Possible Genetic Link to Cocaine Addiction Found
> 3/16/2006 10:36:37 AM

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at the King's College in London have reported finding a genetic phenotype that would predispose a person to cocaine addiction. When two copies of the particular variant were present in a person, they were found to be 50% more likely to be cocaine dependent.

The group's results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Cocaine's interaction with the brain has been understood to effect reactions in the dopaminergic centers. These are controlled by a protein called DAT that effects removal of excess dopamine. Cocaine stops the production of DAT, which in turn leads to an overload of dopamine in the brain.

As the BBC reported:
Analysis showed that cocaine was likely to inhibit the DAT response more markedly in people who carried the key genetic variant.

This research may prove to be very helpful in treating those who have become addicted to heroin. The fact remains however, that there is no way to become addicted without trying cocaine for the first time. The majority of drug addiction funds should continue to be spent on prevention. This will circumvent the need for further research into treating those whose lives have been destroyed by this drug.

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