Deadly Doses Funded with Deadly Dollars: Recreational Drug and Addiction Experiments on Animals PART TWO A Special Report by Animal Justice Project USA, March 2016
“Petri dish and animal models often fail to provide good ways to mimic disease or predict how drugs will work in humans, resulting in much wasted time and money while patients wait for therapies.” Excerpt taken from NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2016-2020
In our second report, Animal Justice Project USA has uncovered further examples of a shocking waste of taxpayer money used to addict animals to recreational drugs as part of our “Deadly Doses: A Legal Low” campaign. The information discovered by studying over ninety-five protocols from twenty-one prestigious universities appears to belie the recent strategy plan (NIH-Wide Strategic Plan Fiscal Years 2016 -2020) released by the National Institute of Health (NIH) at the end of 2015 (1). The NIH plan states they have fewer funds to allocate to research, and therefore have to be extremely careful what the money is used for. However, the report does recognize the need to fund new technologies for biomedical research that does not use animals. More than seventy-five percent of the
protocols studied are currently funded and have been funded for at least the ten years if not more. These experiments are only the tip of a very large iceberg of government funded recreational drug experiments on animals. A majority of animals used in these experiments are rats and mice, animals that are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act (2) and remain uncounted in U.S. laboratories. Hence, a large number of research papers do not indicate how many animals are killed for any one study. Monkeys and rabbits are also commonly used in drug addiction experiments (3). Animals are subjected to extremely invasive surgeries such as having electrodes implanted into their brains, and catheters implanted into their bodies (catheters are used to pump drugs in more conveniently). Animals are forced onto hot plates to test pain thresholds, subjected to electric shocks, starved, and isolated in endless torture resulting in their death. The researchers who are recipients of the government grants have built a career on animal abuse funded by taxpayers with no real oversight or accountability to produce cures or therapies for human addiction. Please join our campaign to end this scientific fraud by urging your representative in Congress to call for an END to recreational drug experiments on animals including those that are funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse,
Case Studies As one of the largest recipients of government funding for recreational drug experiments on animals, UCLA has received over $31 million for the past twenty-two years to addict rats and mice to opioids (4.) In one protocol, genetically altered baby rats were used to measure how withdrawal from opiates affects the “reward” center of the brain (5.) The six to nine week-old rats had increasing doses of morphine injected directly into their brain tissue twice daily for four days. They were then placed in specially designed chambers to see if they chose cocaine as a reward. The rats were finally killed and their brains were studied. This same study has been funded for two decades at the cost of millions (6). The laboratories at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda have an extensive animal experimentation program that is funded with taxpayer money (7). In order to study if environment or restricting fatty foods increases the chances of relapse in former human addicts they awarded themselves over $18 million to addict rats and squirrel monkeys to heroin and cocaine. These animals who had previously been forcibly addicted to heroin, alcohol, methamphetamine, and cocaine, were again subjected to a regimen of addiction to heroin and cocaine to study the neurotransmitters in their brains. This was apparently intended to help indicate which neurotransmitters were involved when addicts relapsed. The recipient of this grant has been working on the same or similar experiment for nearly ten years (8). Over $8 million have been awarded to Caltech in California to use animals to develop new therapies to help people stop smoking (9). One project alone has been funded for ten years where genetically altered mice had mini pumps surgically implanted into them to deliver between 0.4mg to 2mg of nicotine at any one time. The amount of nicotine injected was supposed to match the highest amount of nicotine found in a human’s blood. Before any nicotine was injected, the mice were put on a hot plate of 55C to determine how quickly they had a reaction to the heat. They were then taken off the hot plate and, after thirty minutes, they were pumped with a nicotine solution and re-placed on the hot plate to see if their reaction time to pain changed. At the conclusion of the experiment, the mice were anesthetized, injected in the heart with a Paraformaldehyde solution, and decapitated. The University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Research Triangle Institute has received over $5.6 million for the past fourteen years for one experiment to see if synthetic drugs like bath salts was as addictive as methamphetamine (10). Two-month-old rats were starved to 85 per cent of their normal body weight to train them to press levers for food. The baby rats were divided into two groups and had catheters implanted, which delivered 1.0mg of methamphetamine via injection or a mix of designer drugs. The results concluded that methamphetamine did not produce the same results as designer street drugs like bath salts and Flakka (the zombie drug), and more experiments were needed to test for abuse potential of synthetic drugs in order to determine how to regulate them.
UC Berkeley has received nearly $4 million since 2005 to use monkeys in addiction experiments (11). In one experiment, mainly undertaken to test another researcher’s hypothesis on memory, macaque monkeys (macaque simiae) were deprived of water to “motivate” them to perform tasks (12). They were then restrained in primate chairs facing a monitor on which colored squares appeared; if they pulled the correct lever they were “rewarded” with ten drops of juice. Electrodes had been implanted into their brains so their brain activity could be measured. This experiment was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study the underlying characteristics of addiction and how people fail to exert control over choices. For the past five years, the University of Arkansas received over $4.6 million to use rats in methamphetamine experiments (13). In one experiment alone, seventy-four male rats were put on a restricted diet and implanted with a “bipolar stainless steel electrode in the medial forebrain.” The rats were then “trained” to respond with electric shocks to the brain for forty-five minutes at a time each day. The rats were divided into groups and had mini-pumps implanted so that methamphetamine could be injected. One group had 0.3mg of methamphetamine injected and another had 10mg injected. This experiment was designed to see what effect chronic methamphetamine withdrawal has on the brain. Scripps Research Institute located in San Diego is another huge recipient of government funds (14). Between 2005 and 2012 Michael A. Taffe was given over $2.6 million to get monkeys drunk (15). Young monkeys, aged approximately four years old, who were obtained from notorious primate dealer Primate Products, were given alcohol in Tang, Kool-Aid, or lemonade drinks five days a week over a ten month period. This experiment was designed to create a model of young men binge drinking after school. The monkeys were then tested using a computer program with a monitor placed against their cage to see if chronic alcohol use impairs perception, learning, and memory. Thirty minutes later, after being dosed with alcohol, the monkeys were anesthetized with ketamine and blood samples were taken. The same computer program has been used on humans many times, but this protocol used monkeys to reduce the variability of other life factors. The experiment concluded by stating the data obtained confirmed that chronic drinking impairs memory and response time that are similar to trends found in humans. Unsatisfied with these results, the researchers propose designing a drinking schedule that resembles binge drinking for a long period over the weekend (i.e., partying), and then also propose to compare female monkeys to male monkeys.
UC San Francisco has received $1.7 million for the past six years to test opioids on rats (16). The research has been carried out to enable researchers to investigate the brain circuits are used in addiction and why opioid use is addictive. The researchers hypothesize this experiment may lead to better therapeutic methods to treat addiction. The baby and adult male rats used were anesthetized with ketamine and decapitated. Studies were then carried out on brain slices. These animals are apparently so worthless to the experimenters, the numbers used are not mentioned, as with many protocols uncovered by Animal Justice Project. Since 2011, Sean Bjorn Ostlund who transferred from UCLA to UC Irvine has been awarded $1.5 million for the same experiment to addict rats to cocaine. (17). Rats were either injected or forced to self- administer intravenous cocaine via a surgically implanted pump to try to determine if the way cocaine is administered is significant to addiction. The addicted rats were then subjected to a series of motivation experiments involving food. As rats do not naturally get addicted to any drugs any conclusion to this experiment is meaningless to real addicts. During the period of 2013 to 2016, the University of Texas Health Science Center was granted nearly $1.3 million by the National Institute on Drug Addiction to perform invasive methamphetamine addiction experiments on mice (18). The eight to ten week-old mice had catheters surgically implanted into their jugular veins. The catheter was connected to tubing, which in turn was connected to a pump implanted between their shoulder blades. They were then subjected to experiments where they were placed in a chamber and depending on which nose poke they chose, methamphetamine was injected into them via the catheter. The experiment states the mice were not subjected to food deprivation (as is common in these experiments) because the researchers felt it negatively impacted the results: and so surely other similar experiments involving food deprivation produce false results. Approximately 33 per cent of the mice used were not included in the conclusion because their catheters became infected or their performance was not reliable! The mice were killed after 12 â€“ 36 days of experimentation.
Conclusion The experiments listed are just a few of the thousands of drug addiction experiments being carried out on animals and funded with taxpayer money by government agencies such as the National Institute of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Many of the researchers have long careers focused on the same experiment or similar ones, which indicates an entrenched system of repetitiousness. The millions of rats and mice used are not covered under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and remain unaccounted for. Animals that are not covered under the AWA are subject to the least amount of scrutiny, if any, by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors, and therefore can be subjected to unnecessary pain and stress without repercussion. In simple terms, the basis of all the protocols Animal Justice Project USA researched is to attempt to discover the underlying causes of addiction, and what region of the brain is involved so as to facilitate a discovery of a cure. Even with the possibility of a potential cure for human addiction, it seems unlikely it will cure what motivates humans to take drugs, i.e. poverty, loss of hope, abuse, despair, depression, social status, etc. Any â€˜cureâ€™ will ultimately become a mere band-aid. If Government agencies such as the NIH are feeling a fiscal impact of a changing economy, and are endeavoring to allocate resources for investigating applicable treatments for human issues, it is pertinent that they END the current policy of funding recreational drug experiments on animals.
REACT TODAY! Visit www.animaljusticeproject.com/usa to contact your representative in Congress.
REFERENCES (1) NIH (2016) NIH Strategic Plan 2016-2020. National Institute of Health [online] www.nih.gov/sites/default/ files/about-nih/strategic-plan-fy2016-2020-508.pdf [Accessed 5 February 2016] (2) USDA (2013) Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Regulations. United States Department of Agriculture [online] www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/Animalper cent20Careper cent20Blueper cent20Bookper cent20-per cent202013per cent20-per cent20FINAL.pdf [Accessed 5 February 2016] (3) Wikipedia (2016) [online] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_testing [Accessed 5 February 2016] (4) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8685212&icde=0 (5) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm?icde=0&aid=8685212 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (6) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8685212&icde=0 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (7) NIH (2014) Grants & Funding. National Institute of Health [online] www.grants.nih.gov/grants/policy/air/general_public.htm [Accessed 5 February 2016] (8) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=9155727&icde=27710669 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (9) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8311764&icde=26995918 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (10) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=7229518&icde=26941036 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (11) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8688976&icde=28035942 (12) Lara, A. and Wallis, J. D. (2014) Executive control processes underlying multi-item working memory. Natural Neuroscience 17 (6): 876-883 (13) Harris, A. C., LeSage, M. G., Shelley, D., Perry, J. L., Pentel, P. R. and Owens, M. S. (2015) The Anti-(+)-Methamphetamine Monoclonal Antibody mAb7F9 Attenuates Acute (+)-Methamphetamine Effects on Intracranial Self-Stimulation in Rats Plos One 10(3): e0118787 (14) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8773581&icde=28037041 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (15) Wright, J. M. and Taffee, M. A. (2014) Chronic periadolescent alcohol consumption produces persistent cognitive deficits in rhesus macaques. Neuropharmacology 86: 78-87 (16) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8776937&icde=24647680 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (17) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] [online] https:// projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8956264&icde=24192613 [Accessed 5 February 2016] (18) NIH (2016) Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. National Institute of Health [online] www.projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_history.cfm?aid=8780621&icde=26975870 [Accessed 5 February 2016]