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Bits & Pieces
by Erowid
The "Bits & Pieces" section is intended for random snippets of information which don't fit
easily elsewhere and/or which have been newly added, but not yet carefully categorized.

  • Rats as Models for Addiction
    There are a number of problems using rats and other laboratory animals to look at human addiction to psychoactives. One of the deep problems is that simple animal addiction models lock rats up in small plastic boxes with little to no other activity in their life outside of being exposed to choices about whether to take the psychoactive drug they are being tested on. In many research protocols, there is literally nothing else for the rat to do beside sleep, eat pellets, drink water, and participate in the drug study for their entire life.

    As one researcher, Ahmed SH, wrote in 2005, "most animals seem to take drugs and eventually become addicted, not because drugs are intrinsically addictive, but more likely because drugs are the only significant sources of reward available in the laboratory. Laboratory animals would therefore represent more of a model of high-risk human groups than of the general population." [Ahmed SH. "Imbalance between drug and non-drug reward availability: a major risk factor for addiction"]

    There is also the famous "Rat Park" experiment, (see Wikipedia summary: in which rats were given more normal living conditions and showed substantially less willingness to ingest morphine than caged rats.