Cocaine addicts and alcoholics could soon be treated with a simple jab, scientists claim

A protein injected into the blood redu­ces the drug’s effect, preventing dependence and overdoses.

It may also help smokers quit fags and boozers give up alcohol, according to new research.

The therapy, based on a gene-editing technique that “snips” DNA, worked in tests on mice.

The Chicago University team is hopeful it will also work on people.

Around 725,000 people a year aged 16 to 59 use cocaine in the UK — making it the second most commonly used illegal drug among adults after cannabis.

For cocaine addicts it could combat drug-seeking and overdose – potentially making them "immune" to further abuse.

This skin cell-based approach can potentially be used to treat alcohol, nicotine and heroin abuse, said the researchers.

They said creative thinking about cocaine addiction and overdose is needed.

Prof Ming Xu said: “Our results show promise of safe skin gene therapy for cocaine abuse in the future.”

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