The Rat Park Can Teach Us About Addiction

The "Rat Park" experiments were conducted in the late 1970s by Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander. He suspected that the tendency of animals to self-dose and ultimately kill themselves with offered drugs was a product of environment, not of chemical addiction. His Rat Park was a 95 square-foot (8.8 square-meter) enclosure with exercise wheels, nesting zones, and walls painted with scenery. The rats who lived there showed little to no interest in water laced with morphine, even if they had already been "hooked" on morphine prior to arriving at the park.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Diamorphine, a painkiller administered in hospitals, is a type of heroin that's stronger than the heroin sold on the streets. 00:35

  2. 95% of American soldiers who used heroin during the Vietnam war simply stopped using when they returned home. 02:36

  3. Since the 1950s, the average number of close friends per American has been declining. 03:57

Written by Curiosity Staff December 8, 2015

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