The Next Fix

|

The Independent reports the British government is considering "a radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction." A Labour Party M.P. told the paper "there is no reason to think this would not be a starter or beneficial."

Several companies, including the U.K.-based Xenova and the U.S.-based Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, are working on "vaccines" that stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that bind with drug molecules, making them too large to pass the blood-brain barrier and thereby neutralizing their psychoactive effects. Nabi's nicotine binder, NicVAX, is in Phase II clinical trials and probably will be marketed initially to smokers trying to quit.

But the appeal to parents won't be far behind, and drug warriors are excited about molecule binders for illegal substances. Such "vaccines" could be forced upon drug offenders or, as the Independent suggests, administered to children. While many anxious parents probably could be persuaded to "protect" their kids, the story insinuates that the U.K. could make anti-drug "vaccination" mandatory, saying "the scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination program."

The chairman of the House of Commons Health Committee told the Independent "this could have a huge impact on society in terms of preventing damage to others and dealing with addicts." He added that "the ethical perspective does need to be looked at closely"–which would be an unprecedented development in the war on drugs.

Having failed to keep politically incorrect substances out of our bodies, the drug warriors are taking the battle to our bloodstreams. The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics explored some of the implications in a report published last month.

Advertisement

NEXT: Memo: How To Fix Kerry's NASA Pic Problem

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. On the plus side, given the current liability climate where on can be successfully sued based on the unproven hypothesis of a rouge scientist, no private concern will touch the manufacturing of the vaccine with a ten foot pole. Hell, we have trouble getting people to make small pox vaccine. Who’s going to bet their pension fund on a completely unproven anti-drug vaccine?

  2. Truly scarry…

    Yesterday I just got through expressing my thoughts to a friend by saying “My employer does not have any say in what I place in my body, much less OUR government.”

    If this “anti-drug drug” even comes close to becomeing a reality in the U.S. you can bet your ass it is time to “run for the hills…”

  3. And how soon until we start seeing synthetically “tweaked” drugs that avoid antibody/immunity detection?

  4. “While many anxious parents probably could be persuaded to “protect” their kids, the story insinuates that the U.K. could make anti-drug “vaccination” mandatory, saying “the scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination program.”

    And Hanna help anyone who refuses to be inoculated…

  5. “this could have a huge impact on society in terms of preventing damage to others”

    How do addicts damage others??? What, through peer pressure?? By accepting help from statist institutions?? Time to revisit those damn communitarian ideas of harming others!!!

  6. I think there’s been about 10 original posts out of 20. What is it with the multiple-posting? I’m not blaming the posters necessarily, some of them are regulars who know better. What on earth is wrong with the forum software today?

  7. I really just can’t believe the hubris of those who would force this on other people. And you KNOW it would get to the point of being a ‘mandatory’ vaccine for schools, by the same mechanism as things like Chickenpox vaccines (It’s uncomfortable, and some people might get really sick, and kids miss some school, although it’s usually not deadly). I just can’t put chickenpox in the same category as measles, polio, or diphtheria. And ‘drug use’ is nowhere close to the category that chickenpox is in. This really is an atrocious idea.

  8. But wouldn’t it *have* to damage natural emotional reactions at least to some small degree? Don’t all drugs just act on natural receptors for neurotransmitters and the like in the brain? You know the kind that make you a few times in a lifetime experience real and genuine ecstasy (say falling in love) or whatnot.

  9. And of course now the multiple posts go away so I look like an idiot complaining about non-existent multiple posts.

    As opposed to the normal situation, where I look like an idiot for completely different reasons… 🙂

  10. The British public have been pretty hostile towards GM-foods and the MMR-vaccine as a result of highly-publicized speculation of possible danger. Hopefully the spectre of a generation of emotional-flatliners will kill this idea.

    For the moment I’m thinking the big problem is not what socially-acceptable drugs of today suddenly won’t work on the vaccinated, but what drugs developed in 2025-30 won’t work on the vaccinated.

  11. Potentially, the worst aspect of this is the unintended consequences that might appear after a decade or two.

    As someone else pointed out, Ritalin and Prozac work on the same thesis as ?illegal? narcotics. They just coax a reaction out of our ?happiness? portions of the brain.

    What happens to a society in which the bulk of its population can and does feel pain, but can?t feel joy or happiness? A generation of manically depressed, suicidal people may in fact lead to the extinction of Homo sapiens. Do these individuals think of potential consequences when they dream these ideas up?

    It seems like some religious extremists would be overjoyed at the prospect of removing the ?pleasure? vice from humanity. However, do even they realize that doing so would also eliminate the happiness they feel from worshiping their non-existent deity? I would hope so. For the sake of us all.

  12. My friend the geneticist was telling me about the nicotine one and said he would buy stock in whatever company made it. Isn’t the reason why many drugs cause euphoria is that they are analogues to nuerotransmitters? What happens when the nuerotransmitters get blocked as well? There are about a million unintended consequences waiting to happen with this technology. It makes nanotech and genetic engineer look downright risk-free in comparison.

    Oh and at the end of the day it won’t work a whit.

  13. You can be sure that when Congress passes a law mandating the mandatory “vaccination” of all children, they will also exempt the manufacturers of these “vaccines” from all civil liability in the very same bill, so as to prevent people from suing over the horrible unintended consequences (like never being able to feel any pleasure). I’ll be moving to the Netherlands the day such a bill is proposed here in the states. And it will probably be Orrin Hatch who proposes it.

  14. Yeah, and he’ll want a 300-year patent for it, too.

  15. Here’s a thought:

    It is commonly (but not necessarily universally) believed that homosexuality has a strong biological component. Now, before the forum’s anti-gay contingent starts insisting that it’s a choice, let’s just say for the sake of argument that homosexuality arises from a biological cause. Maybe something genetic. Or maybe an abnormality during fetal development. Or whatever you want it to be.

    Perhaps a “vaccine” against homosexuality could be devised. Something that turns off whatever chemistry in the brain is responsible for attraction to members of the same sex.

    Or, even better, maybe something could be found that kills all sexual urges!

    Rick Santorum is probably jacking off over the thought of this even as we speak!

  16. Not a single “Clockwork Orange” reference ? C’mon folks !

  17. I think that the fears of a mandatory, general anti-pleasure vaccine are more than a bit overblown.

    1. Though a small contingent of prudes would love it, the vast, vast majority would oppose it (for themselves, at least).

    2. Whatever society did it would face an immediate drop in fertility, grow old, die, and be replaced by hornier immigrants. Let’s be honest, the civic “virtue” that made possible pleasure-free procreation in 1984 does not, and in the near future, will not exist, at least not in the US.

  18. “Not a single “Clockwork Orange” reference ? C’mon folks !”

    Sorry, my droogie, I was drinking my milk plus and setting my peepers on heavenly Bog.

    Anyone of you up for some of the old ultra-violence? It’s quite horror show.

  19. Crimethink-
    I agree with you in that it’s highly unlikely a sex-eradication drug would ever be forced upon the populace at large, but if Congress ever forced kids to get the anti-drug vaccination then I could easily imagine them forcing the anti-sex drug on those deemed ‘suitable’ for it–they’d start with the rapists and those with AIDS, then give it to those who have been deemed unfit parents, and so forth until the pool expanded to cover pretty much anybody who was disliked by those in power.

  20. “I think that the fears of a mandatory, general anti-pleasure vaccine are more than a bit overblown.”

    Granted, but I always like to take a philosophy to it’s logical conclusion.

    Taking the discussion back the original topic, I would imagine that the costs of implementing and maintaining such a program would be monumental to say the least. Not only would you have to buy and administer the vaccines (I would imagine that this would not be cheap), you’d need a record keeping system to keep track of who’s on it and who not, on top of an enforcement body to make sure that people are taking their shots.

    As with any drug regulation issues, it would probably be cheaper overall to just legalize the dope and be done with it.

    We can make a case for the state requiring vaccinations for communicable diseases, and we make make an equally compelling case to allow people to refuse vaccination. (Though, I must admit, the thought of catching small pox from a neighbor who, for whatever reason, opposes vaccines does not appeal to me.) However, despite what the drug warriors claim, pot and coke are not contagions they are lifestyle choices. You don’t usually get a choice to be infected with some nasty disease. You do when you take a toke, snort a line, or stick that needle into your vein.

    I don’t think, for an instant, that we should be inoculated from our choices.

  21. Mark S.-
    The arguments you use to demonstrate why the anti-drug vaccine wouldn’t be administered–too expensive, require too much work and too many enforcers and whatnot–a hundred years ago someone could have just as easily used those same arguments to explain why America would never start anything as stupid as a “War on Drugs.” Please, don’t commit the logical fallacy of assuming our leaders act logically!

  22. Perhaps we should examine it from a free-market perspective. Assume it indeed is true that it would save the UK taxpayer 12 billion pounds/year in direct enforcement costs and medical treatment if one could inject some elixir that would suddenly eliminate addiction. And also assume Britannia’s Benevolently Benighted rulers will prefer the current misguided policies rather than change course.

    Why not take steal a few pages from Ronald Bailey’s “Reverse Homesteading” concept? Rather than committing political suicide (i.e. cutting the farming class off handouts, or in this case, forcibly “immunizing” children through coercive tactics), focus on positive, voluntary economic pressure.

    Through an incentive program, provide a one-time cash payout for hardcore addicts to take the vaccination regime. After all, it’s only a tiny minority of users that cause social ills, as with alcohol. Everyone else can handle it, be productive and not a drain on the public. This would avoid the problems of costs for administration and enforcement on a large scale if it were some mandatory public health measure. Also, you’d minimize the problem of liability, as it’s not being forced on children who aren’t able or old enough to provide informed consent.

    Say in our argument the number of hardcore, crime/disease contributing users in Britain number 120,000. If we took the 12 billion pounds and divided it amongst all these addicts, each would receive 100,000 pounds. That would provide a nest egg for them to lead more peaceful lives. Perhaps divide the divided by 2, so the state can retain 50,000 pounds to pay for transitional costs, i.e. outpatient care.

    One caveat would be for tobacco. Since it’s well known that smokers on the net contribute more to the state than they take out (i.e. tobacco taxes, shorter lifespan so they require less geriatric long-term care and pensions), we should be careful about applying this concept. In fact, for vaccination of nicotine, the government may very well calculate a net loss.

  23. Jesus, the shit you have to go through on this planet to keep people out of your brain. Unbelievable.

  24. At least they cured heart disease, cancer and AIDS before they went and pursued this bullshit…

  25. If you were vaccinated and then later in life had an actual medical need for those certain drugs, I guess you’re out of luck.

  26. Of course, this begs the question: if you can render currently available drugs impotent, what then will people use to get high? Also, would we want to be able to experience the affects of drugs? I mean, being able to use pain killers would be nice.

    BTW, Didn’t O’Brien in “1984” mention something about The Party’s scientists being on the verge of eliminating the orgasm? Hey, if we can stop being from experiencing pleasure from drugs through a “vaccine” are we too far away from eliminating sexual pleasure?

  27. This sounds like a classic set up for some horrible unintended consequences. If little Timmy and Tammy are “vaccinated” against drugs, will that mean their parents will be lax in discussing drugs with them? Will the parents sue the vaccine makers after Timmy and Tammy die from huffing gasoline or going on a bender with Daddy’s handle of cheap vodka?

    God help us if this screws up the kid’s susceptibility to anesthesia or Ritalin. (Which is just a type of speed.)

  28. I don’t know enough to know whether these vaccines would be specific to very particular substances (THC, cocaine, heroin, etc.) or whether they might act against a wide array of substances.

    I can’t help but think that people will find new substances not covered by these vaccines.

  29. Is it even possible to block one specific type of “euphoria” without seriously damaging the brain’s pleasure-receptors in general?

    If this vaccine works, perhaps our next step will be to cure obesity by removing the taste buds of at-risk children.

  30. If it wasn’t so scary it would be really funny–to prevent kids from wanting to alter their brain chemistries, we must alter their brain chemistries!

  31. “However, do even they realize that doing so would also eliminate the happiness they feel from worshiping their non-existent deity? I would hope so. For the sake of us all.”

    Excuse me, I DO EXIST. “I am who am?” Remember that? Don’t you read your fucking bible? It’s only the #1 book in print since books were made.. maybe you saw a copy sometime during your insect existence.

  32. I think while the hood’s up they should go ahead and add a pain resultant when one THINKS about pleasure. This would take care of masterbation and all non-reproductive sex along with drug use.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.