New Study Reveals Insights on Opioid Dependence Risk Factors

Woman alone

A recent study[i] by researchers from the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and the Yale School of Medicine explores the connection between genetic and psychosocial factors in predicting opioid use disorder. Joseph Deak, Ph.D., co-lead author, highlighted the progress in understanding genetic and environmental influences on opioid use disorder but emphasized the need to delve into their complex interplay.

The study analyzed data from 1,958 participants, focusing on genetic risk scores for opioid use disorder alongside environmental, psychological, and social factors.

Implications of Environmental Factors on Opioid Dependence Risk

Published in Psychological Medicine, the findings showed that environmental factors, such as income and education level, played a more significant role in opioid dependence risk than genetic risk scores alone. As a result, the research team feels mitigating the risk of opioid use disorder requires effective interventions that target environmental factors.

Interestingly, their data suggests that genetic factors in isolation explain a relatively small percentage of opioid dependence cases, leading one of the researchers to state that the use of gene testing alone is currently not clinically applicable as a determinant of risk.

Additionally, the study noted that individuals with higher education levels were less likely to have opioid dependence. In contrast, those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had a higher likelihood of opioid dependence compared to those without PTSD.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol and need help in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Ohio, Kentucky, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. And we come to you, regardless of where you live. Our unique in-home treatment model of care gives clients a significantly better chance of recovery than traditional inpatient rehab care. We are now offering Virtual Detox and Medication Assisted Treatment in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Please get in touch with one of our Recovery Specialists to learn more.


[i] https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/psychological-medicine/article/abs/genetic-and-nongenetic-predictors-of-risk-for-opioid-dependence/CBF82E807E295E7E4CD22CB8A209E971