Opioid crisis: Pharmaceutical company looks to stop heroin addiction before it starts

Opiant Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr. Roger Crystal on Thursday said his company is in the process of developing a vaccine to combat heroin addiction.

“The way the vaccine works is that it would destroy any Heroin that’s injected into the body really before it gets the chance to act in the brain’s reward center and the breathing center, which is why people encounter overdoses,” he told FOX Business’ Liz Claman on “Countdown to the Closing Bell.”

According to the Center for Disease Control, "91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2015, more than 15,000 people died from overdoses involving prescription opioids."

Crystal also said the company has another product in development that would help keep addicts off of drugs.

“We are doing a feasibility assessment on it now; it’s an opioid antagonist implant that would last six months. And this is really important for patients, as Donald Trump just mentioned, if you can keep patients on treatment for longer they have a much greater likelihood of success,” he said.

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency at a White House event on Thursday.

“It is time to liberate our communities from this scourge of drug addiction. Never been this way. We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic,” Trump said.

The White House plans to fund the effort through the Public Health Emergency Fund. On Wednesday, Senate Democrats introduced a bill seeking $45 billion in an effort to fight the opioid problem.

“What we need to fight this scourge is continued and reliable long-term investments in prevention, treatment, recovery and monitoring,” said Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).

Crystal commented on Trump’s declaration, saying that “We are very pleased with this initial step to formally declare this a public health emergency. This is very encouraging it puts the whole nation’s mindset in the right direction.”