12 July 2006

Drug abuse in the genes?

Your genes could be key to how easily you could take up illicit drugs, a new study finds.

Your genes could be key to how easily you could take up illicit drugs, a new study finds.

The study looked at 1 400 pairs of young adult twins in Norway, which has a much lower rate of drug use than many other countries.

"Prior twin studies of illicit drug use and abuse have all been conducted in Anglophonic countries, specifically the United States and Australia, with high levels of such use," study lead author Dr Kenneth S. Kendler, professor of psychiatry and human genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in Richmond, said in a prepared statement.

"This is the first study of a non-English speaking country with much lower rates of drug use - yet results are similar - drug use and abuse or dependence is quite heritable," Kendler said.

The Norwegian twins were interviewed and assessed for their lifetime use of illicit drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates, psychedelics, and stimulants. For this study, significant lifetime use of illicit drugs was defined as 10 or more instances of use.

Genetics can be key
The researchers examined both genetic and environmental factors that might influence illicit drug use and concluded that genetics can play an important role.

The study was published in the July issue of the journal Psychological Medicine.

"In addition to prior findings, the results of this investigation indicate that genetic factors are likely to be important risk factors for psychoactive drug use and misuse in many parts of the world," Kendler said.

He noted that the findings of this new study contradict previous theories suggesting that genetic factors may have less of an impact in societies where illicit drugs are not widely available. – (HealthDayNews)

Read more:
Substance abuse Centre

July 2006


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.