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Adopted Kids Can Face Inherited Addictions

Foreign children are at particular risk for genetic predisposition to drug and alcohol behavior

(HealthDay) -- If you know your child has a genetic predisposition to alcoholism or addictive behaviors, when should you start worrying about it?

Yesterday, say some experts, who advocate early education and intervention. According to an article in The Detroit News, some programs target children as young as 4 years old.

One program, in the Detroit area, is called the Maplegrove Children's Program for Alcohol and Drug Prevention. Some participants include parents of children who have been adopted from Russia and the Ukraine. Even when children from those areas don't have a specific history of parents with alcohol or drug problems, some experts say it makes sense to prepare for potential problems. The reason: Alcoholism and drug addiction are widespread in those areas. Children adopted through the American foster-care system often can have the same problems.

"If you have adopted a child from the American foster care system or from Russia, chances are that child came from a high-risk family," says Doris Landry of Michigan's Attachment Coalition, which works with adoptive parents. "There is a genetic component predisposing alcoholism."

Adoptive children can face other factors placing them at risk, including the emotionally difficult transition to a new family and culture. Through the early intervention treatment programs, parents learn to recognize signs of addiction and what they can start doing early to help prevent problems.

To find out more about Al-Anon and Alateen, you can visit their Web site. How do you talk with your kids about drugs? Check this fact sheet from the Talking With Kids Web site.

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