Description: What do you think you know about the addictive nature of opioid drugs like heroin or morphine? Have you heard that they can be addictive on first use? Have you heard that they work on the brain chemistry of all users to create a need for the drug or a dependency that is purely physio logical? Have you heard that they are addictive to mice and lab rats in the same ways they are addictive to humans? Well, it may well be that the last of these the questions (and only the last one) may actually be true. The link below will take you to a novel presentation of research into these questions. The research was conducted by Bruce Alexander from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby BC. The unique presentation is in the form of a comic or graphic novel depiction of Alexander’s research program created by Australian artist Stuart McMillen. It is a unique and quite informative way to present the key features and findings of this line of research (kudos to the artist, Stuart McMillen!). Have a look through it at the link below and then revisit the questions I started with above.
Source: Rat Park, Stuart McMillen.
Date: October 1, 2017
Photo Credit: Stuart McMillen
Links: Article Link — http://www.stuartmcmillen.com/comic/rat-park/#page-1
So what did you think of the graphic novel/comic approach top research presentation? Aside from that what did you think of the findings of Bruce Alexander’s research? Does it make sense to view rats in research cages as similar to humans in solitary confinement? When regardless of what that suggestion may or may not give rise to in the way of issues related to animal treatment (have you heard of the documentary film Blackfish? www.blackfishmovie.com ) the research using the “Rat Park” environment raises a number of fascinating issues about addiction and specifically about the nature of addictiveness in relation to opioids. Social factors might be important even in core neuroscience research areas.
Questions for Discussion:
- How automatically addictive are opioid drugs like heroin or morphine? Are they can be addictive on first use?
- Does it make sense to say that the danger with opioids is entirely due to how they work on brain chemistry?
- Assuming it makes sense to generalize somewhat from the rat studies described in the link comic above (and maybe comment on the nature and make-ability of that assumption) what would approaches to treatment or approaches to otherwise dealing with drug addiction to illegal narcotics involve? Oh and before answering this question check out this link: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/portugal-drug-decriminalization-statistics
References (Read Further):
Alexander, B. (2010). The globalization of addiction: A study in poverty of the spirit. Oxford University Press.
Alexander, B. (2017) Addiction: Hopeful prophecy from a time of despair. http://www.brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/289-addiction-a-hopeful-prophecy-from-a-time-of-despair
Domoslawski, A., & Siemaszko, H. (2011). Drug policy in Portugal: the benefits of decriminalizing drug use. New York, NY: Open Society Foundations. https://www.tni.org/en/issues/decriminalization/item/2725-drug-policy-in-portugal