News Release

A genetic risk factor for substance abuse

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Molecular Psychiatry

Genetic association studies investigating the role of the +118A allele of the human-opioid receptor gene in risk for alcohol dependency have produced inconsistent findings, possibly because of the failure to recognize sampling methodology difficulties inherent in association studies of polygenic disorders. The authors examined the frequency of the AA genotype and A allele in several groups of substance-dependent cases, unrestricted controls, and super controls screened for the use of alcohol and cigarettes. Their findings and analyses suggest that the OPRM1 +118 polymorphism is a general risk gene for substance dependence, but is not specific to a particular substance. The nature of the conferred risk is likely to be in use of multiple substances, but it is not yet determined if the risk could be expressed in severity of use of any particular substance. The contribution of the gene to risk for substance dependence is small, and is detected most easily in studies that use control samples that are screened for all forms of substance dependence.


Citation source: Molecular Psychiatry 2002, Volume 7, number 2, pages 224-228.

For further information on this work, please contact Dr. Schinka, VA Medical Center/116B, 13000 Downs Blvd, Tampa, FL 33612, USA. E-mail:

Molecular Psychiatry is published by the Nature Publishing Group.

Editor: Julio Licinio, M.D.; phone: +1 310 825-7113; FAX: +1 310 206-6715; e-mail:

For a copy of this article, please contact Karl Lorenzen, editorial assistant, e-mail:

PLEASE CITE MOLECULAR PSYCHIATRY AS THE SOURCE OF THIS MATERIAL. ARTICLE: "A functional polymorphism within the m-opioid receptor gene and risk for abuse of alcohol and other substances"

AUTHORS: JA Schinka, T Town, L Abdullah, FC Crawford, PI Ordorica, E Francis, P Hughes, AB Graves, JA Mortimer and M Mullan

The Roskamp Institute; Department of Psychiatry, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA; VeteranÕs Administration Medical Center, Tampa, FL 33612, USA; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Institute on Aging, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA.

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