the IDEOLOGY

#01 Editor's Letter

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In Rat Park, all the rats tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. The game changer was that these rats with good lives (given that Rat Park was heaven to them) did not like the drugged water. They avoided it and consumed less than a quarter of the drugs that the isolated rats did. None of the rats in Rat Park died. This was a completely different result from the solitary and confined rats, who probably grew unhappy and turned into addicts.  Bruce argues this discovery is a huge contradiction both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by a hedonistic culture, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage. He furthered the experiment and found out that rats in a state of heavy addiction, when in Rat Park, went into withdrawal and ultimately stopped using drugs and managed to integrate with other rats who were not addicted.  Johann Hari states that this discovery provides an insight that delves deeper into the need to understand addicts. Human beings are social creatures and we have a need to bond and form connections. It is where we get our satisfaction and satiate a sense of emptiness.  Professor Peter Cohen said that when people cannot connect with each other, they will make connections elsewhere and in the process, form addictions. A heroin addict has chosen to bond with heroin because they could not find connection as satisfying elsewhere.  So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection. When we have been told to shun the addicts who are unable to integrate back to society, we are creating more isolation and pushing them deeper into their addiction. We need to learn how to build a system that can help addicts reconnect with the world, and in doing so leaving behind their addiction. We need connections and we need love, but our modern society is a society that negates social connections. We have become focused on materialistic gratification and in seeking comfort in isolation instead of reaching out for human connection.  Johann Hari argues that recovery from addiction takes more than the effort of an individual. We have to talk about “social recovery” , where society comes together to recover from the sickness of isolation. I strongly believe that this does not just apply to the problem of addiction. When the society is able to look at problems of poverty, homelessness and addiction as interlinked issues and solve them using the ideology of connection and solidarity, we will end up closer than ever, forging connections that provide comfort and solace.    Deeper insights and research can be found in Johann Hari’s book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

In Rat Park, all the rats tried both water bottles, because they didn’t know what was in them. The game changer was that these rats with good lives (given
that Rat Park was heaven to them) did not like the drugged water. They avoided it and consumed less than a quarter of the drugs that the isolated rats did. None of the rats in Rat Park died. This was a completely different result from the solitary and confined rats, who probably grew unhappy and turned into addicts.

Bruce argues this discovery is a huge contradiction both to the right-wing view that addiction is a moral failing caused by a hedonistic culture, and the liberal view that addiction is a disease taking place in a chemically hijacked brain. In fact, he argues, addiction is an adaptation. It’s not you. It’s your cage. He furthered the experiment and found out that rats in a state of heavy addiction, when in Rat Park, went into withdrawal and ultimately stopped using drugs and managed to integrate with other rats who were not addicted.

Johann Hari states that this discovery provides an insight that delves deeper into the need to understand addicts. Human beings are social creatures and we have a need to bond and form connections. It is where we get our satisfaction and satiate a sense of emptiness.

Professor Peter Cohen said that when people cannot connect with each other, they will make connections elsewhere and in the process, form addictions. A heroin addict has chosen to bond with heroin because they could not find connection as satisfying elsewhere.

So the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is human connection. When we have been told to shun the addicts who are unable to integrate back to society, we are creating more isolation and pushing them deeper into their addiction. We need to learn how to build a system that can help addicts reconnect with the world, and in doing so leaving behind their addiction. We need connections and we need love, but our modern society is a society that negates social connections. We have become focused on materialistic gratification and in seeking comfort in isolation instead of reaching out for human connection.

Johann Hari argues that recovery from addiction takes more than the effort of an individual. We have to talk about “social recovery” , where society comes together to recover from the sickness of isolation. I strongly believe that this does not just apply to the problem of addiction. When the society is able to look at problems of poverty, homelessness and addiction as interlinked issues and solve them using the ideology of connection and solidarity, we will end up closer than ever, forging connections that provide comfort and solace.

Deeper insights and research can be found in Johann Hari’s book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs

On Addiction

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.

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#02 Editor's Letter

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#03 Editor’s Letter

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