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For Immediate Release: JULY 26, 2004


Children may be “vaccinated” against the effects of cocaine and other drugs in a plan recently revealed by the UK government, reports the well-regarded British newspaper, The Independent. The article explains that "Doctors would immunize children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection" and that the program would operate in a way similar to the "current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme." Further the authors reveal that "such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years."

Earlier this month, the US-based Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics published a relevant and timely report, which addresses the imminent emergence of these same "pharmacotherapy" drugs into the US market. Among other well-documented information, the report notes that the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has allocated $12 million dollars to Xenova, the UK-based pharmaceutical company running trials on the "anti-cocaine" vaccine mentioned in the article.

The plan currently being researched and debated in the UK is therefore of concern to those monitoring trends in US drug policy. The CCLE's policy report, "Pharmacotherapy and the Future of the Drug War" is the first publication to address the ethical and legal dimensions of this new breed of pharmaceuticals. The report acknowledges potential benefits if these drugs are used voluntarily, but warns that coercive or compulsory use of such drugs to "immunize" drug abusers or "at risk" potential users would violate a number of legal rights and trample the fundamental human right to freedom of thought.

Richard Glen Boire, a legal scholar at the CCLE, believes that vaccinating children with "anti-drug" drugs would be "alarming and unlawful, and would signal the first time that neuropharmaceuticals were overtly used to enforce government policy."

Aside from the human rights concerns, the UK plan raises serious health questions regarding the long-term effects of these drugs on the complex neurochemistry of the brain.

The CCLE pharmacotherapy report directly addresses the potential legal and health consequences of US implementation of a compulsory "anti-drug" vaccination program, which now seems closer to reality than ever before in light of the UK government's recent announcement.

Ü Pharmacotherapy and the Future of the Drug War is available here. Hard copies of the report are available for $30.00; a PDF may be accessed free of charge.

For more information, please contact:
Stephanie Anderson, Communications & Publications Coordinator
Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics
Phone & Fax: 530.750.7912


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