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Light and moderate drinkers respond differently to the effects of abused drugs, including stimulants such as amphetamine. The purpose of this study was to determine whether light and moderate drinkers differ in their sensitivity to the reinforcing and subjective effects of d-amphetamine. We hypothesized that moderate drinkers (i.e., participants that reported consuming at least seven alcohol-containing beverages per week) would be more sensitive to the reinforcing and positive subject-rated effects of d-amphetamine than light drinkers. Data from four studies that employed similar d-amphetamine self-administration procedures and subject-rated drug-effect measures were included in the analysis. Light (n = 17) and moderate (n = 16) drinkers sampled placebo, low (8 to 10 mg), and high (16 to 20 mg) doses of oral d-amphetamine administered in eight capsules. Following sampling sessions, participants worked for a maximum of eight capsules, each containing 12.5% of the previously sampled dose, on a modified progressive-ratio schedule of reinforcement. Both active doses of d-amphetamine functioned as a reinforcer in the moderate drinkers, while only the high dose did so in the light drinkers. The moderate drinkers worked for significantly more capsules that contained the high dose of d-amphetamine than did the light drinkers. d-Amphetamine produced prototypical stimulant-like subjective effects (e.g., dose-dependent increases in ratings of Good Effects; Like Drug and Willing to Take Again). Moderate drinkers reported significantly greater subjective effects than the light drinkers. These results are consistent with those from previous laboratory experiments and suggest that moderate alcohol consumption may increase vulnerability to the abuse-related effects of stimulants. Copyright © 2010 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.


Matthew D Stanley, Mégan M Poole, William W Stoops, Craig R Rush. Amphetamine self-administration in light and moderate drinkers. Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. 2011 Mar;35(3):443-53

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PMID: 21158875

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