Adopted Children’s Risk for Drug Abuse Linked to Biological Parents


Researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University have found out that an adopted child’s risk for drug abuse is affected with their biological parent’s behavior towards the said problem.

teen drug abuseThe team of researchers focused on a Swedish study made on adopted children where family and genetic factors were considered in analyzing their vulnerability to drug abuse. Children given up for adoption by parents stricken with drug and alcohol abuse problems also increased their chances of going the same path in life.

The study that involved 18,115 adopted children in Sweden born between the years 1950 to 1993 and their biological and adoptive parents, found that there was a 4.2% prevalence of drug abuse compared to only 2.9% in the whole of Sweden for the same birth years.

It was also recorded that the risk for drug abuse for adoptive children given up by their biological parents, with at least one parent caught up in the web of drug addiction, was at 8.6%. This figure is significantly higher compared to those whose parents were never involved on drug issues wherein risks were placed at 4.2%.

The proponents of the study gathered and utilized data from national registries and health databases and drug abuse incidents from medical, legal, and pharmacy records to come up with the results presented in the study published in Online First by Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers confirmed that biological parents who have had encounters with not only drugs but also of alcohol, affected with major mental illnesses, and gained criminal convictions greatly influence the risks of drug abuse of the children they gave up for adoption.

Researchers also added that “the risk for drug abuse in adopted children is also increased by disruption in the adoptive parent-adopted child bond by death or divorce but also by a range of indices of a disturbed adoptive home environment and deviant peer influences such as parental alcoholism and sibling drug abuse, respectively.”

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