Affiliation: McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada.
This narrative review aims to provide an overview of the impact of opioid dependence and the contribution of genetics to opioid dependence. Epidemiological data demonstrate that opioid dependence is a global trend with farreaching effects on the social, economic, and health care systems. A review of classical genetic studies of opioid use suggests significant heritability of drug use behavior, however the evidence from molecular genetic studies is inconclusive. Nonetheless, certain genetic variants are important to consider given their role in the pathophysiology of addictive behavior. We undertook a literature review to identify the current state of knowledge regarding the role of genes in opioid dependence. Determining the association of genetic markers could change the current understanding of the various factors contributing to opioid dependence and therefore may improve recognition of individuals at risk for the disorder and prevention and treatment strategies.