Alcohol consumption may increase drug abuse risk: Study

Written by: Anita Nair
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Washington, Dec 15 (ANI): A new research has suggested that ingesting moderate amount of alcohol may increase an individual's risk of amphetamine abuse.

Amphetamines are large group of drugs known as stimulants, which are widely accessible and previous studies have shown a significant relationship between its abuse and the amount of alcohol consumed.

Craig R. Rush of University of Kentucky and senior author of the study said that there is a direct epidemiological link between drinking alcohol and the misuse of prescription drugs.

The researchers took previous research as a base that showed that moderate drinkers were more sensitive to some of the effects of amphetamines when compared to 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.

The researchers assessed 33 individuals, and divided them into either moderate or light drinkers, based on if they drank more or less than seven drinks per week, respectively.

The results showed that the high dose of amphetamines increased drug taking in both light and moderate drinkers, while only the low dose did so with the moderate drinkers.

The moderate drinkers were found to engage in the computer tasks in order to receive the high dose of amphetamine. This indicates that consuming moderate levels of alcohol may increase an individual's vulnerability to the effects of stimulants like amphetamine.

Mark T. Fillmore, a professor of psychology at University of Kentucky said, "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."

Rush agreed, but said that there are many different paths of research that can branch off of this.

"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.

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. (ANI)

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