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Fentanyl vaccine could be a “game changer”

Called the “deadliest drug in the nation” by the DEA, the powerful synthetic opioid known as fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, and 100 times stronger than morphine. 

While it’s well known that fentanyl’s impact on the larger population has reached epidemic proportions, with an ever-growing number of overdose deaths – as President Biden emphasized recently in his State of the Union address – fentanyl’s peculiar potency also makes it the most commonly diverted opioid, according to the Joint Commission. 

Between 2016 and 2018, two nurses died from fentanyl overdoses in a hospital bathroom at UT Southwestern’s Clements hospital. Last year, a Cedar Rapids nurse was sentenced to five years and lost her license for diverting fentanyl and replacing it with saline. 

There may be some promising news on the horizon, however, in the fight against fentanyl addiction. According to a recent report, researchers at the University of Houston are developing a new vaccine to target the opioid’s potentially deadly effects. 

How the Vaccine Works

The vaccine effectively blocks fentanyl from entering the brain, providing protection against its “high” and toxic effects – a different approach from that used to target a virus or bacteria. 

Instead, it targets a chemical – which is fentanyl. Read more >

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