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It's not the morphine, it's the size of the cage - a new look at addiction  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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It's not the morphine, it's the size of the cage: Rat Park experiment upturns conventional wisdom about addiction

We all learned ... about the rats in a cage who can self-administer morphine who get addicted to the stuff, and then just hit that lever until they die.
..
Alexander built Rat Park, an 8.8 m2 (95 sq ft) housing colony, 200 times the square footage of a standard laboratory cage. There were 16–20 rats of both sexes in residence, an abundance of food, balls and wheels for play, and enough space for mating and raising litters. The results of the experiment appeared to support his hypothesis. Rats who had been forced to consume morphine hydrochloride for 57 consecutive days were brought to Rat Park and given a choice between plain tap water and water laced with morphine. For the most part, they chose the plain water. "Nothing that we tried," Alexander wrote, "... produced anything that looked like addiction in rats that were housed in a reasonably normal environment." Control groups of rats isolated in small cages consumed much more morphine in this and several subsequent experiments.




Full article with links here.
 
R Scott
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Perhaps it's time the war on drugs becomes a war on the existence of poverty? (edit: Poverty of our relationships to family, community, and nation too, not merely monetary. As commenters have pointed out, there are plenty of people who have plenty of money who may well be the most poverty-ridden in other respects.)

It's not about the drugs. It's about the social environment in which we live.


IMO addiction in general (drugs, alcohol, shopping, exercise, abusive relationships, etc.) are all from people trying to fill the missing relationship (God, family, purpose) in their life with the wrong thing.
 
wayne stephen
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" When I was a young man I lived in a box . Many people lived in the box. The boxes were close together . Everywhere you looked was a box. I went to school in box . I ate my meals in a box. I played in a box . I grew up crazy stuffed in a box. One day I found keys to open the boxes . A smoke , a mushroom , a pill or three. I found I could soar above the boxes . I soared for years . One day the keys no longer opened the boxes . I found other keys that opened a box inside of me . A drink , a line , a needle , a pill or three . I was safe inside my own box , down in a tunnel . I was unaware of the other boxes . Then those keys stopped opening the box. I went to a box doctor. I soon had the keys to make my peg square . I now fit inside the box. A drink , a pill or three. Soon that key failed and I was a round peg again. I had nowhere to go . I left the world of boxes . I live on a hill where the boxes are far between. The doors are unlocked . I do not need a key. I just look up and soar to the stars . To reach the box inside me I just breathe. Space is the key . Nature is the key. " - Testimony from a former addict . Anonymity assured.
 
Bill McGee
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I've had friends with seemingly better resources and larger cages ride their opiate addictions as low as they could go.

Maybe rat research gets lost in human translation...different opiate receptors?

Not casting stones, I have my own addictions and issues.

Insightful poem, thanks Wayne.
 
John Polk
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Yeah. If I was serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison, and somebody offered me opium, it would be all over.
"In for life, hooked for life."

 
Burra Maluca
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Bill McGee wrote:I've had friends with seemingly better resources and larger cages ride their opiate addictions as low as they could go.
.


I've always had apparently big cages with open doors. My prisons were less visible, but just as real. I used to do volunteer work at a private school for teenage boys who had been thrown out of every other school, all from really wealthy families, and I'd never seen such a collection of messed up kids in my life. The sight of one sitting on the stairs howling that 'I'm just a poor little rich kid and no-body loves me' somewhat changed my view that all my own problems were poverty related as I realised that it was true - I'd basically assumed that wealth solved stuff, but it was painfully obvious that it didn't with these lads.
 
Jason Lindsay
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The larger the prison the easier the control. The larger and more comfortable a prison is inversely proportional to our ego's ability to accept it as such. Bigger house and more money wealth means there is less chance of accepting the problems of the prison, therefore the problems must be internal. This leads to an easier stance for addiction and a self-fulfilling prophecy of negative self-worth.

A junkie from the hood that had a horrible upbringing is a junkie because he is in a prison and sees no way out.

I think the rat experiment does translate. For the rats, the larger environment satisfied their simpler liberty and freedom needs so as to not be in a prison any more.

For humans, the liberty and freedom are not directly connected to a big house and money wealth, regardless of how much the politicians, corporations and banks market it as such.

 
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