Ethical and policy issues in the translation of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction

Adrian Carter, Wayne Hall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter discusses ethical and policy issues in the translation of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction. Neuroscience and genetic research of addiction has the potential to improve the treatment and possibly the prevention of addictive disorders and lead to more humane and effective social policies to deal with persons with these disorders. Neurobiological theories of addiction attempt to identify the molecular and cellular mechanisms of how drugs act on the brain in ways that may impair control over drug use. Neuroimaging studies have identified changes in brain regions involved in the cognitive processes of salience, motivation, memory and conditioned learning, and inhibitory control. Researchers are now developing immunotherapies that treat drug addiction by blocking the psychoactive effects of a drug by either stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies or through the introduction of synthetic monoclonal antibodies into the blood stream. It is likely that immunotherapies would be most often used in situations that are inherently coercive, as treatment will often be the result of encounters with the justice system, such as a condition of release from prison or to avoid incarceration, in pregnant women, or parents involved in the child welfare system. The benefits will need to be balanced against rights of the individual to privacy and liberty.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslation of Addictions Science Into Practice
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780080449272
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes

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