Military Looks for Clues in Opioid Addiction

By Staff Writer

Some individuals are able to end their dependency on drugs or alcohol with simple determination and hard work. However, most addicts need help from addiction treatment centers end their destructive habits.

Many experts believe that the differences between individuals’ ability to end their addiction may be in their genes. In an effort to find out more about a potential genetic link to painkiller addiction, a branch of the military recently began a study to look for factors that contribute to dependency.

Researchers from the Air Force’s 59 Medical Wing, which is based out of the Southwest, are looking for a genetic link that predisposes individuals to opioid dependency. Investigators hope that the study will also yield information that could be useful in addiction treatment.

Vikhyat Bebarta, a research physician in the 59th Medical Wing, said that the goal of the study is to help pilots avoid addiction after they have been injured in the line of service. However, Bebarta added that the findings would also benefit civilians in the wider community who are struggling with this type of health problem.

Similar genetic factors have already been shown to play a role in susceptibility to alcoholism.