Here's some interesting science for your day. Remember that famous experiment that rats, once addicted to heroin, will keep pushing the lever to get more heroin, no matter what, until they die? The experiment that gets cited all the time in DARE and similar anti-drug classes as proof that, if ever you touch drugs, you will instantly die a horrible death? Turns out that it's not that simple.
The rats in Goldstein's original study lived in small, cramped cages. Bruce Alexander of Simon Fraser University decided to test if that had something to do with it, and so built "Rat Park," a facility 200 times the size of a standard laboratory cage, occupied by 16-20 rats of both sexes, with food, balls and wheels to play on, and all the things you need in life to be a normal rat. It turns out that rats in this environment -- even when they had been deliberately dosed with morphine for 57 days in a row prior to putting them into the rat park, something which you would think is pretty certain to create addiction -- preferred ordinary water to water laced with morphine. The control group of rats, kept in small cages, still loved the drugs.
So it turns out that the relationship between drugs and addiction isn't as simple as "you take it, you're hooked on it, then you die." Rats locked in a small prison cell and given nothing but morphine for entertainment do, rather unsurprisingly, get pretty seriously into drugs -- but given the choice between being continuously stoned and having an actual rat life, most rats would prefer to just be rats. And importantly, this is true even for rats who had already taken plenty of drugs; apparently, most rats don't consider this to be the be-all and end-all of rodent existence.
Which isn't really surprising; after all, if people didn't overall prefer not to be on drugs than to be on drugs, our society would be a lot more high than it is. I mean, if you're reading this right now -- are you feeling an urge for some smack? Are you thinking, "why am I reading yet another one of Yonatan's posts, when I could be shooting up?"
It's possible that you are, in which case I should probably pep up my writing style. But if you aren't, then here's some science to help clarify why.Edited to add: +Harald Wagener
provided a link to an excellent comic by Stuart McMillen telling you much more about the Rat Park experiment: http://www.stuartmcmillen.com/comics_en/rat-park/
via +Aleatha Parker-Wood
and +Chris Wassman