Genetic factors relating to drug essay


Drug and substance addiction have been associated with many factorsincluding environmental, social, familial and genetic factors.Although there are assumptions that genetic composition in a personhas an immense influence on whether one becomes an addict or not, itis essential to state that genes only contribute a half of thepossibility of a person becoming a drug addict (Levinthal, 2012). Thepresence or the absence of some genes in a person may lead to thedevelopment of addiction or extreme difficulty withdrawing fromaddiction. Research has already identified that the number of D2receptors in the brain can lead to drug addiction. It is stated thatfew D2 receptors will lead to addictive behavior, while many D2receptors will reduce the likelihood of addiction. It is critical tonote that the number of these receptors is determined genetically(Price, 2014).

There is no single gene or group of genes that scientists have beenable to associate or connect directly to drug addiction. However,studies have shown that there are some genes that affect the behaviorof a person such as addictive behavior. Scientists have found outthat everyone has a genetic predisposition for addiction sinceaddiction has an evolutionary advantage (Levinthal, 2012). Forinstance, every person will be addicted to tasty food and he willlook for the same food at a later date. The coping skills thatsomeone has are the factors that determine whether a person will beaddicted due to his or her genetic composition or not. Therefore, itis evident that environmental factors and genes play part indetermining the susceptibility of a person being an addict.

Genetic predisposition has been associated with drug addiction fromvarious scientific studies. There have been researches that have beenconducted which have shown that children who have first degreerelatives such as parents, brothers or sisters who are drug addictshave an 8 times higher possibility of becoming addicts. Besideshaving a social relationship with fist degree relatives, the onlyother explanation as to why such children end up being addicted todrugs is the biological connection (Price, 2014). Additionally, therewas a study that was conducted between identical and non-identicaltwins in a bid to determine the genetic influence on drug addiction.In the case of identical twins, it was found out that if one of thetwins was addicted to drugs, there was an extremely high possibilityof the other twin being addicted to drugs. However, in the case ofnon-identical twins, the possibility of one twin being addictedbecause the other one is addicted was extremely low. This furtherenhanced the results of the previous research that showed theinfluence of genes in drug addiction. It is, however, essential tonote that not all children who are born of alcoholics and or drugaddicts who will end up being addicts (Levinthal, 2012). Theenvironment in which a child grows, access to drugs and the type offriends he or she has will all affect the possibility of becoming anaddict or an alcoholic. Alcoholism, unlike the use of other drugssuch as cocaine, is never caused by genes. Alcoholism is mainly as aresult of stress, environmental vulnerability and peer pressure.

In conclusion, it can be argued that the research on genetic factorsin relation to addiction is ongoing. However, there have been a fewconcluded researches that have indicated that genes affect addiction.It is vital to note that genetic composition alone cannot determineaddiction, but other factors such as the environment and socialfactors influence addiction as well.


Levinthal, C. F. (2012).&nbspDrugs, society, and criminaljustice. Boston: Prentice Hall.

Price, E. D. A. (2014).&nbspGenetic factors in drug therapy:Clinical and molecular pharmacogenetics. Cambridge[England: Cambridge University Press.