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Author Topic: [CA] Vaccine development potential tool to deal with opioid epidemic  (Read 265 times)

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source: https://www.brantfordexpositor.ca/opinion/columnists/vaccine-development-potential-tool-to-deal-with-opioid-epidemic

Vaccine development potential tool to deal with opioid epidemic

Dec 22, 2022



Fentanyl pills

When I was young, there was a television commercial for DuPont that had the tagline: “Better living through chemistry.”

It was an attempt to open people to the possibilities of science in the service of mankind. Unfortunately for DuPont, the catchphrase became a slogan of the anti-establishment drug-culture in the 1960s that distorted the original meaning.

Today, the drug scene is more active due to modern culture and the portrayal of drug use as a “cool” thing to do.

Unfortunately, chemistry also has had a dramatic effect on the drug culture itself with the development of powerful new synthetic drugs. Such drugs, in a hospital setting, can perform miracles in the field of pain relief. These drugs are cheap and plentiful and, in the wrong setting, deadly.

One of the most popular of these new synthetic drugs is fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid used in hospitals as a painkiller and for anesthesia. It is inexpensive and plentiful on the street and is between 50 and 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Unfortunately, many people equate the power of the drug with them being tough – a belief that is often proven incorrect with deadly consequences.

When ingested, fentanyl produces an intense, but short-term, “high” that includes feelings of euphoria. It also results in suppression of respiration, lowered blood pressure, nausea, fainting and, if the dose is high enough, seizures and death.

Fentanyl is involved in about half of drug deaths. In the United States, it kills about 150 people every day. Canada should have similar numbers, scaled for our smaller population.

According to preliminary data from Public Health Ontario, 54 people died in the Brantford-Brant County area from opioid overdoses in 2021 – a 39 per cent increase since 2020. In addition, there were 294 emergency department visits and 37 hospitalizations for opioid-related overdoses.

The Brant County Health Unit issued a public health safety alert last July 26 due to an increase in overdose incidents.

The death toll from these drugs is vastly under reported because they are so common.

But police, hospitals and emergency responders are all too well-aware of the toll these drugs take in lives. From July 1 to 25, Brantford police responded to 19 opioid overdose incidents, including six deaths.

Because fentanyl is so powerful, there’s a small difference between a dose that gets you high and a dose that kills you. What makes this worse is that fentanyl is often added to other drugs in an effort to intensify the high. Most users of heroin, cocaine and meth are unaware that fentanyl is in the drugs.

Treatment for drug addiction has a long history that runs from “just say no” to serious medical and psychological therapies.

To help mitigate the effects of opioid overdoses, a drug called naloxone has been made widely available. Naloxone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain and can temporarily reverse the effects of drugs, such as fentanyl. Available in either injectable form or a nasal spray that is easy to use, naloxone has resulted in a dramatic reduction of deaths.

However, often people ingest opioids alone and the effects overwhelm the user before they realize they are in trouble. When they lose consciousness, they are helpless to fight the slowing and complete suppression of breathing. Death soon follows.

There is good news on the distant horizon with the development of a new vaccine by researchers at the University of Houston. Using rats, researchers found the vaccine blocked the effects of fentanyl and allowed it to be excreted through the kidneys. The findings of their study were published in the journal Pharmaceutics. The study found the vaccine blocks the high and the other effects that are so deadly and could be used to get someone off of fentanyl.

Even better is that this new vaccine does not block the pain relief effects of opiates, such as morphine. So, a person could get pain relief while being immune to the effects of fentanyl.

Of course, this potential treatment is only at the level of animal studies and it will be a long time before this is available for drug users who are trying to get off fentanyl. In the meantime, the toll of lives and the effects on families will continue.
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I do not condone or support any illegal activities. All information is for theoretical discussion and wonder.
All activities discussed are considered fictional and hypothetical. Information of all discussion has been derived from online research and in the spirit of personal Freedom.

Tags: opioid vaccine 
 

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