Posts tagged drugs
Episode 19 - Bruce Alexander: The Rat Park Guy


Dr. Bruce Alexander is a highly regarded psychologist and retired professor who has years of knowledge in the area of addiction. He offers ideas of how to solve the  drug crisis that so many are facing today.

Dr. Alexander had moved to Vancouver in 1970 and at that time it was in the midst of the Heroin Crisis where he met "real live junkies". He shares his findings with the Rat Park experiments: taking drug addicted rats in solitude, compared to free rats in a thriving rat park. He talks about the invisible isolation people can have and how fear can take away our critical thinking capacity.


- Bruce and Matt have a fascinating discussion of the disappearance of the Rat Park Experiments. Drug Addicted Solitary Confined rats vs free Rat Park rats and how that can or can’t relate to people. He shares his knowledge of rat babysitting, and how rats actually build their own culture and social life! 

- Bruce and Matt discuss the importance of  a persons identity,  even if it's a somewhat proud "junkie".  They talk about youth being raised by peers instead of parents and how that relates in gangs. 

- Bruce talks about the 1970 disease theory of addiction based on withdrawal symptoms and being an "irresistible drug." 

- They chat about how Doctors and Police now have the discretion in how to deal with addicted individuals. Police can decide to charge or not and doctors can decide to prescribe or not. 

- They agree that the narrative is changing, and although there are solutions that may work, people may not be ready to hear those solutions just yet.

- How terror can cripple critical or wise thinking.


"Everybody has to be Somebody."


" We are in the midst of a Paradigm Shift."

"People who use drugs, to the degree that they hurt themselves, have a Need, and drugs fulfill that need. We’ve got to do something about where that need comes from."

" The rat park makes the Isolation visible, but human cages are sometimes Invisible."

" Harm Reduction is Vital."

" In the 19th Century you could buy opioids in the store, called Mrs.Winslows Soothing Syrup. My prediction is we will go back to that. We can't even talk about it yet, because of the panic. It takes away our critical thinking capacity.”


Bruce Alexander Homepage:

Canadian Research Initiative of Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairies website: Facebook page: Twitter feed:

Music provided by Redbull DJ Champ, Charly Hustle:

Episode 02 - Time to Legalize? Author, Bill Bogart, thinks so.


Bill Bogart is University Professor and Professor of Law at the University of Windsor, as well as the author of Off the Street: Legalizing Drugs, which explores research-based drug policy. Bill is interested in the actual impact laws have on socioeconomic conditions. Over the last eight years, Bill has also written books on gambling and obesity and was struck how drugs have been not been subject to the same regulatory and educational approach as the other two. In this episode, he makes a case for the legalization of all recreational drugs while using medical supervision and education to reduce harm among users.


- Bill mentioned that there is no legal source of cocaine currently available. However, he wanted  to note that this was a mistake and that there is still a legal supply of cocaine, specifically as a topical pain reliever. England legally accesses the drug for that purpose.


-Bill discusses how criminalization has not driven down drug use amoungst the population.

-The effectiveness of regulation and education in combating smoking.

-Moving away from criminalization and toward harm reduction.

-Addressing safe injection sites and why they're an indication of changing attitudes.

-How legalizing and regulating drugs will not only reduce crime but contribute to the economy.

-Moving away from abstinence-only drug education and toward discussing moderation and risk-assessment; "Permit, but discourage."

-How do we approach the legalization of party drugs such as cocaine?

-Differentiated between use and harmful use, and the important of introducing a social support system alongside legalization.

-Why the United States' drug policies could negatively impact Canada's changing ones.


"Shifting behavioural patterns... is a long, tough, complicated battle."
"Use and criminal sanctions are not very closely related."
"What is it in your life that you want to use heroin to try to blot it out?"
"The opioid crisis is forcing us in this emergency context to face drug usage."
"The silver lining of the very, very dark cloud of the opioid crisis is that we are actually moving to a context of legalization."
"If we legalize drugs, we confront the thugs!"
"I fear the notion that legalization will somehow become equated with approval."
"Anybody who thinks that capital punishment is going to solve this is from the dark side of the Moon."


Bill's homepage -

Bill's Twitter handle - @wbogart2

Off the Street: Legalizing Drugs page at Dundurn -

Official Say Know homepage -

Canadian Research Initiative of Substance Misuse (CRISM) Prairies website - Facebook page - Twitter feed -

Music provided by Redbull DJ Champ, Charly Hustle -