Scientists have identified a genetic pattern indicating broad addiction risk that could lead to more effective prevention and treatment strategies for multiple substance use disorders and eventually to developing individualized interventions. Until now, knowledge of the molecular genetic underpinnings of addiction has been limited and most research has focused on individual substances rather than addiction more broadly. Of the 107,000 people who died of overdoses in 2021, 37% involved simultaneous exposure to both opioids and stimulant drugs. The findings suggest that genetic variation in dopamine signaling regulation is central to addiction risk. The genomic pattern linked to general addiction risk was a more sensitive predictor of having two or more substance use disorders at once, and also predicted higher risk of mental and physical illness.

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