Researchers from Brown University in Rhode Island have been looking into the links between variations in the OPRM1 gene and alcohol misuse in teenagers. Their study of 187 teenagers with an average age of 15 found that 51.9% of youngsters with an alcohol use disorder had at least one of the variations in the gene compared to only 16.3% of those without an alcohol use disorder. The gene is thought to intensify the pleasurable effects of alcohol and has been linked to an increased rate of alcohol problems in adults. The study showed that the teenagers with variations in this gene were more likely to experience alcohol as intoxicating and pleasurable.
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