Drug Policy

Injecting Tyranny

Anti-drug "vaccines"

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Drug warriors may soon take their fight to our bloodstreams. Companies in the U.S. and the U.K. are developing "vaccines" to discourage drug use by preventing people from enjoying it.

These "vaccines" 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. Two such molecule binders, aimed at smokers trying to quit, are in clinical trials. The U.K.-based Xenova Group, which makes one of the nicotine neutralizers, says its product may also work with cocaine; it wants to develop similar "vaccines" for heroin and Ecstasy. In the U.S., the National Institute on Drug Abuse is enthusiastically supporting research in this area.

"The American government's hope," says a June report from the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE), "is that demand for illegal drugs can be reduced, in part, by chemically eliminating the very desire to use an illegal drug." The CCLE worries that, given the government's tendency to view drug users as disease carriers, anti-drug agents will be forced on prisoners, probationers, and recipients of taxpayer-financed benefits, including public school students.

Sure enough, a month after the CCLE report (available at cognitiveliberty.org) came out, the Independent reported that the British government was considering "a radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction." The story implied that such treatment could be 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 paper "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."

That is what the CCLE tries to do in its report, which argues that forcing people to take anti-drug agents would violate the principle of informed consent, impose cruel or unusual punishment, and infringe upon freedom of thought. The U.S. Supreme Court once declared that "the most tyrannical government is powerless to control the inward workings of the mind." That is no longer true, the CCLE concludes: "Pharmacotherapy drugs now give the government that power."

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