What if science made a pill to protect us from addiction — keeping us from smoking cigarettes, getting fat or abusing drugs and alcohol? According to encouraging results from several lines of study, it seems that day may be closer than we thought. Researchers in labs around the world are now developing vaccines (not a pill, but an injection) to inoculate people against dangerously addictive substances such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. Within "one to 10 years, and closer to one year," says Dr. Frank Vocci, director of treatment research and development at the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), scientists may produce a vaccine against cocaine — one of the more promising areas of research — that can potentially help millions of addicts, two million in the U.S. alone.
One such vaccine, known as TA-CD (for "therapy for addiction — cocaine addiction"), is being developed by husband-and-wife team Dr. Thomas Kosten, a psychiatry professor, and Therese Kosten, a neuroscientist and psychologist, at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. TA-CD has had success in early clinical trials: