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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alcohol Increases Drug Abuse Risk

The use of alcohol, even moderate, could lead to drug use according to new research which suggests that those who drink alcohol may have an increased risk of amphetamine use. It has been well known that alcohol is often used in conjunction with drugs especially prescription drugs that give you energy, so this news is not surprising. There is a direct epidemiological link between drinking alcohol and the misuse of prescription drugs, according to Craig R. Rush of University of Kentucky and senior author of the study.

This study is based off of previous research which found that moderate drinkers were affected more by amphetamines than light drinkers. "The idea behind the present study was to follow that study up with one in which we determined whether moderate drinkers were also more likely to work to receive amphetamine in the laboratory, in addition to being more sensitive to its subjective effects," said Rush. 33 individuals were used in the study; they were divided into either moderate or light drinkers, depending on whether they drank more or less than seven drinks per week.

They found that moderate drinkers would work on computer tasks in order to receive the high dose of amphetamine; this showed scientists that consuming moderate levels of alcohol may increase an individual's vulnerability to the effects of stimulants like amphetamine. "Sensitization effects to stimulants can be powerful, most notably with regard to their persistence. We need to determine if drinking heavily might actually produce physiological changes in individuals that causes them to become more sensitive to the pleasurable effects of psychostimulant drugs, such as amphetamines", said Mark T. Fillmore, a professor of psychology at University of Kentucky.

Rush concurred with Fillmore, adding that, "Other future directions could be to look at the influence of alcohol use history on the effects of other drugs of abuse or to determine how acute alcohol administration, as opposed to self-reported drinking history, impacts response to stimulants." he noted.

Results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

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