bruce alexander

bruce alexander

2011 interview – dealing with addiction

3 stage: 1\ possessed by devil 2\ brain problem (medicalizing it) 3\ social problem

5 min – the globalization of addiction – drowning in addiction

6 min – ours turns out to be a society that for all its benefits and all the things we love and produces.. it has a big side effect – one addiction, one depression.. all the solutions we have – aren’t going to solve it.. its social

we’re not going to get out of this by mediating.. but by looking at what society does to people and remedying it

taking capitalism… and domesticating it… so it doesn’t do so much harm to our children

a link between addiction and our free market system

8 min –  these native people had all kinds of problems.. but didn’t have addiction as far as we can tell… because they didn’t have a particular kind of society which we had imposed upon them.. and since we have imposed one upon them..

vancouver – as case study – city with biggest drug addiction problem in canada – huge amount of family not born there.. less family structure

13 min – most people i ask – what’s the biggest addiction – say – money

15 min – on a cure


intro’d via Johann Hari‘s chasing the scream.. rat park..

hari addiction law

hari present in society law

hari rat park law


find/follow Bruce:

wikipedia small

Bruce K. Alexander (born 20 December 1939) is a psychologist and professor emeritus from Vancouver, BC, Canada. He has taught and conducted research on the psychology of addiction at Simon Fraser University since 1970. He retired from active teaching in 2005. Alexander and SFU colleagues conducted a series of experiments into drug addiction known as the Rat Park experiments. He has written two books: Peaceful Measures: Canada’s Way Out of the War on Drugs(1990) and The Globalization of Addiction: A Study in Poverty of the Spirit (2008).

on rat park:

The Rat Park experiments, published in psychopharmacology journals in the late 1970s and early 1980s, flatly contradicted the dominant view of addiction in their day. They quickly disappeared from view, having evoked only negative responses in the mainstream press and journals. Lauren Slater’s controversial psychology book, Opening Skinner’s Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century helped to bring them back to public attention in 2005. These experiments are now widely known and cited.

The Rat Park experiments were among the first to show the error in the once dominant myth that certain drugs, particularly the opiates, convert all or most users into drug addicts. In the 1970s, this myth was said to be demonstrated by the high consumption of opiates and stimulants of rats isolated in specially modified Skinner Boxes that allowed drug self-administration. Alexander and his colleagues demonstrated experimentally that rats isolated in cages of about the same size as Skinner Boxes consume far more morphine than rats that are socially housed in Rat Park. Subsequent research has confirmed that social housing reduces drug intake in rats and that the dominant myth was wrong both for rats and for human beings. Nonetheless, the myth is still embedded in popular culture.

Addiction as a social problem

Alexander then explored the broader implications of Rat Park experiments for human beings. The main conclusions of his experimental and historical research since 1985 can be summarized as follows:

  1. Drug addiction is only a small corner of the addiction problem. Most serious addictions do not involve either drugs or alcohol
  2. Addiction is more a social problem than an individual problem. When socially integrated societies are fragmented by internal or external forces, addiction of all sorts increases dramatically, becoming almost universal in extremely fragmented societies.
  3. Addiction arises in fragmented societies because people use it as a way of adapting to extreme social dislocation. As a form of adaptation, addiction is neither a disease that can be cured nor a moral error that can be corrected by punishment and education.

his site on rat park:

globalization of addiction site:

[book not at library, no recommendable, and costs 40 some]


feb 2014

Interview with Teresa Kuhn on Radio 1370

2 min – on not having a place here now.. a terrible need for that place.. goes very well with addiction

4 min – addiction to spectator sports, to money, to…. the spectrum of addiction

5 min – on cultures that didn’t have addictions

8 min – everybody has a story to tell about addiction

14 min – these weren’t perfect people.. but they were highly connected to people and to animals and to land… – so no signs of addiction

16 min – on having schedules.. keeping us busy.. ie: work, school, but no connectedness.. so need to fill that hole..

17 min – on the function of addiction – it does have a function.. it fills up that hole.. can’t stop it – because they don’t have an alternative..

rat park..

19 min – official point of view – that the drug causes a switch to happen in a person’s brain – so they have no choice but to keep taking… this is the idea behind all the treatment fixes.. the flood is getting wider (more things to get addicted to) and deeper (more and more people) – … in my opinion this is wrong..

43 min – what kind of a relationship can you have with nature.. and with family.. when they are both falling apart…

i think those people who we think make really stupid choices.. we don’t understand what’s going on fully… so many are disconnected.

single story ness

44 min – on – even when/if we fix the drug law/problem… we’ll still have the disconnected ness and the problem

opposite of addiction hari



realm of hungry ghosts



3/15/16 6:45 AM
After last one went viral, somebody has made another animated video based on my book (I didn’t write this one)
via @piikzorg


7 min – addicts are not a result of chemistry but of problems in our society ..
7 min – expand on b alexander findings –
deep enough

let’s do this firstfree art-ists.

for (blank)’s sake

a nother way


Bruce and Gabor: in trailer: age of disconnection


from gabor and russell on virus ness here:

Pandemics & Infodemics – Wisdom In The Time Of Covid-19 | Russell Brand & Dr. Gabor Mate – 25 min video []

17 min – g: bruce alexander .. written 2nd book on addiction.. called – globalization of addiction.. about dislocation.. addiction is mark of social dislocation.. people were dislocated from the commons.. gave rise to gin craze

very deep.. perhaps we try to get commoning ness back..

bruce.. almaas holes law..


Dan Small