In 1984, Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded Fairwinds Treatment Center with the goal of helping individuals suffering from addiction problems attain long-term recovery.
He developed the dual diagnosis method of treatment still in use at the center today, in which medical professionals treat patients not only for their physical symptoms of addiction but also for underlying psychological issues. Dr. El-Yousef understands that addiction is a mental and emotional disease as well as a physical one, and that patients cannot make a fully successful return to society until they are healed in mind, body and spirit.
Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered a potential vaccine for heroin that has been successful in 2013 pre-clinical trials on rats. The vaccine, when injected, stopped the drug from affecting the rats' brains, leaving them unharmed. This medication could potentially be used in life-saving efforts for people addicted to heroin.
This discovery is timely, since heroin use is dramatically increasing in the United States, with many users first becoming addicted to prescription opioids and then moving on to the much cheaper heroin. In July 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription painkillers every day. Heroin use is becoming a prevalent issue in mainstream America, and some people hope that a vaccine could curb the trend.
However, scientists told Time Magazine that most organizations aren't willing to fund drug trials for the treatment of heroin addiction.
"I am not sure Americans realize that if they treated alcoholism and drug addiction they would save quadrillions of dollars in health care costs," Dr. George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA), told Time Magazine. "Go into any emergency room on the weekend and you will see half are there for alcohol and drugs. If for no other reason, investing in research on addiction will reduce health care costs in the future."
There is also a great deal of skepticism over whether a vaccine would work, since earlier trials of other drug vaccines were largely unsuccessful. Others question whether a vaccine for drug addiction would actually make a permanent difference, since it would only be treating the problem in the short-term.
Other medicinal responses to addiction have previously been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as naltrexone and acamprosate. In New Jersey, police have started carrying a heroin antidote called Narcan, which has been successful in reducing deaths from overdose. In Ocean County, for example, the drug has been used 129 times, and all but eight individuals were revived. A growing concern is now how to stop those revived from overdosing again in the future.
If you are suffering from a substance abuse problem, contact Fairwinds, one of the most highly respected addiction treatment centers in the nation, today.