Life in Rat Park, Where Substances Aren't Addictive
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04-06-2013, 11:16 PM
Life in Rat Park, Where Substances Aren't Addictive
Much to do has been given to the notion that substance addiction is a huge problem and for good reason... it is. The trouble is that in our zeal to pass laws and control that which we fear, abused drugs were scapegoated as addictive substances and somewhere around 1970, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Nixon's war has cost the lives of countless individuals and families both in the currency of death and broken homes. It still today costs billions of dollars per annum (17 billion to date in 2013)to finance this farcical war on substances that were then and still now are presumed to be capable of sucking the user into a never ending spiral of addiction.

But is it really the drugs? Do substances have the power of the mystical succubus or are their powers of addiction just as mythical as hers? After all, we humans are really nothing more than a skin bag full of just about every chemical known to... us, to some degree or another.

Our bodies produce naturally, all of the active ingredients in illicit drugs and when those chemicals reside in our brains in equilibrium, all is right with our worlds. Well, all except that which we can't control. But even still, when our "chemicals" are in balance, our brains are capable of overcoming those uncontrollables and we can remain happy and thus, overcome just about any obstacle... including but not limited to, the lure of illicit drugs.

Here's a short video for my attention span challenged friends. It has claymation and drugs...





So that's the rat park. Depending on the substances you're currently abusing, you may not have gotten the message that this was a scientific study done on captive rats. And I understand... I may not be able to finish this post if the substances I'm currently abusing kick in too soon.

In any event, Bruce Alexander was participating in a study on drug abuse and he got the idea that the rats they were testing weren't in a natural habitat and thus, couldn't be expected to behave as rats would in their natural habitat. So he built rat park... an enclosure that was about 200% the size of the typical laboratory rat enclosure.

He furnished rat park with all the cool rat stuff like sticks and rocks and places to hide and he populated it with a reasonable number of both gendered rats. This provided the rats with a natural environment and ample sexual partners so that they could get their rat sex on and have a place to raise a family. All was good in these rats' world.

In summary, he offered both pure drinking water and opiate laced water to both rat park residents and his more urban, cage living rats. Turns out that the urban rats drank the opiate laced water while the rat park residents drank the pure water.

Then he took a group of urban rats, fed them nothing but opiate water for two months and then, relocated them to rat park where there was a choice of both opiate laced and pure water. The "junkies" almost exclusively drank the pure water, turning down the alleged powerful lure of the evil, destructive drug water.

So what of it? Is it the drugs that addict us or the lack of chemicals in our brains? Studies show that drugs of all kinds, including nicotine and caffeine, either act as replacements for chemicals some of our bodies don't produce enough of or as stimulants to parts of the brain that are underdeveloped.

And what about workaholics, sexaholics, and just about every other -aholic one can think of that doesn't include substance "abuse"? How does work addict one? More importantly... how do I get that addiction?

As it turns out, all of these addictive behaviors can be attributed to the brain and the lack of some people's bodys' abilities to produce them in balance. ← Run on plurals....

I posit that there is no such thing as an addictive substance. After much research I've even changed my position on the addictive qualities of pussy, which I formerly called the most addictive substance known to man. And some really, really cool women I know. Drooling

But this isn't about my wife so... seriously, there isn't much evidence supporting the notion that drugs are addictive. To be sure, there are a lot of drugs that have serious, even fatal, affects upon removal from a body that has become accustomed to them. But that doesn't mean the drug is addictive, it means the user is addictive. And guess what... severe depression often ensues when someone loses a lover, a job or a house. And there are myriad cases of long married, relatively healthy individuals suddenly dying shortly after the loss of their spouse. So are you telling me that marriage is addictive? Divorce rates soundly put that notion to rest. And what about the millions of people who have been life long alcoholics who are capable of quitting without suffering delirium tremens? At least, not to any appreciable degree.

In the end, we need to take a more rational and compassionate approach to addiction. We also need to include a lot more behaviors in the scope of addiction and we must, must, must stop treating the addicted as morally corrupt degenerates.

If you've read this far, I sincerely appreciate your interest. If you haven't read this far, nah... I'm not gonna be rude.


Thanks for reading and please offer up any information you have that supports or refutes my conclusions. I'm interested in truth, even when it causes me to rethink my entire world view... which I"m quite used to doing now at age 44. Big Grin

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
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05-06-2013, 05:06 AM
RE: Life in Rat Park, Where Substances Aren't Addictive
(04-06-2013 11:16 PM)bbeljefe Wrote:  Much to do has been given to the notion that substance addiction is a huge problem and for good reason... it is. The trouble is that in our zeal to pass laws and control that which we fear, abused drugs were scapegoated as addictive substances and somewhere around 1970, President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Nixon's war has cost the lives of countless individuals and families both in the currency of death and broken homes. It still today costs billions of dollars per annum (17 billion to date in 2013)to finance this farcical war on substances that were then and still now are presumed to be capable of sucking the user into a never ending spiral of addiction.

But is it really the drugs? Do substances have the power of the mystical succubus or are their powers of addiction just as mythical as hers? After all, we humans are really nothing more than a skin bag full of just about every chemical known to... us, to some degree or another.

Our bodies produce naturally, all of the active ingredients in illicit drugs and when those chemicals reside in our brains in equilibrium, all is right with our worlds. Well, all except that which we can't control. But even still, when our "chemicals" are in balance, our brains are capable of overcoming those uncontrollables and we can remain happy and thus, overcome just about any obstacle... including but not limited to, the lure of illicit drugs.

Here's a short video for my attention span challenged friends. It has claymation and drugs...





So that's the rat park. Depending on the substances you're currently abusing, you may not have gotten the message that this was a scientific study done on captive rats. And I understand... I may not be able to finish this post if the substances I'm currently abusing kick in too soon.

In any event, Bruce Alexander was participating in a study on drug abuse and he got the idea that the rats they were testing weren't in a natural habitat and thus, couldn't be expected to behave as rats would in their natural habitat. So he built rat park... an enclosure that was about 200% the size of the typical laboratory rat enclosure.

He furnished rat park with all the cool rat stuff like sticks and rocks and places to hide and he populated it with a reasonable number of both gendered rats. This provided the rats with a natural environment and ample sexual partners so that they could get their rat sex on and have a place to raise a family. All was good in these rats' world.

In summary, he offered both pure drinking water and opiate laced water to both rat park residents and his more urban, cage living rats. Turns out that the urban rats drank the opiate laced water while the rat park residents drank the pure water.

Then he took a group of urban rats, fed them nothing but opiate water for two months and then, relocated them to rat park where there was a choice of both opiate laced and pure water. The "junkies" almost exclusively drank the pure water, turning down the alleged powerful lure of the evil, destructive drug water.

So what of it? Is it the drugs that addict us or the lack of chemicals in our brains? Studies show that drugs of all kinds, including nicotine and caffeine, either act as replacements for chemicals some of our bodies don't produce enough of or as stimulants to parts of the brain that are underdeveloped.

And what about workaholics, sexaholics, and just about every other -aholic one can think of that doesn't include substance "abuse"? How does work addict one? More importantly... how do I get that addiction?

As it turns out, all of these addictive behaviors can be attributed to the brain and the lack of some people's bodys' abilities to produce them in balance. ← Run on plurals....

I posit that there is no such thing as an addictive substance. After much research I've even changed my position on the addictive qualities of pussy, which I formerly called the most addictive substance known to man. And some really, really cool women I know. Drooling

But this isn't about my wife so... seriously, there isn't much evidence supporting the notion that drugs are addictive. To be sure, there are a lot of drugs that have serious, even fatal, affects upon removal from a body that has become accustomed to them. But that doesn't mean the drug is addictive, it means the user is addictive. And guess what... severe depression often ensues when someone loses a lover, a job or a house. And there are myriad cases of long married, relatively healthy individuals suddenly dying shortly after the loss of their spouse. So are you telling me that marriage is addictive? Divorce rates soundly put that notion to rest. And what about the millions of people who have been life long alcoholics who are capable of quitting without suffering delirium tremens? At least, not to any appreciable degree.

In the end, we need to take a more rational and compassionate approach to addiction. We also need to include a lot more behaviors in the scope of addiction and we must, must, must stop treating the addicted as morally corrupt degenerates.

If you've read this far, I sincerely appreciate your interest. If you haven't read this far, nah... I'm not gonna be rude.


Thanks for reading and please offer up any information you have that supports or refutes my conclusions. I'm interested in truth, even when it causes me to rethink my entire world view... which I"m quite used to doing now at age 44. Big Grin

Interesting take on the problem. Worth pursuing this line of thought, I think.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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