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The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too 250

Phoghat writes "Research scientists have used many animal species in investigating mind-altering drugs, but it may come as a surprise to learn that animals in the wild — from starlings to reindeer — also make use of psychoactive substances of their own accord. It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness, and man may well have found his way to some of his favourite recreational drugs by observing the behaviour of animals."
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The Animal World Has Its Junkies, Too

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  • Voice of Title (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ModernGeek ( 601932 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:20AM (#34668984)
    As a website that revolves around science, I find the headline offensive. The labeling of a person, or animal as a "junkie" is both unprofessional and crude. "Addictive tendencies found in non-human animals" would have been more appropriate. I'll note this incident in my journal and hope for an improvement in the near future. Good bidding and happy festivities this holiday season.
  • by garyisabusyguy ( 732330 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:38AM (#34669016)

    I was just imagining some puritanical speech about rejecting your animal nature and elevating people above base instinct

    funny how that never works out, how hiding our human nature to enjoy intoxicants, sex, and all the other naughty things that people are prone to do just results in layers of lies and social artifice

    the remedies that the puritans insist on are are inconvenient at best, in the case of blue laws, and deadly at at worse in the case of stonings

    how long is it going to take the us to get over trying to enforce puritanical beliefs about intoxicants and find a better way to work with basic human/animal nature

  • O RLY? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Sunday December 26, 2010 @04:50AM (#34669122) Homepage

    It seems that many of these species have a natural desire to experience altered states of consciousness

    States of WHAT? Animals have consciousness now?

  • by Balinares ( 316703 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:01AM (#34669394)

    > States of WHAT? Animals have consciousness now?

    No, it popped up MAGICALLY in us apes at some point; someone throw on a switch and BAM, consciousness overnight. MAGIC, I tell you.

    Or, you know, maybe consciousness is not a binary variable, but, like most everything about the real world, a continuum, and like most things about the real world, various species have achieved various levels of it? You know? Just sayin'.

  • Re:O RLY? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:21AM (#34669442)
    Care to provide a source for that claim, other than your ass? Consciousness, as I suspect you mean it, is roughly synonymous with self-awareness, although I don't think it's quite that simple. In any case, that has been observed in a number of animals besides homo sapiens, such as certain apes and bottlenose dolphins. Of course due to the nature of the whole concept, it's pretty much impossible to conclusively prove any entity is in possession of consciousness, so cling to that if you wish.
  • by vandan ( 151516 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @07:37AM (#34669464) Homepage

    It's a common perception ... and totally wrong ... that psychoactive users are junkies. Far from it. I have participated in multiple voluntary studies with the Australian National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, where they study recreational drugs ( E, LSD, etc ) ... and have asked them each time what they thought of my habits, and that of my peers. Each time they said the same thing ... that it was a pleasure to work with people who actually had their life together ... that the real 'junkies' use heroin, alcohol, cocain, etc ... and the recreational drug users, in contrast, are well in control of their activities, and leading productive lives. In fact I would go a step further and say that psychoactive drug users have their life together far more than the average person.

  • by damaged_sectors ( 1690438 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @08:31AM (#34669612)

    It is sad to see it posted. I see nothing but hear-say and conjecture.

    Accompanied by the smell of shit? Hint: it's because you've got your head up your arse.

    Nothing in it is actual scientific evidence of these happenings except vague references. I question what this articles intention is except to perhaps attempt to make a case for drugs, which almost seems like a drug addicts logical reasoning after being blitzed on weed and watching a "National Geographic" documentary on something.

    What is truly sad is a/clowns like yourself - who abuse the ability to read by not researching, and disregard anything that stands in the way of their deep emotional investment in stupid beliefs

    Kind of like those that persist with the belief that nature is pure and humans are sinners - we are all animals, just some more "civilized" than others. Next week - perverts insist not all animals are monogamous and heterosexual, and murderers claim animals sometimes kill more than they eat.

    Of course (recreational) drugs are just a crutch for those that can't cope with reality... and spouting patently, and demonstrably, bullshit opinions like yours isn't avoiding reality?

    Or is this a "god" thing - the same one that made the drugs and the capacity to be affected by them?

  • Re:Voice of Title (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Trinn ( 523103 ) <> on Sunday December 26, 2010 @09:10AM (#34669694)

    I am hoping the headline was a joke, done to suggest thoughts of *intentional* drug users rather than the mythological addict, essentially hyperbolic negation of the intended result. Of course I could be wrong, we do live in a world where people presume that just because someone else likes to do something they don't quite understand it must be evil wrong immoral deadly and antisocial.

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <{tms} {at} {}> on Sunday December 26, 2010 @11:07AM (#34670068) Homepage

    It wasn't that somebody just decided "You know, we should just not have fun!", but there are reasons why these things are considered bad.

    And most of them revolve around "that's something the tribe over the hill does, not something we do." Opium is something the heathen Chinese use, and marihuana is for Mexicans and for (gasp!) jazz musicians; us white folks drink whiskey. Taboos are an irrational social phenomenon, not the result of reasoned consideration of the effects of various behaviors.

    I'm surprised that this article is being presented as news. Animal drug-seeking behavior has been know about for a long time. Psychopharmacologist Ronald K. Siegel [] wrote an excellent book about it over twenty years ago.

    Sex, for instance, is perfectly fine within the lifelong bond of marriage

    And it's also perfectly fine outside of it.

  • by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @11:17AM (#34670090)

    It wasn't that somebody just decided "You know, we should just not have fun!", but there are reasons why these things are considered bad.

    Are considered bad by some. Please do not use the passive in trying to imply this is an universal or even widely-held attitude.

    The first hint is your conscience, but the reason behind it is that they are simply, as the Bible explains, inconvenient.

    My conscience condemns neither sex, drugs or any other source of pleasure. It only condemns hurting or harming people. The Bible condemns adultery, but neither sex, alcohol nor pleasure in general.

    Sex, for instance, is perfectly fine within the lifelong bond of marriage. However, when we use it as a source of pleasure, we find ourselves in all sorts of painful and distracting situations.

    Interesting contrast. Are you implying that sex is not pleasurable with a lifelong partner, or did you simply not think your post through? And even if you are promiscuous, that doesn't mean that you will not use your brains in sexual matters, and thus succesfully avoid "painful and distracting" situations.

    Also, no partner is lifelong, unless you happen to die in the same airplane crash or something.

    As for intoxication, there are several problems. Other than the fact that you are out of control (depending on the intoxicant),

    Like Hell you are. You simply get an excuse for bad behaviour.

    you also have the tendency to get wrapped up in it and become less productive.

    You mean my overlords get less profit from me if I enjoy life occasionally? Oh noes!

    One may argue that there are drugs that are not adictive and cause no lasting damage. That may be the case, so they may not be so bad. The real problem is trying to define your life by pleasure, which is fleeting. It is one of the things, such as money, fame, etc. that people set their sites on that have no lasting benefit. In that sense, it is inconvenient at best.

    Define "benefit". No matter how hard you try, it eventually reduces down to getting pleasure and/or avoiding pain.

    Also, I can't help but remember a book on "christian sexual ethics" I once read. It had a chapter on masturbation, which first used rather tortured logic to condemn it as sin, then spent the next 20 pages describing how to center your life around not masturbating: do not take hot showers, never be alone in a room, etc.

    Even the most obsessive pervert occasionally thinks of something besides the pleasures of the flesh, but a puritan never will. The book made me realize that, no matter how worthless it otherwise was. It's better to simply satisfy your desires and then go do something else than to spend every waking hour fighting against them. And, as it happens, the Bible - specifically, Paul's letters - say the same :).

    I'm just saying that they are a potential snare, and I thank God that He loves and forgives even the worst and will remove them from the things they can't leave on their own.

    Yeah, he even forgives people who say "they" when talking of those caught by tempting snares. Here, have a link []; may you reflect on it and this [] and gain insight.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @11:51AM (#34670222)

    Did you ever consider that people may not be comfortable attaching their names or even their more commonly used nicknames to posts stating that they have used drugs and that they considered said drug usage to be mostly positive? There are plenty of people who have to pretend to be anti-drugs publically because their employer, friends and many others would never approve of anything short of "Drugs are bad, mmkay?".

  • by devent ( 1627873 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @12:05PM (#34670268) Homepage

    The problem with the law is that we spend the money exact the opposite way than we should and, if you watched the video, it's just a big money sink which no positive results at all. Money we could spend on fight crimes like murder, rape, etc.

    Right now the gangs and mafia makes the money and we spend a lot of money to combat those and we spend a lot of money to treat the drug addicts (either with a treatment programs or with prison).

    With legalized drugs we would make the money (i.e. the state) that the gangs and mafia is making, we wouldn't need to spend billions in fighting those and so we would have plenty of money left to treat the drug addicts.

    It works with tobacco, alcohol, gambling and porn, why are we outlawing drugs?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 26, 2010 @02:39PM (#34670954)

    Get fucked, you cryptofascist!

    Or to put it another way, I guess you are one of those who will not listen to criticism of the police or military unless it comes from current or past service members too?

    Most of the shit that goes round about drugs comes from those who have never done them. Or they have, but they pretend their choice of drugs aren't drugs, they are "drinks" or "medicines", etc.. You don't appear to be dismissing what they have to say, so your agenda is actually quite clear.

    A different AC to the one you are trying to attack.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Sunday December 26, 2010 @03:30PM (#34671268)

    Then, I guess he is not so proud of using drugs, now is he?

    I don't think he/she stated that he/she was "proud" of his/her drug use, but even if the parent poster is proud or in no way feels guilty about his/her prior drug use that doesn't mean that it is without consequence to publicly state this fact.

    There are plenty of people out there who would be happy to force someone who has not used drugs for years into rehab, or have them fired because "we don't hire druggies". That's not to mention just generally being viewed with suspicion by your peers. And if you have kids and social services find out about any prior drug use (not counting severe alcoholism though) they're very likely to put your kids in foster care (at least around here). Oh, and if you are divorced with shared custody you can bet your former spouse will use any and all drug use in the past as an excuse to get full custody of the kids.

    "Free speech" doesn't mean "Free speech as long as you reveal your identity up front".

We declare the names of all variables and functions. Yet the Tao has no type specifier.