Could a vape pen help those struggling with cocaine addiction?

(NewsNation Now) — A few years ago, tobacco companies sold the world to e-cigarettes’ ability to help people quit smoking. Now doctors are developing a cocaine e-cigarette to help people do the same with stimulant addiction.

dr Fabian Steinmetz, one of the scientists who invented the device, said alternative solutions were needed because “the war on drugs hasn’t worked.”

“It’s pretty easy to regulate cannabis. But it’s harder to deal with drugs like crack or heroin,” Steinmetz said in On Balance with Leland Vittert.

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For the research, he studied how several European countries deal with drugs and the laws surrounding them. He noted that some cities even give heroin to those already struggling with addiction.

“We actually thought about how we could do something similar for crack cocaine — which has a very short duration, and then we came up with this type of e-cigarette,” he said.

Steinmetz believes part of the problem with US drug laws stems from Prohibition, often leading people to try more dangerous drugs.

“When [people] don’t get their pills, they go to the black market … and then they poison themselves with illegal formulations of fentanyl,” he said.

Some US cities have turned to safe places for people to use narcotics to prevent overdoses.

The first officially authorized safe havens for people who use heroin and other narcotics were cleared to open in New York City.

An estimated 100,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously reported that there were approximately 93,000 overdose deaths in 2020.

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