A baby chimp and a syringe

Monkeying around with substance abuse

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Apes, like other mammals, can develop a physical and psychological dependence on drugs if they are exposed to them repeatedly. This can occur with both illicit drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, as well as prescription drugs, such as opioids.

The extent to which apes can become addicted, however, depends on many factors, including the species, individual physiology and behavior, and the type and amount of drug consumed. While some apes may show signs of addiction after only a few exposures, others may not become addicted even after prolonged use.

Additionally, addiction severity can vary widely, with some individuals developing severe and life-threatening conditions while others experience only mild to moderate symptoms.

Scientific evidence suggests that chimps and non-human primates can enjoy or prefer smoking cannabis. Some non-human primates have been observed to display altered behavior or physiological changes after drug exposure, which indicates enjoyment or appreciation.

Chimp in t-shirt smoking a joint
Chimp in t-shirt smoking a joint

Gorillas do like heroin and other drugs. Heroin is a highly addictive and dangerous substance that can cause serious health problems and even death in humans. It is likely to have similar effects in gorillas and other non-human primates.

Non-human primates have indeed been observed to actively seek out or enjoy exposure to drugs like heroin, and exposing them to these substances can be harmful to their health and well-being. It is unethical to experiment with dangerous drugs on non-human primates, but non-human primates cannot be prosecuted for drug-related crimes.

Gorilla hand holding several heroin packages
Gorilla hand holding several heroin packages

LSD has been tested on various animals, including chimpanzees. Still, most studies involving LSD and other psychedelics were done in the mid-20th century, and many have been criticized for ethical and scientific limitations. Currently, LSD is not widely used for animal testing due to ethical concerns – unless the chimps decide to treat themselves!

Alpha male chimp doing lucy
Alpha male chimp doing lucy

It isn’t easy to find verifiable information about drug-using monkeys. One curious passage in a 1990s German weekly magazine reads:

“A chimpanzee named Charlie lived in a zoo. One day, he stumbled upon a stash of drugs that visitors had thrown over the fence. Despite never having tried drugs before, Charlie was fascinated and decided to give it a go. After taking the drugs, Charlie experienced intense hallucinations and lost touch with reality. The zookeepers found him the next morning, exhausted and confused, and made sure he received proper medical attention.”

Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system and causes an increase in dopamine release, leading to increased arousal and wakefulness. Furthermore, cocaine has been shown to improve wakefulness in monkeys.

Baby orangutan and a mointain of cocaine
Baby orangutan and a mointain of cocaine

However, cocaine use can also cause long-term adverse health effects, such as addiction and damage to the cardiovascular and nervous systems. It’s important to note that using drugs, including cocaine, harms human and animal health.

Scientists report the following positive effects of using illegal drugs among monkeys:

  1. Increased energy and alertness
  2. Enhanced mood and sense of well-being
  3. Heightened sensory perception
  4. Increased sociability and feeling of connection with others
  5. Altered perception of time and space

It’s important to note that these effects can vary significantly based on the drug and individual animal and that the negative consequences of drug use, such as addiction, physical and mental health problems, and increased risk of accidents and injury, may outweigh any potential benefits.

To conclude, let us bring this piece to a close with a poetic touch.

Monkeys in the zoo, with nothing much to do,
Started up with monkey business, that was new.
They found some drugs, that visitors threw,
And decided to give it a try, who knew.

The effects were wild, their minds did fly,
A world of colors, they saw way up high.
No worries or fears, they just laughed and sighed,
A break from the boredom, they didn’t even try.
But what goes up, must come down, it’s true,
The monkey business, with drugs, was through.

Their bodies and minds, felt the toll it took,
And the monkey business, with drugs, was a mistake.
So let this be a lesson, to all who can hear,
That monkey business, with drugs, should be kept far from here.
For the dangers are real, and the toll is steep,
And the monkey business, with drugs, is best left to sleep.

This is an original article published exclusively by Jacker Magazine. We encourage and welcome your feedback. Feel free to leave a comment below. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have other questions, suggestions, or proposals. We look forward to hearing from you.

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