Rat Park

Addiction: The View from Rat Park (2010)

Addiction: The View from Rat Park

Bruce K. Alexander,Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University

If you were a cute little white rat…

Figure 1 - White Rats

…you certainly wouldn’t want to live in a psychology laboratory.

When I was an experimental psychologist, between about 1960 and 1980, white laboratory rats had to live in solitary confinement cellblocks like this…

Read more: Addiction: The View from Rat Park (2010)

Rat Park versus The New York Times

Rat Park versus The New York Times
Bruce K. Alexander

Rat Park closed forever more than 30 years ago. In its heyday, it was a very large plywood box on the floor of my addiction laboratory at Simon Fraser University. The box was fitted out to serve as a happy home and playground for groups of rats. My colleagues and I found that rats that lived together in this approximation of a natural environment had much less appetite for morphine than rats housed in solitary confinement in the tiny metal cages that were standard in those days.
Who could be surprised by this finding? The only people who acted surprised at the time – and a bit offended – were those addiction researchers who believed that the great appetite for morphine, heroin, and cocaine that earlier experiments had demonstrated in rats housed in the tiny solitary confinement cages had proved that these drugs caused permanent addictions in all mammals, including human beings. I call this idea the “Myth of the Demon Drug.” This myth was the backbone of mainstream theories of addiction in those days.

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Adult, Infant, and Animal Addiction

Extracted from Peele, S. (1985, p. 77-96) The meaning of addiction, Lexington, Mass, USA: DC Heath

The Addicted Animal

The fact that laboratory animals, under the right conditions, will persistently ingest opiates and other drugs has been generalized by many drug commentators to a belief that human beings, along with other mammals, find such drugs inherently rewarding and their use self-perpetuating. This generalization has led to the proposal of metabolic and conditioning theories that support the concept of an inexorable, pharmacological addiction process (see chapter 3). As with other data on drug use and addiction, experimentation with animals yields far more complex results than has been recognized. In particular, research indicates that animals consume opiates only under very limited circumstances. Moreover, research that takes the setting of the animal's drug use into account strongly suggests that many of the same environmental and even psychological mechanisms that playa role in human drug use in fact also do so for animals.

Read more: Adult, Infant, and Animal Addiction

Dolphins on Drugs: What can animals tell us about getting high?

 

Olivia Capadose: Dolphins on Drugs: What can animals tell us about getting high?  

"A lot of us do it. A lot of us don’t. Our governments try their best to present them as the route to all evil while Baudelaire and Lil Wayne have sung their praises. Over the years the drug debate has been exhausted by parliaments and piss-heads alike, but how can animals shed new light on an age-old issue?A lot of us do it. A lot of us don’t. Our governments try their best to present them as the route to all evil while Baudelaire and Lil Wayne have sung their praises. Over the years the drug debate has been exhausted by parliaments and piss-heads alike, but how can animals shed new light on an age-old issue?A lot of us do it. A lot of us don’t. Our governments try their best to present them as the route to all evil while Baudelaire and Lil Wayne have sung their praises. Over the years the drug debate has been exhausted by parliaments and piss-heads alike, but how can animals shed new light on an age-old issue?"

CaféBabel, Berlin
http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/berlin/article/dolphins-on-drugs-what-can-animals-tell-us-about-getting-high.html

 

Addiction: A Hopeful Prophecy From a Time of Despair

Read Here

Healing Addiction Through Community: A Much Longer Road Than it Seems?

Read Here

Rat Park vs. The NY Times

Read Here

New Revision of "The Rise and Fall of the Official View of Addiction"

Read Here

Addiction, Environmental Crisis, and Global Capitalism

Read Here

Listen to Bruce Alexander
speak with David Crowe on
"The Infectious Myth" 

Dealing with Addiction

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