is to bring the ex-user back into full contact with his or her emotions & feelings, then to show the ex-user tools and methods to re-learn how to process them.

    Lifting the suffering of others by providing some guidance and help in one or more forms is a worthy activity and one of the best features of human aspiration.
  5. somnitek
    Someone once told me a story regarding their experience with mandatory dosing of Naltrexone as a result of a DUI (repeated DUI) back in the 70's. He knew a guy who, despite taking it, would drink all day. Periodically, he'd ask "How am I looking?" because the combination would occasionally cause him to flush red. He'd wait a while, for it to go away, and continue drinking.

    Expect the same with methamphetamine addicts.
  6. EscapeDummy

    Fair enough. I may have hastily reached an illogical conclusion. But referring to a similar article on cocaine...


    I think it's foolish to think that we can give people a magic panacea shot and cure them of addiction. As the articles say, it's much more complex than simply the high. Vaccines aren't even perfectly efficacious for well understood diseases. The mechanisms of addiction seem to go deeper than being able to turn off a pleasure switch, or simply inducing anhedonia to a drug. Do drug addicts seem rational to you? The bolded quote is especially telling. And I believe some of those deeper addiction mechanisms are emotional, drug compulsion occurs because of the way an addict feels and thinks, and emotions are something we don't even have a rudimentary grasp of. Not only are there idiosyncratic responses to drugs, but there are also idiosyncratic responses to vaccines, and each person's immune response is unique. What physiological changes are caused when a person has large numbers of these newly introduced antibodies? How does it change their physiological response to other things? How do you prevent them from switching to other drugs, such as meth to cocaine or vice versa? There is absolutely no possible way to create a "one size fits all" drug vaccine, and it doesn't even seem to be the right approach. As some scientists in the article mention, it isn't targeting the root cause. Addicts will find a way around it, even if it means altering their own immune systems to overcome the vaccine.
  7. sassyspy
    This is such a debate inspiring article. Reading it at first, I scoffed. Then I read the responses, and nodded along with some very valid points.
    Obviously, the perception of addiction as a disease promotes a 'vaccine' treatment intervention. In the long run, a vaccine is surely less expensive, those counseling sessions certainly are expensive, and can't cure a disease, right? Right?
    Ok, yes I am being facetious, but I agree with what Garand says. How can ANYTHING be successful as an intervention for addiction, if the originating issues are not resolved?
    Vaccine or not, if those problems are not dealt with, one is just as likely to use even another substance, to escape their emotions. Our society is woefully inadequate at actual treatment, our response to nearly every problem is simply another drug, or punishment (ie, jail, prison, fines, etc). Neither have been proven very effective. :rolleyes:
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