Alcohol and Opiate Narcotic Dependencies: Possible Interrelatedness Via Central Endorphin: Opiate Receptor System

  • Carl Pinsky
  • Frank S. LaBella
  • Leonid Leybin


It is widely known that opiate narcotics and alcohol (ethanol) share an extreme dependency-inducing liability. Behavioral interactions have been observed between these two classes of drug, especially the effects of opiate agonists and antagonists on voluntary consumption of alcohol in rats and mice (Sinclair, Adkins, and Walker, 1973; Blum et al., 1975; Ho et al., 1975; Ho, Chen, and Morrison, 1977) and on severity of the ethanol withdrawal syndrome in those species (Blum et al., 1975, 1976, 1977; Ho et al., 1975). Kissin (1974) has cited human studies reported by Roizin (1969) to suggest that prolonged exposure to opiate narcotics sensitizes the individual to alcohol. Gelfand and Amit (1976) sought a reciprocal ethanol-morphine interaction, but found no effect of a single injection of ethanol on morphine ingestion in rats. Jones and Spratto (1977), however, found that ethanol, given every 8 hours for 4 days during development of morphine dependence, suppressed the severity of naloxone-precipitated withdrawal in 4-day morphine pellet-implanted rats. In contrast, simultaneous ingestion of methadone and ethanol over a five-month period appeared to enhance naloxone-precipitated opiate withdrawal symptoms provoked at the end of the long-term study (Friedman, Geonjian, and Cummins, 1974).


Noxious Stimulus Opiate Receptor Ethanol Withdrawal Morphine Dependence Opiate Agonist 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl Pinsky
    • 1
  • Frank S. LaBella
    • 1
  • Leonid Leybin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManitobaCanada

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