The opioid addiction crisis which has gathered national news in recent years continues to fuel the need for studies in both opioid specific addiction and addictive behaviors in general. In New Jersey alone, it’s expected the deaths related to opioid addiction will exceed 3,000 people. The Coriell Institute for Medical Research along with Cooper University Health Care and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University are participating in a joint study into the psychological and physiological components that lead to addiction. This includes genetic and environmental studies that lead to higher risk of some individuals to become addicted to drugs like opioids over others.

While there’s a lot of research and very conclusive evidence in the psychological factors that put certain people at risk to addictions like alcoholism and cocaine, the recent opioid crisis showed that these aren’t necessarily the only components involved with addiction. Of special interest are people who have been prescribed painkillers like oxycodone to manage chronic pain that eventually turned to full blown forms of illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl, which makes the study all the more important. The goals of the research are to further “define actual risk factors for opioid addiction and develop strategies to prevent people from developing opioid use disorder and to thereby save lives” according to Dr. Annette Reboli, dean of Cooper Medical School.

Of the points of study include genetic relationship of addiction risk in relation to how opioids affect the nervous system. Opioid receptors in the brain have already been linked to specific genetic traits and may offer more insight into how the drug, when used, can lead to addiction. However, the National Institutes of Health continue to stress that genetics alone do not contribute entirely to the pool of risks to addiction. Factors such as an individual’s upbringing, home life, psychological history and others have also been linked to addictive behavior and will be a part of the overall studies as well.

The Coriell project, dubbed CORI for Camden Opioid Research Initiative, will create a ‘biobank’ of massive amounts of data related to not only those who’ve died of opioid addiction and complications, but also of family members and history to determine how much genetics actually play a role and how much environmental factors play a role. Another part of the project will study how dependence transforms into addiction as well as medication-assisted therapies which can help prevent the transition into full addiction.

While this study provides a possibility of a more sober future, many people in New Jersey still suffer from addiction and dependence to opioids. If you are looking for rehab in New Jersey, New Jersey detox centers or similar addiction treatment in New Jersey, please call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563 for diagnosis and treatment options.


Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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