Mike, 22, a heroin addict who began using opiates when he was 13, pauses to shoot-up by a railway underpass in the Kensington section of Philadelphia, which has become a hub for heroin use. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Medicine

Opioid Vaccines Could Make the Brain Immune to Heroin

Heroin and fentanyl vaccines aim to use the body’s own immune system to block addictive chemicals from entering the brain.

Published On 08/21/2017
1:03 PM EDT
D D rug overdoses killed more than 50,000 Americans in 2015 and that number is expected to exceed 60,000 in 2016 when the official numbers are tallied. Of those deaths, more than half were blamed on opioids, a highly addictive family of drugs that includes illicit substances like heroin, legal prescription opioid pain relievers like oxycodone, and “designer” street drugs like fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more powerful than heroin.