Our basic understanding of addiction rests on the experiment where the rat had two bottles to choose: one with plain water and one with heroin added. The rat chose the heroin water. But another experiment added a park for the rat to feel a sense of community. And the rat rarely chose the drugged water. What was learned in the rat park experiment was that we choose drugs when we don’t have the feeling of connection to community.
What the rat park experiment introduced into this addiction question was by introducing rats to a park where connection and complexity was added, the rats didn’t choose the heroin water. They chose the community.
When was the rat park experiment completed? In 1978. Why haven’t we integrated this knowledge into our addiction treatment program?
Rat Park Experiment–Wikipedia.
Researching online information about addiction recovery is hard. 98% of the material online is about addiction or treatment. But addiction recovery could be free over the internet. The $35,000,000,000 spent on treatment reaches 11% of addicts. Instead of fancy buildings the treatment industry could provide a real service with free community education outreach. All those who can’t go to treatment need education also.
Voices about recovery:
Dr. Gabor Mate: Why This Doctor Believes Addictions Start in Childhood. He also wrote In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
Johann Hari: The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think Also from YouTube: Addiction and the Rat Park Experiments
Dr. David Sack: Mapping AA: The Neuroscience of Addiction
Dr. Marc Lewis writing about Dr. Carl Hart: Hart to Hart: drug use, race, and addiction
Brooke M. Feldman: Multiple Pathways to Recovery: It Is Time That We Lead The Way
Dean Dauphinais writing about Maia Szalavitz: “Unbroken Brain”: A New, Forward-Thinking Book on Addiction
Articles about Addiction:
California recovery–Recovery Avenues for People with Mental Health/Substance Use Challenges