Genes associated with addiction: alcoholism, opiate, and cocaine addiction

Neuromolecular Med. 2004;5(1):85-108. doi: 10.1385/NMM:5:1:085.


Drug addiction is a complex disorder that has a large spectrum of causes. Vulnerability to addiction has been shown in twin studies to have a robust genetic component. This genetic basis for addiction has general and specific components for each drug abused. Although many genes have been implicated in drug addiction, only a handful have either been replicated to have an association or to have an identified functional mechanism related to specific effects of abused drugs. A few selected genetic variants that currently look promising for the study of alcohol, opiate, and cocaine addiction are discussed in this article.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholism / genetics
  • Alcoholism / metabolism
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Brain Chemistry / drug effects*
  • Brain Chemistry / genetics
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / genetics
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / genetics
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / physiopathology
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics
  • Substance-Related Disorders / genetics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / metabolism
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology