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Adopted Children At Risk Of Developing Drug Addiction

Adoptive Children May By More At Risk For Drug Addiction

A new study of more than 18,000 adopted children in Sweden found that adopted children are twice as likely to abuse drugs if their biological parents abused drugs as well.

“For an adoptee, having a biological parent with drug abuse who did not raise you doubles your risk for drug abuse,” said Dr. Kenneth Kendler, director of the Virginia Commonwealth University -Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. “But we also found an important role for environmental factors.”

The study was conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University and Lund University in Sweden. It showed that 4.5 percent of adoptees had problems with drug abuse versus 2.9 percent of the general population. Out of the adopted, 8.6 percent had at least one biological parent with a drug problem, while only 4.2 percent did not have any family history of substance abuse. The risk of abuse also doubled if the adoptee had a biological sibling or half-sibling with substance abuse problems. The rate was the same if they had adopted siblings with a history of drug abuse.

The researchers said that the most important factor was whether or not the adopted child was raised in a good and stable environment.

“A bad environment can augment the effect of genetic risk on drug abuse,” said Kendler.

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