This Vaccine Can Prevent Heroin Overdoses and Treat Addiction

Taking a shot at overcoming addiction


Hand holding syringe and vaccine.

(Billion Photos /

Soon, we may be able to treat opioid addictions and even prevent overdoses. Researchers developed a heroin vaccine that induces antibodies and prevents the drug from ‘crossing the blood-brain barrier.’

A study in the Journal of Medical Chemistry proved that the vaccine grew antibodies that fought against opioids such as: hydromorphone, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone, and researchers are hopeful that if people can no longer get high from the drugs, they may stop using them altogether.

The US Military HIV Research Program at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) joined forces  to develop a way to help those struggling with drug addiction. While millions of Americans struggle with opioid addiction, this vaccine could give them the chance to regain control over their lives and have a fresh start.

The vaccine also seemed to lessen the effects of heroin--even at high dosages, a good sign that it could prevent fatal overdoses and save thousands of lives a year. Dr Gary Matyas, Chief of Adjuvants and Formulations for the US Military Research Program, WRAIR said that the vaccine will take away the feelings of euphoria and its addictive effects, making the drug less appealing.

“We hope to give people a window so they can overcome their addiction,” he said. Dr. Matyas has high hopes for the vaccine and believes that although it’s still in the early stages of development, it can be used along with other forms of therapies to prevent withdraw, and eventually, prevent those from using again.

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