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A white Wistar lab rat In Rat Park, the rats could drink a fluid from one of two drop dispensers, which automatically recorded how much each rat drank. One dispenser contained a morphine solution and the other plain tap water.
Alexander designed a number of experiments to test the rats' willingness to consume the morphine. The Seduction Experiment involved four groups of rats. Group CC was isolated in laboratory cages when they were weaned at 22 days of age, and lived there until the experiment ended at 80 days of age; Group PP was housed in Rat Park for the same period; Group CP was moved from laboratory cages to Rat Park at 65 days of age; and Group PC was moved out of Rat Park and into cages at 65 days of age.
The caged rats Groups CC and PC took to the morphine instantly, even with relatively little sweetener, with the caged males drinking 19 times more morphine than the Rat Park males in one of the experimental conditions.
The rats in Rat Park resisted the morphine water. They would try it occasionally—with the females trying it more often than the males—but they showed a statistically significant preference for the plain water.
He writes that the most interesting group was Group CP, the rats who were brought up in cages but moved to Rat Park before the experiment began. These animals rejected the morphine solution when it was stronger, but as it became sweeter and more dilute, they began to drink almost as much as the rats that had lived in cages throughout the experiment.
They wanted the sweet water, he concluded, so long as it did not disrupt their normal social behavior. In another experiment, he forced rats in ordinary lab cages to consume the morphine-laced solution for 57 days without other liquid available to drink. When they moved into Rat Park, they were allowed to choose between the morphine solution and plain water.
They drank the plain water.
He writes that they did show some signs of dependence. There were "some minor withdrawal signs, twitching, what have you, but there were none of the mythic seizures and sweats you so often hear about Normal people can ignore heroin Rats from Rat Park seem to be no less discriminating.
One of those studies found that both caged and "park" rats showed a decreased preference for morphine, suggesting a genetic difference.Alcohol TreatmentA | The Watershed Treatment Programs, IncMany insurance options · No Medicaid/Medicare.
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