Considered one of the most widely abused and addictive recreational drugs, researchers may be one step closer to knocking down the destructive pull of methamphetamine.
A team of scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has developed a vaccine that appears to protect against meth intoxication in laboratory animals.
The next step will be to see if it works in people, too.
“This is an early-stage study, but its results are comparable to those for other drug vaccines that have gone to clinical trials,” said Michael Taffe, a Scripps researcher with the institute’s Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders.
The study was released online last week in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Methamphetamine has become one of the most common and destructive recreational drugs in the country. In the United States, government data estimate that there are currently more than 430,000 users, with more than 41,000 new users this year. And in California, meth accounts for more primary drug abuse treatment admission – 26 percent – than any other drug, including marijuana (21 percent) and alcohol (12 percent). The state's Central Valley is considered to be the hub of nation’s meth distribution network.