Addiction can be a difficult topic, but in terms of solidarity, it is important to discuss how our problematic society contributes to a toxic environment. Only by realising this can we attempt to resolve the larger picture and become a healthier society. There is a deep-seated issue of how our society view drug addicts, just like how we avoid the homeless on the street. It is paramount that we come face to face with the problem of addiction and understand underlying problems.
Growing up, I have been told horror stories about drug addiction and alcoholism. How it will lead to terrible endings, including families breaking up, depression and death. What causes addiction? - We’ve been taught that drugs do! That the first time is all we need to get hooked. Just like how our education system first teaches students to never even take the first puff of a cigarette, no one should ever be tempted to start taking drugs.
Johann Hari, the author of Chasing the Scream:The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, set out tofind what it is that keeps addicts fixated on a drug
and how we can set out to help and get the addicts back to normality. He explains in details of how this theory, that drugs cause addiction, was first established through experiments on rats. The rats were placed in a cage, alone, with two water bottles. One with just water, and the other was with heroin laced water. These rats will become obsessed with the heroin water and they will keep on going back for more, eventually leading to their deaths.
This theory was then instilled into our society’s psyche, through education on drugs and anti-drugs campaigns. But back in 1970s, a professor of Psychology called Bruce Alexander, felt that they could do something different to bring the experiment closer to the human environment.
Bruce created Rat Park, a luxurious cage for the rats with coloured balls, great food, tunnels to scamper in and most importantly, the rats will not be isolated. This differed from the original experiment, where the rats were alone in an empty cage. So, Bruce went about studying the behaviours of the rats in Rat Park.