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US government spends millions administering street drugs to monkeys in the name of research

Tuesday, June 14, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: research, monkeys, health news

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(NaturalNews) Government abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars takes many forms. Perhaps one of the most outrageous is the countless millions that are spent in the form of grants that fund "scientific research."

A recent report by CNS News explains that, just in the past decade, the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has spent more than $3.6 million on research involving the administration of street drugs like cocaine and heroin to innocent monkeys, whose behaviors are then observed over lengthy periods of time.

The purpose of such research, of course, sounds pretty good on paper. By studying the "physiological effects" of the drugs on monkeys, both researchers and the government claim that better drug treatment models for humans will eventually be developed.

But does endlessly funding the same seemingly-obvious studies, where monkeys are trained to develop serious drug addition, really achieve anything significant or breakthrough?

In 2001, for instance, the NIH gave more than $328,000 to a drug research project initiated by Dr. Marilyn E. Carroll, a psychiatry professor from the University of Minnesota. Entitled "A Primate Model of Drug Abuse: Intervention Strategies," Carroll's study, which is still taking place, involves feeding rhesus monkeys cocaine, ethanol, heroin, methadone, and phencyclidine (PCP), and observing how these drugs affect the menstrual cycle of female monkey, among other things.

The findings, which basically confirm what everyone already knows about drug addiction, are obvious, but the NIH is still funding the project to this day, having recently supplied another $386,907 in funding back in March.

"My research is directed toward developing behavioral and pharmacological methods of reducing and preventing drug abuse," writes Carroll on her website in defense of the research. "Animals are trained to self-administer drugs that humans abuse, and several phases of the addiction process are modeled, such as acquisition, maintenance, withdrawal, craving, and relapse."

When asked by CNS News how it would explain to the average American household, which according to the US Census Bureau earns roughly $52,000 a year, how it justifies spending millions on such research, the NIH claims it will eventually alleviate "the financial burden on society caused by drug addition" by discovering new treatment solutions. Dr. Carroll, however, who was asked the same question via telephone voice mail and email, never provided a response to CNS News.

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