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Vexen Crabtree 2015


Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

Sociology, Theology, Anti-Religion and Exploration: Forcing Humanity Forwards

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Vexen Crabtree 2015

Heroin addiction gene identified and blocked

I am excited about this one...:


"Scientists have not only identified a critical gene involved in heroin addiction relapse, but they have also successfully blocked it, eliminating cravings for the drug. [...]

“Many people try to stop taking heroin, but in a few months almost all of them go back to using the drug,” said Ivan Diamond, at the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center in California, US, and one of the research team. [...]

Previous research has indicated that a section of the midbrain called the nucleus accumbens plays a central role in the “mental reward circuitry” of animals, such as rats and humans. This circuitry generates feelings of pleasure in response to drugs, as well as in response to other things, including food, sex and, in humans, work accomplishments.

Drugs like heroin, however, seem to over-stimulate the normal reward process to the point where users value their next fix more highly than food, water and other essentials. In 2004, a study revealed that cocaine causes a gene in the nucleus accumbens, called AGS3, to rapidly encode masses of proteins that are involved in the cravings and pleasure associated with the drug. [...]

An AGS3 blocker was then created from a herpes virus. This [...] blocks the cravings-pleasure cycle until the virus “washes out” of the body a few weeks later. [...]

Diamond told New Scientist that a related treatment could become available to humans within the next couple of years."

The amount of problems heroin addiction causes in the West is massive; people in my job sometimes get involved in gunfights with land drug traffickers and cultivators. The violence and crime, fuelled by money and profit, would be dealt a severe blow if heroin addiction became easily curable. Cure would rapidly become part of the routine for the detention of such drug addicts and prisoners, etc. People might actually self-administer the cure and a healthy cycle of escape could become socially acceptable amongst users! Hopefully the trade in cure will make some money and become an export to heroin-producing countries!

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Prohibition of heroin and cocaine causes problems; but it is prohibited because of the nature of the drugs themselves. Children who learn to smoke do not understand the long term consequences - to themselves, to those who love them, to society as a whole through NHS costs and passive smoking, etc, and heroin is much worse than that, more addictive and with severe withdrawl costs. It is insiduous, it destroys families, it renders it's users largely dysfunctional... THAT is why it is outlawed: Because very few people understand what is happening to them until it's way too late. It's not only a personal choice that affects the individual: It's a choice that affects everyone.

Some things SHOULD be outlawed; you can have all the free will you want but once your personal self-destruction becomes a mass social problem, it's no longer just *your* lifestyle in question, it's everyones.

Do you deny that there is a large problem in inner cities with drug addiction to heroin caused by THE DRUG, and not by prohibition? (Which most users obviously find a way around?).

Do you agree that many heroin addicts would WANT this cure, especially ONCE they've been cured? Once withdrawl phase has passed, the cure is only needed during retrogression; ex-users could easily self-administer it THROUGH CHOICE. Do you agree this is a valuable, immensely good solution?

There are genuinely bad people in the world, and many of those people are made much worse through heroin addiction. With these people, don't you agree with making their lives better through a cure for their addiction? Even if it's not what they think is good for them; they really deeply DO NOT KNOW what's good for them. That's the problem! It really is true that sometimes people do not know what is best for themselves, our knowledge can help them. It might not sit well with an anarchic idea of absolute free will; but a normal society never does.

To compare to 1984 is extremist.

Heroin degrades a persons' wish for such things as you mention; food, water, sex... this cure degrades them, too, but seemingly much less and is much more controllable. The receptors in question are very specific; neurotransmitters are mostly very specific.

And finally...

Science isn't a religion, it's a method. It does replace some need for religion, and sometimes it serves similiar psychological ends as religion does (like any interest, hobby or activity), but it itself is not a religion.

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