Catechol-O-methyltransferase (genetic locus, COMT) is a major enzyme involved in catecholamine metabolism and has been associated with numerous psychiatric phenotypes. We studied COMT SNPs and haplotypes in cocaine-induced paranoia (CIP) in African-American (AA) and European-American (EA) populations. We genotyped 17 SNPs across the COMT locus in 319 AA pedigrees (848 individuals) and 302 EA pedigrees (707 individuals). Family-controlled association analyses were conducted using FBAT. We found SNP rs737865 to be nominally significantly associated in the AA family population (P = 0.05). In EAs, the best-known marker, rs4680 (Val158Met), was nominally significant in additive models (P = 0.03). SNP rs174696 also showed nominal significance in additive models (P = 0.02). We considered the three SNPs (rs737866–rs4680–rs174696) together in haplotype analysis in both family populations, using HBAT. The A–A–T haplotype was significantly associated with CIP in EAs (Z = 2.845; P = 0.0044, global P = 0.020). We then studied COMT SNPs in an additional 738 AA and 404 EA unrelated cocaine dependent individuals with and without paranoia. The A–A–T haplotype was significantly associated to CIP in the AA unrelated population (P = 0.0015). Two haplotypes, A–G–C and A–A–C, were significant in the EA unrelated population (P = 0.001 and 0.0003). We also identified rs4680 and three other SNPs, rs933271, rs5993883, and rs740603, as potentially functional variants, as predicted by a signature of positive selection in unrelated EAs and AAs. Based on our robust family-controlled and unrelated-affected analyses, we conclude that COMT is associated with CIP, possibly as a result of its role in the metabolism of dopamine and norepinephrine. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.