NIDA for Teens: The Science Behind Drug Abuse
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Drugs & Health Blog

Real Teens Ask: Is Addiction Hereditary?

Sara Bellum

Does someone in your family abuse drugs? Learn more about how DNA can influence a person’s chances of becoming addicted to drugs in this updated post from 2011.

Every year, NIDA’s top scientists answer questions from teens at schools across the country during Drug Facts Chat Day. In 2010, “I AM MIKE” from Jefferson Township High School in Trenton, New Jersey asked:

Are you more likely to do drugs if someone in your family does?

The short answer is Yes.

The risk for developing drug and alcohol problems is higher in children whose parents abuse alcohol or drugs—but it is NOT a guarantee that those children will either use drugs or become addicted. In fact, most children of parents who abuse alcohol or drugs do not develop alcoholism or addiction themselves.

But, research shows that children with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to try these substances and develop alcoholism or drug addiction.

Why? Because children whose parents abuse alcohol and drugs:

  1. Are more likely to have behavioral problems, which increase the risk for trying alcohol or drugs.
  2. Have more opportunities to try these substances.

Children may inherit a genetic predisposition (or greater likelihood) for addiction—having an “addictive personality,” so to speak. But, again most children of parents who abuse alcohol or drugs do not develop alcoholism or addiction themselves.

This means that even if you inherited a risk for addiction, it does not mean that it is your destiny to become addicted to drugs. To avoid that risk entirely, it’s best not to start using, and if you’ve already tried drugs or alcohol, the sooner you stop or get help, the better.

Help Is Out There

When someone has a drug problem, it's not always easy to know what to do. If someone you know is using drugs, encourage him or her to talk to a parent, school guidance counselor, or other trusted adult. Confidential resources are out there, like the Treatment Referral Helpline (1-800-662-HELP) offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which refers callers to particular treatment facilities, support groups, and other local organizations. You can also locate substance abuse treatment centers in your state.

Learn more about genes and addiction.

Comments

Hi my name is Avron Appollis I'm from South Africa. I'm 33 years old and have 2 children and a wife . I'm currently working in the community with the youth. Let me tell you my my story. I was in addiction and other activities for 12 years of my life .At that time felt good to be on the streets .Doing all the wrond things in life. I tried various times to come clean but relapsed every time. Then I gave Christ a chance in my life that's when everything changed . I started to volunteer at ngo's ( Sanca) then Koinonia where they trained me as a Kemoja facilitator . Kemoja is a Sotho word that means I'm fine without drugs. We did that program in the surrounding schools in Wellington. Kemoja is a life skill programme that consists out of  8 modules such as goalsettins,drugs etc. Then I enrolled for a Social Auxiliary Worker certificate . Obtained that and now I'm working at youth care centres for Social Development in South Africa. Where I'm doing programme to empower our youth. I'm also in charge of the Spiritual side of the facilities. I believe you can do nothing without God . Glory! I've also started a support group at our church where we help addicts and alcoholics with help of God. Phil 4v13! Our main objectives is to gain souls for the kingdom by being a living testimony. I would like to take hands with you guys. And help our community's.Feel free to contact me . Ive got photos of my different stages how I came clean Kind Regards Avron
The Blessings of Christ to you, Avron. I enjoyed reading your comment. God is Good! I hope you continue doing the Good Work.
My mom was a meth addict and 10 years later i have not touch any type of drug

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