Releasing the rats by Stuart McMillen
A view of researcher Patricia Hadaway releasing a rat into the Rat Park enclosure.
Releasing the rats is a scene from Stuart McMillen’s comic Rat Park (2013). The comic depicts a series of classic experiments into drug addiction science that were conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The experiments sought to understand whether rats would choose to take drugs if given a stimulating environment and social company. Their experimental results broadly showed that addiction was not an automatic consequence of being exposed to drugs. The rats’ environment—particularly the presence or absence of other rats for social interactions—played a strong role in determining whether or not the rats would become dependent on morphine.
This scene shows researcher Patricia Hadaway releasing a rat into the Rat Park enclosure at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby campus. Her colleagues Barry Beyerstein, Robert Coambs, and Bruce Alexander watch as Patricia releases the rat.