MINEOLA - Researchers may be on the verge of a possible breakthrough in the battle against cocaine addiction.
Cocaine, known as the champagne of drugs, rose in popularity in the 1980s. Today, researchers say 2 million people in the U.S. still struggle with cocaine addiction, which results in more than 500,000 visits a year to emergency rooms.
While there are drugs like methadone intended to treat heroin addicts, there has never been anything made specifically targeting cocaine addiction, until possibly now.
Dr. Ronald Crystal, of New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says his team has developed a new vaccine that is ready for testing in humans.
According to researchers, while most drugs that target addiction are supposed to disrupt a process in the brain, the new vaccine is meant to absorb cocaine in the bloodstream before it reaches the brain.
Experts say the vaccine only deals with the biological part of addiction, but there are two other components that must also be dealt with.
Dr. Jeff Reynolds is the head of a Mineola nonprofit which offers an addiction treatment program. He says these new pharmaceuticals need to be looked at not as a cure-all, but rather tools that keep people out of jail and avoid overdoses.