Science Might Have Developed a Vaccine for Cocaine Addiction

Doctors want to trick your brain into not getting down on blow.

Cocaine addicts seeking recovery might have new hope in giving up the white girl. A vaccine engineered to treat addiction to the drug will soon be tested in humans, after successful animal trials, according to reports. The vaccine, which was developed over the past decade at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, is described by its creator, Dr. Ronald Crystal, as a "major breakthrough." 

From WCBS 880:

“The way the vaccine works is it blocks the cocaine from reaching the brain. . . The vaccine induces antibodies like little Pac-men, they are anti-cocaine Pac-men, and so it binds up the cocaine and prevents it from reaching its receptors within the brain.”

The most recent estimates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2014) have 1.5 million Americans using cocaine regularly. Though a 2015 survey showed declining interest among high-school students in the white powdery substance. 

But is addiction even something that is able to-be treated via vaccine? Doing coke from sunset to sunrise is not anything like getting the chicken pox. Hard drugs can change the chemistry of the brain forever, with that change compounded each time the user takes them.

The compulsion to consume enough of a substance to destroy or create something usually intangible and within ourselves can be stronger than even the strongest of Pac Men. To completely give up a drug that the body is physically dependent on, and replace it with one that just makes that drug not work, isn't necessarily a cure, so much as a stand-in.

Antabuse, for instance, is a medication that turns alcohol consumption into an extremely gross looking and physically feeling experience. The makers of Antabuse may, like Dr. Ronald Crystal, claim some degree of effectiveness in treating substance-dependent personalities. But the so-called cure's most lasting effect may be in convincing addicts that they never want to take it.