How do you curtail the opioid crisis? Many in the pharma industry, health care, laboratories near and far, and other disciplines have been hard at work trying to come up with an effective and safe solution. A recent item from NBC Channel 5 in Dallas-Fort Worth highlights similar activity in the local space. It focuses on a possible opioid alternative that’s on the horizon and emanates here, as in right here.
According to this news story, the key to halting the course of this epidemic is “hidden in the open fields in North Texas.” That reference is to an indigenous plant. Researchers in Denton recently discovered that it holds promise to stop this deadly trend. Why? A chemical contained in its sap rivals the properties of powerful pills that are available on the market and prescribed for pain. However, there’s more or, better yet, there’s less. That is, it offers the same pain relief profile without the downside of causing ill wanted side effects.
What is this Miracle in the Making?
This alternative to an opioid hails, as noted, from the southwest. The name of this plant in scientific circles is Euphorbia bicolor. People commonly know it as “Snow on the Prairie” for its white leaves tinged with green. It grows in Texas and Oklahoma, as well as in sections of Arkansas and Louisiana.
A group in the Department of Biology at Texas Woman’s University is collaborating on this possible breakthrough. Dr. Maier, a botanist, advises that Native Americans had used the substance in the leaves of this plant to relieve pain. Dr. Averitt, a neuroscientist, investigated a similar plant; the result of that work now is in trials as a pain medication for terminal cancer patients. This success led her to extend the scope of her inquiry to Snow on the Prairie. “It’s likely that this has similar phytochemicals but also maybe novel ones,” she said. The team, according to a news flash from WFFA Channel 8 is referred to as the “plant whisperers.”
Status of the Next Big Thing
At this point, these scientists have been experimenting with this substance in the lab. They have applied the chemical from this plant on tissue samples from animals. This pioneering work has shown that this process stopped pain signals directly at the source of an injury. Make that stopped them “immediately.” That differs from opioids, which interact with the brain and change its chemistry. What’s more, these pre-clinical trials bear out another encouraging factor. That is, a single injection of this chemical can keep pain at bay for not just hours, but weeks at a time.
There are other exciting aspects of this work. This chemical in the plant sap is non-addictive. What’s more, these plants are readily available; “plentiful” is the word used to describe the population.
It’s important not to let enthusiasm get ahead of the pace of the activities and many to do’s along the way. The members of the team note that they are “miles from completion.” They must do tests galore to ensure that this substance is safe for human cells. However, at this point, this discovery is heartening. As the neuroscientist reports, “Its anti-pain effects are astonishing.”
For Those Struggling with Opioid Addiction
Although promising work is taking place in the area on alternatives, what can those who are dependent on opioids do? For them, Greenhouse Treatment Center is a premier treatment facility here in Dallas-Ft. Worth. This drug and alcohol rehab treats the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. From detox to residential treatment services, the facility provides clients with a wide range of therapies and activities aligned to their needs.
Located in a former luxury spa, the venue offers clients a high end and tranquil setting. Clients also have the peace of mind that comes with being at an accredited provider in the American Addiction Centers network. As such, they receive a guarantee. Successfully complete the 90-day treatment program and stay clean and sober. If not, return for an additional 30 days free of charge.
Visit the admissions tab to learn what to expect and get started. As Greenhouse Treatment Center says, “Your New Life Awaits.”
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