Rat Park on Drugs
In the late 1970s Canadian psychologist Bruce Alexander created Rat Park.
Rat park was an experiment to test the effects on morphine addicted rats in pleasant and unpleasant environments. The pleasant environment in Rat Park allowed the rats to socialise in more natural surroundings. The unpleasant environment in Rat Park caged and isolated the rats. The morphine was made sugary to make the drug more appealing.
Would the rats continue to self-medicate or stay off the morphine?
The rats in the more pleasant environment avoided the morphine more than the drugs in the unpleasant environment in Rat Park. The observer article ‘The real crack is in our social fabric’ makes the case that “drugs are the symptoms of a broken society, masking the underlying issues of unemployment, lack of education, poverty, racism, and despair.”
This article appears news worthy because it is counter to the usual drug enforcement policies. Drugs are bad, addicts are bad, drugs must be kept illegal.
Significantly the article makes the point that around 90% of addicts are casual users from a range of backgrounds where the drug use is not excessive or a social problem.
The more pertinent point is that why would society not fix the social problems, and take out the drugs problem at the same time.
Unfortunately this is not taking into account the culture we live in. Winners and losers. Rich and poor. Good and bad. Capitalism thrives of the competitive nature of humans. To be a winner somebody has to be a loser. The success of capitalism thrives on unemployment, the uneducated, and poverty. It allows the elite to function unfettered. Imagine if the whole population took up its power through education and employment? What would happen to the tax avoiders and water companies’ profits? Their chances of survival would be less.
We live in an era of an uneasy balance between the needs of people and needs of money. Money needs consistency, stability, and confidence to be accumulated. People need other people, to be occupied, hope and love. If drugs were legalised the perception is that the balance would tip towards the needs of people.
Less able to be controlled and managed.
Welcome to the Rat Park.
Copyright Adrian Scott North London Counsellor Blog 2013
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Disclaimer: This weblog is the view of the writer and for general information only.
This article is designed to provoke argument and critique.