Potential fentanyl vax, test kits could combat opioid deaths

Potential fentanyl vax, test kits could combat opioid deaths

Researchers at the University of Houston are developing a new vaccine that may prevent fentanyl addiction – a primary contributor to tens of thousands of synthetic opioid-related deaths.

Certified physician Dr. Frita Fisher joined “Fox & Friends Weekend,” Sunday, to explain how the medical breakthrough is expected to be a game changer for Americans suffering from the nation’s growing epidemic.

“In the case of fentanyl, the antibodies will block it, keep it from crossing into the brain, and if the fentanyl cannot cross into the brain, that means the person cannot get high. And so, they’re no longer motivated to do the fentanyl,” Dr. Fisher explained.

“And more importantly, the fentanyl is not able to suppress the respiratory center. So now, that cannot stop some breathing and kill them. And that’s what’s causing over 110,000 overdose deaths a year in this country,” she added.

According to the CDC, there were a reported 73,102 synthetic opioid-related deaths in the U.S. spanning from January 2022 through August 2022. 

A 2.5 gram portion of rock cocaine is seen on a scale at the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), as the province of British Columbia decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, MDMA and opioids like heroin, fentanyl and morphine, in Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada January 31, 2023.
Fentanyl addiction has become the primary contributor to tens of thousands of opioid-related deaths.

“You’re right. Some are unintentional overdoses, but they’re still overdoses. For fentanyl, it literally takes 2 mg of it for it to be lethal. That’s 1/10 the weight of a single grain of rice. And, many people who don’t take fentanyl may take cocaine, or smoke marijuana casually, or take a Percocet, people are lacing those things with fentanyl,” Dr. Fisher explained in response. 

“So, it still will prevent overdose deaths, and it can help to prevent the addiction – if it works in humans. It’s only been used in rats and mice right now.”

Will Cain affirmed Dr. Fisher’s claim that a fentanyl vaccine would effectively prevent addicts from further abusing the drug, though questions remain whether it could protect an individual who unwittingly takes a drug like Adderall that may be laced with fentanyl. 

As a precautionary solution, Dr. Fisher suggested that everyone who partakes in drug use should take the fentanyl vaccine

“Depending on the success of the study in humans, perhaps anyone doing a drug should take the fentanyl vaccine. It’s premature to say,” Dr. Fisher urged.

Test strips can be used to test drugs to see if it mistakenly contains fentanyl. (FNC)

In terms of additional safety measures, Dr. Fisher concluded by discussing fentanyl test kits, which can be used to test drugs to see if it contains fentanyl. 

“Beyond this vaccine, we have things like testing kits where you can actually test an adderall, or test that pill, to see if it has fentanyl in it. That’s something a lot of people don’t know [about], fentanyl test strips,” Dr. Fisher said. 

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