California - A group of scientific researchers in Mexico have successfully patented a vaccine in the United States that will help reduce heroine addiction in drug users. The scientists at Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry claim that the patented vaccine has been successfully tested on laboratory mice and will soon be tested on humans addicted to the dangerous narcotic.
Over the past decade, the country of Mexico has grappled with relentless drug-related violence as Mexican cartels compete to control the trafficking of illegal drugs into the United States. In January 2012, the Mexican government reported that 47,515 people had been murdered in drug-related violence since President Calderon began a military assault on the cartels in 2006. Mexico has also reported an increase in its own citizens addicted to the substance, with over 500,000 drug addicts, mostly along the trafficking corridors of the Mexico-U.S. border.
The vaccine which is already patented in the United States, helps reduce addiction in users by making the body resistant to the effects of heroine, so that the users would no longer receive a rush of pleasure after smoking or injecting the drug. The scientists have reportedly received funds from both the Mexican and United States government in order to continue their research and testing of the vaccine.
"It would be a vaccine for people who are serious addicts, who have not had success with other treatments and decide to use this application to get away from drugs," stated Maria Elena Medina, Mexico's National Institute of Psychiatry's director.
Currently, the most common addiction management drug treatment is Methadone. Methadone is useful in the treatment of opioid dependence and in high doses, can block the feelings of euphoria caused by taking heroin, morphine, and similar drugs. Although proven to be effective at managing addiction, many unpleasant side effects have been reported from Methadone use.
During the testing phase on the mice, the animals were given access to measured deposits of heroin given over an extended period of time. The mice that were administered the vaccine demonstrated a huge decrease in consumption of the drug, therefore giving the scientists hope that the vaccine could be effective on humans as well.
If proven successful in humans, the patented vaccine could be available in the U.S. medical market in five years. The United States National Institute on Drug Abuse is reportedly working on creating a similar vaccine, one that would treat cocaine abuse instead.