Drug addiction is a disease which where there is uncontrollable and compulsive drug use despite the negative impact and changes that it can cause to a brain. The researches in drugs whether curative, painkillers and those highly abused, is done on animals and not on humans beings directly. Animals in drug research are used as models to avoid the effects of these untested drugs on human beings (Barbara C. Bigelow, 2006 , p 179). Using animal in research has highly helped researchers to understand better how drugs can change the brain’s normal functioning. The drug to be examined to be addictive is taken and examined thoroughly by checking its reaction on the animals.
The first thing to do in determining if suspected drug “X” could be addictive to human beings is to determine if the animals could be addicted when that drug in put in their blood circulation (David P. Friedman, 2003, p 201). This experiment can be carried out with an animal like a rat, and the rat should be put in an environment where it can get access to the drug being tested at any time. Then the results will be seen on the rat’s behavior after taking that drug if the rat seeks and take drugs more and more times, then that drug could be addictive to human beings as well. The animal which is used as the model can be put in an enclosed place like a room and its behavior is monitored after the drug has been subjected to it. After giving the dug in test to the animal then more of it is put in the room where the animal is, there should be enough food in the room so that the animal doesn’t use the drug as food.
In the experiment, the study should be carried out to determine which location specifically in the brain where drug addiction will involve. Moreover, an initial pathway known as the reward (dopamine neurons) which conveys information to the nucleus accumbens should be checked; this pathway can be activated by natural phenomena like; sex, water, and food consumed but abuse of drugs are capable of bypassing this system (Ghodse, 2010,p 177). From research, abuse of drugs affects our learning and memory system. This can lead to some characters/behavior associated with the use of the drug will elicit a craving for the drug in the brain of the addict.
Currently, researchers have found how changes in the brain result in wiling full drug consumption by the addicts which indicates drug addiction and scientist will start knowing why some group of people can be addicted than another group of people. All the research on the drug will wholly depend on animal used as the model. But the problem is the shortage of animals model for the research of drug addiction stuff, since not every animal can be used to give the relevant result expected. And due to this shortage of animal models in research we can rest our blames on it for lack of more therapeutics. When these animals are taken as models, researchers will aim to create the artificial environment in the animal to resemble that of the human being (Goldstein, 2001, p 301).
Some of the pros or reason why the animal model should be encouraged in drug research may include the following; firstly, use of animal will help scientist to get a drug, its treatment and even some of its effects on human beings without imposing the drug on the human being before knowing its effects. With this many treatments and researches have been made possible. Treatments like for cancer, ARVs, vaccines, insulin among others have been successful because of use of animals as models.
Secondly, use of animals has greatly improved man’s health; with animals as models research can be done on a disease and its cure as well which will help to improve the life of human being. Thirdly, it will ensure drugs are safe for use by the human being; some drugs can be very harmful if not first tested its impact on life before exposing to human’s body (Khan, 2011, p 299). This will reduce harm in man making man to consume recommended and harmless dugs. Lastly, some researchers use animals as a model because these animals are considered similar to human beings, hence will give the same reactions or results that those drugs will have on the human being.
Even though animal models have several advantages in their application in drug research, it also has some cons or reasons why animal modes should be discouraged. These are some of the cons for the animal model. Firstly, when these animals are used, they are either killed or put in captivity. The experiment is done on several animals and in some cases they are killed after or during the research. Effects of some drugs can even kill the animals. Secondly, use of animals as the model is very expensive since these animals must be fed, treated when sick, housed, and also the price of those animals must as well be considered.
Thirdly, it not fully to assume that animals and human beings are the same as far as reaction with these chemicals is concerned. In reality, animals are not the same with man and their reactions to these drugs will not be the same (L.E. Glynn, 2012, p 255). The main criticism is that many believe that animal testing should not be relied on since some animals do not live in natural environment hence they will not have the same result as in the natural environment. Lastly, once the animal has been used and not killed it can never be used for anything again like consumption.
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Goldstein, A. (2001). Addiction: From Biology to Drug Policy. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.
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