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Vexen Crabtree 2015

vexen

Vexen Crabtree's Live Journal

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


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Vexen Crabtree 2015
vexen

Heroin addiction gene identified and blocked

I am excited about this one...:

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7445&feedId=online-news_rss20

"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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Your concerns are valid; the side-affects of the cure will themselves be negative. But as far as cures go, for a serious problem it is less bad than the side affects of heroin itself.

If people want the cure; it is a magical cure that has been long-awaited but hardly anticipated

If people need the cure but aren't really in a fit mental state to think about their lives coherently, it is also invaluable

I personally would take it further and consider compulsory cures for all offenders, and compulsory addiction testing for many who are arrested; but I would also not expect society to accept my own level of enforced improvement.

It is not compulsory modification of genes; it is only the removal of an addiction. The person can still choose to take heroin; but they are no longer physically addicted to the drug. In that sense, it gives people MORE choice; previously choosing to come of the drug was hardly an option; all the willpower in the world could not prevent the physical and mental pain.

You can't "oppose" a cure than people choose to take, and more than you can "oppose" the creation of heroin in the first place. It's something people choose. To "oppose" the cure is hypocritical if you do it in the name of free will!

You could rightly oppose an enforced cure for anyone who is of sound mind; for those of unsound mind it's a big grey area where *we*, as the responsible, have to look after those who can no longer look after themselves.

I would sneak up to a delinquent, hopeless tramp and force the cure on them. It sounds like you wouldn't. Hopefully we can both see why we'd act in our respective ways; we both think we're being more moral. Do you understand my reasoning?

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