Clinical trials in China using deep brain stimulation or DBS may hold the key to treating drug users, literally with the flip of a switch.

China is emerging as a hub for this research as Western attempts to push forward with human trials have foundered.

The surgery has long been used to treat a number of illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease. Critics say using the electronic brain implants for drug addiction, while promising, is risky.

Dr. Li Dianyou uses a tablet computer to adjust the settings of a deep brain stimulation device implanted in the brain of a methamphetamine addict named Yan, left, on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Dr. Li Dianyou uses a tablet computer to adjust the settings of a deep brain stimulation device implanted in the brain of a methamphetamine addict named Yan, left, on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)

But suffering wrought by the opioid crisis is changing that view. A new human trial of deep brain stimulation for opioid addicts in West Virginia could start as early as June.

Bloodied white mesh covers the head of a methamphetamine addict named Yan on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, three days after he had a deep brain stimulation device implanted as part of a clinical trial at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Bloodied white mesh covers the head of a methamphetamine addict named Yan on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018, three days after he had a deep brain stimulation device implanted as part of a clinical trial at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A brain surgery patient walks down the main corridor of Ruijin Hospital's functional neurosurgery center in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A brain surgery patient walks down the main corridor of Ruijin Hospital’s functional neurosurgery center in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
People walk past an entrance to Ruijin Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Shanghai, China. Doctors at Ruijin have tried to turn the hospital into a center of deep brain stimulation research. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
People walk past an entrance to Ruijin Hospital on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018, in Shanghai, China. Doctors at Ruijin have tried to turn the hospital into a center of deep brain stimulation research. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Doctors discuss a plan on how to implant a deep brain stimulation device in the brain of a methamphetamine addict named Yan on Friday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Doctors discuss a plan on how to implant a deep brain stimulation device in the brain of a methamphetamine addict named Yan on Friday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A nurse walks through the functional neurosurgery center at Shanghai's Ruijin Hospital on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A nurse walks through the functional neurosurgery center at Shanghai’s Ruijin Hospital on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Patients’ blood sits in vials at Ruijin Hospital’s center for functional neurosurgery in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Patients’ blood sits in vials at Ruijin Hospital’s center for functional neurosurgery in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Orderlies roll a brain surgery patient out of the functional neurosurgery center at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
Orderlies roll a brain surgery patient out of the functional neurosurgery center at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A stereotactic device presses into the head of a brain surgery patient at Ruijin Hospital's functional neurosurgery center in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A stereotactic device presses into the head of a brain surgery patient at Ruijin Hospital’s functional neurosurgery center in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A man leaves the Center for Functional Neurosurgery at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)
A man leaves the Center for Functional Neurosurgery at Ruijin Hospital in Shanghai, China on Monday, Oct. (AP Photo/Erika Kinetz)

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