Opioid Dependence
Study Code:OD
Sample:1500 opioid dependent individuals and 1500 matched controls
Start Date:Oct.2004
Status:In progress
Contact:Anjali Henders
More Info:QIMR only


This is a collaborative study between Washington University, St. Louis, the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of NSW, Sydney (NDARC), and QIMR. Dr Elliot Nelson of Washington University is the Principle Investigator.

The project is funded by the U.S National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Experimental Plan

This project expands on the pilot project (P504) completed in 2002.

Opioid dependence has been long-recognised as a familial disorder. The investigators propose to conduct a genetic association study of opioid dependence using a case-control design including analyses incorporating history of childhood abuse as a risk modifying variable. This research will improve on existing work in the area to identify GxE effects on opioid dependence.

Specific Aims

AIM 1 - To interview and collect blood samples from 1500 opioid dependent individuals and 1500 matched controls.

AIM 2 - To identify polymorphisms and/or mutations in candidate genes to be typed in cases and controls.

AIM 3 - To assess retrospectively history of childhood abuse to enable its inclusion as a risk modifying variable.

AIM 4 - To analyse genotype and interview data to test for candidate gene effects on opioid dependence, and their moderation by history of childhood abuse. The latter analyses will target genes whose products are known from prior research to be involved in: (i) stress-sensitive mediation of the perceived positive effects of opioids; (ii) stress-induced opioid relapse; and (iii) opioid regulation of the stress response.


Principle Investigator Elliot Nelson Washington University

Research Assistant Debra Hughes - Washington University

Co-Principle Investigator Prof Nick Martin QIMR

Co-Principle Investigator Louise Degenhardt NDARC

Co-Principle Investigator Richard Mattick NDARC

Co-Principle Investigator William Rawlinson - POW

Study Coordinator Fiona Shand NDARC (started Mid 2005)

Interviewer coordinator Elizabeth Conroy NDARC

Lab coordinator Megan Campbell QIMR

Phlebotomist Cherie Kam NDARC

Phlebotomist Caitlin McCue NDARC

Research Assistant Yong Pan POW

Research Assistant Susanne Booth POW (Started April 2005, finished May 2006)