Immunizations Against Addiction?

This is straight out of a science fiction novel:

Children to get jabs against drug addiction
Ministers consider vaccination scheme. Heroin, cocaine and nicotine targeted
By Sophie Goodchild and Steve Bloomfield

25 July 2004

A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.

Excuse me, but doesn’t this sound a bit, uh, dangerous?

Since these vaccines are brand new, there are obviously no long term studies of the effects. What else side effects might there be from preventing the feeling of euphoria created by narcotics? Do scientists truly believe they understand enough about the human brain to modify its normal processes in a life-altering manner?

Meanwhile, experts at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, have developed a super-virus, harmless to humans, which produces proteins that can block or reduce the effects of cocaine.

The team at Scripps tested the virus on rats by injecting it into their noses twice a day for three days.

On the fourth day, the rats were given a shot of cocaine. The researchers found that cocaine had more effect on the rats not injected with the virus than those that were. Scientists hope that the virus will help stop the cravings experienced by cocaine users for the drug by blocking the pleasure they normally associate with cocaine. This anti-drug medication is expected to be available to users within the next two years in the form of a nasal spray.

A “super virus”? “Harmless to humans”?

I see a novel in this.

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