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New study shows rats crave cocaine after drinking alcohol

Party animals

  • Louis Anderson-Rich
  • 6 November 2017

Turns out rats can be just like humans (or vice versa, we’re not even sure anymore) and after a drink they just love a little bit of the ol’ nose candy.

A recent study carried out by Columbia University Medical Centre has discovered that when rats that were fed alcohol every day over the course of 10 days were given cocaine, they developed a keenness for it normally associated with addiction.

Hooked up to the cocaine via a lever that would dispense the cocaine intravenously, scientists found rats that had been given alcohol pressed the lever 58 times while rats that had been given no alcohol pressed it 18.

Rats got so keen for the cocaine that even electric shocks administered for pressing the lever didn’t deter them from dosing themselves up with the drug.

Obviously rat brains are different from humans’, but the study does bring up some interesting points in alcohol’s role in addiction to harder substances with Dr Nora Volkow saying it helps “cement the validity of the gateway hypothesis.”

Cocaine is clearly a hell of a drug for rats, as a 2012 study found it also makes them enjoy jazz. Proper party animals.

Louis Anderson-Rich is Mixmag's Digital Producer. Follow him on Twitter

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