A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by UK ministers. Under the plans, doctors would immunize children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection.
The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.
Childhood immunization would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.
The Department of Trade and Industry has set up a special project to investigate ways of using new scientific breakthroughs to combat drug and nicotine addiction.
A national anti-drug immunization scheme is one of the proposals being put forward by the Brain Science, Addiction and Drugs project, an expert committee of scientists appointed by the Government earlier this year.