It's been decades since scientists recognized that addiction is a disease, not just a lack of willpower, but only now are potential treatments coming online that address what Newsweek calls "a chronic, relapsing brain disorder to be managed with all the tools at medicine's disposal." The magazine surveys recent breakthroughs, from pills that prevent intoxication to vaccines that turn antibodies against addictive agents.
Some compounds have the ability to intervene in the cortex just as the impulse to drink translates into action, suggesting, as Newsweek puts it, that "willpower-in-a-pill may be just over the horizon." Such drugs may raise ethical and legal issues. "Lawyers certainly want to argue with us on the ethics of it," said a doctor who developed a vaccine for cocaine, "but parent groups and pediatricians have been receptive to the idea."