The Genetics of Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

  • Danielle M. Dick
  • Carol Prescott
  • Matt McGue

The abuse of licit and illicit drugs constitutes one of the leading public health problems in the world. There are tens of millions of alcohol or drug abusers and more than a billion smokers in the world (WHO, 2002). Each year, substance abuse results in the loss of tens of millions of dollars due to health-care costs and lost productivity (Cartwright, 2008; Rehm, Taylor, & Room, 2006). Substance abuse also shortens lives, increases risk for chronic disabling illness, and results in untold social costs in terms of broken families, ruined careers, and violent victimization (Goldman, Oroszi, & Ducci, 2005). While effective treatments for addiction exist, the amelioration of the societal burden of substance abuse will require more effective prevention. Behavioral genetic research in this area is part of a larger effort aimed at improving prevention and intervention efforts by bringing about a better understanding of the origins of substance use disorders (O’Brien, 2008).


Alcohol Dependence Twin Study Conduct Disorder Transmission Disequilibrium Test Linkage Peak 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle M. Dick
    • 1
  • Carol Prescott
    • 2
  • Matt McGue
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral GeneticsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  4. 4.Department of EpidemiologySouthern Denmark UniversityDenmark

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