Can a genetic test tell your risk of opioid addiction?

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About 80 percent of the world’s opioid supply is consumed in the United States. Every day, some 78 Americans die from an overdose related to either prescription painkillers or heroin. In response, President Obama recently signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The Act represents a new approach by treating opioid addiction as a disease and emphasizing prevention, treatment, and recovery, rather than incarceration. As a disease, doctors agree that opioid addiction has a genetic component, so tests are being developed to help identify people whose genes increase their risk of becoming addicted. However, there’s disagreement as to whether these tests are accurate, and some say they may even be dangerous.

Credits

Guest:
Steven Richeimer - Doctor, Chief of Division

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Matt Holzman, Anna Scott, Jolie Myers, Christian Bordal, Sarah Sweeney