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REAL NEWS ABOUT DRUGS AND YOUR BODY

How Do Genes Affect Addiction?

One of the keys to preventing negative consequences of drug and alcohol use is determining what puts people at risk for the disease of addiction. In the article "How Do Genes Affect Addiction?," students will learn about the role of genetics in a person's risk for addiction, as well as learn that genetics isn't the only factor that influences the risk. Many other biological and environmental factors play a role, and students will get tips about choices they can make to reduce their risk. By sharing the article and skills sheet (see reverse side) with your students, and teaching the lesson below, you can help them understand the risks and how to stay safe.

Subject

* Science Literacy

* English Language Arts

* Health/Life Skills

Common Core State Standards

RST.6-8.1 / RST.9-10.1

* Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts

W.6-8.1 / W.9-10.1

* Write arguments to support claims, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence

Next Generation Science Standards

MS-LS3.A / HS-LS3.A

* Inheritance of Traits MS-LS3.B / HS-LS3.B

* Variation of Traits

National Science Education Standards

* Reproduction and Heredity

* Personal Health

National Council for the Social Studies

* 4. Individual Development and Identity

* 8. Science, Technology, and Society

Tiered Vocabulary Tools:

* scholastic.com/headsup /teachers/how_do_genes _affect_addiction

Additional

Teaching Resources:

* headsup.scholastic.com /teachers

* teens.drugabuse.gov

Critical-Thinking Questions

1) How might doctors use genetics to prevent or treat addiction in the future? (Answers may include that genetics might determine if a person's genes put them at a higher risk for addiction. People who may have an increased risk because of genetics could be provided with counseling or other interventions. Doctors may one day be able to develop medications that can reverse the effects of high-risk genes.)

2) Do you think scientists will find a single "addiction gene" that determines if someone will become addicted to drugs? Why or why not? (Answers may include that it is unlikely that a single addiction gene exists. There are many factors that determine whether a person becomes addicted to drugs or not. Genes might affect how a person reacts to drugs, but they don't guarantee that a person will or will not develop an addiction.)

3) Why is it important for people to understand the risk factors for addiction? (Answers may include that knowing their risk may help people make healthy choices; individuals can take actions that reduce risk factors, such as not taking drugs at a young age.)

Writing Prompts

* Grades 6-8: Explain how genes could increase or decrease a person's risk for addiction.

* Grades 9-10: What are two reasons genetics research is important in understanding and treating addiction? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.

* Grades 11-12: Do you think individuals can control their risk for addiction? Why or why not?

Student Skills Sheet

The work sheet on the reverse side provides students with information about some of the different factors that can affect a person's risk for addiction and asks critical-thinking questions about the information. Possible answers include:

1. A protective factor is something that reduces the risk for addiction, such as strong family bonds or having friends who don't use drugs. A risk factor is something that increases a person's addiction risk, such as a family history of addiction or a lack of parental supervision. (Examples are found in the table.)

2. A person with no family history of addiction and strong family bonds can still be at risk for addiction. These two factors alone do not determine whether or not a person will develop an addiction. Many factors can come into play, and everyone reacts differently to situations.

3. A person can reduce his or her risk by increasing the number of protective factors in his or her life, such as spending time with people who are a positive influence and don't use drugs; not taking drugs at a young age; and getting involved in after-school activities such as music, sports, or school clubs.

Interactive Activity

* "PI: Pedigree Investigator, On the Case of Nicotine Addiction" (learn.genetics .utah.edu/content/addiction/pi/)

This activity gives more information about how pedigrees are constructed and has students complete one to see how nicotine addiction runs in a family.

* Writing Prompt: Does the family described in the activity support the theory that there is a genetic component to nicotine addiction? Use at least three pieces of evidence to support your answer. Explain how using a pedigree helped you determine your answer.

WHAT AFFECTS THE RISK FOR ADDICTION?

Scientists have identified many of the factors that can increase--and decrease--a person's risk for addiction.

Risk factors can increase the likelihood of becoming addicted to alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. They include biological factors--such as a person's genetics and gender--and factors that come from the environment, including peer pressure or family relationships. Protective factors are biological or environmental factors that help to decrease a person's risk for addiction, such as strong community bonds and friends who are a positive influence.

In general, the more risk factors and the fewer protective factors a person has, the higher the chance for addiction. However, every individual is different. A person can still become addicted to drugs even if he or she has few risk factors. And most people who are at risk never become addicted to drugs. Study the chart at the right to learn about some of the factors that affect the risk for addiction.

Directions: Study the information in the table below. Then use it along with the information from the article "How Do Genes Affect Addiction?" to answer the questions below. Write your answers on separate paper.

Risk and Protective Factors for Addiction

RISK FACTORS

* Family history of addiction

* Lack of parental supervision

* Lack of strong family bonds

* Friends or family who use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

* Availability of drugs

* Drug use at a young age

* Mental health problems such as depression

* Stress

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

* Strong family bonds

* Parental supervision and involvement

* Friends who are a positive influence and don't use drugs

* Strong neighborhood/ community

* Clear antidrug use policies at home and in school

* Strong performance in school

* Participation in after-school activities

* Having strategies to cope with stress

QUESTIONS:

1. Explain the difference between a protective factor and a risk factor for addiction. Give at least one example of each.

2. Suppose a person has no family history of drug addiction and has strong bonds with his or her parents. Is it guaranteed that the person will not become addicted to drugs or alcohol themselves? Support your answer with evidence from the texts.

3. Suppose a person has uncontrollable risk factors for addiction, such as a genetic history of the disease. How can the person reduce his or her own risk? Explain at least two specific actions that can be taken.
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Title Annotation:addiction and genetics
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 11, 2017
Words:1197
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