Chronic and excessive consumption of alcohol is an important factor responsible for the onset of pancreatitis. However, the incidence of chronic pancreatitis in heavy drinkers differs in individuals, suggesting that these individual differences may involve various genetic and environmental factors. In the present study, we investigated an association of alcoholic pancreatitis with polymorphisms of the various genes related to metabolism of the oxidative compounds. We analyzed polymorphisms of NADPH-quinone oxidoreductase 2 (NQO2), multidrug resistance 1 (MDR1), alcohol dehydrogenase 1B (ADH1B) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). The subjects consisted of 53 patients with chronic alcoholic pancreatitis (AlCP), 54 alcoholic patients without pancreatic dysfunction (Alc), and 42 healthy individuals. DNA samples were prepared from the peripheral blood of all subjects, and the genetic mutations were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism methods. The ADH1B gene frequencies were significantly different between healthy controls and Alc patients (P < 0.001), and also between AlCP and Alc patients (P < 0.05). However, no significant difference was found between healthy controls and AlCP patients. The gene frequencies of MDR1 (3435C > T) and MDR1 (2677G > A/T) of patients with AlCP or Alc were different when compared with healthy controls, although the difference was not significant. The NQO2 and LPL genes showed no relation with Alc and AlCP patients. The ADH1B*1 gene frequency in AlCP was significantly lower compared with Alc. We speculate that the ADH1B*1 gene may function by reducing vulnerability to the onset of alcoholic pancreatitis. Other genes analyzed in the present study lacked association with AlCP.