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What can Jane Goodall teach us about addiction?


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In 2017, Jane Goodall, the well-known primatologist, wrote a letter to the United States Food and Drug Administration criticising the use of animals to test brain-based theories of addiction. She reasoned that we already know about addiction by observing humans. Several scientists countered that research with humans cannot answer important questions about understanding, preventing, and treating addiction. This commentary draws on epidemiology, psychology, psychodynamic models, learning theories and existentialism. It highlights effective prevention and treatment approaches that are not based on brain models of addiction. Jane Goodall’s letter, has, perhaps unwittingly, provided a focal point for reconsidering what kind of research is required to further our understanding of addiction.


Frisher. (2023). What can Jane Goodall teach us about addiction?. Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy, 30(1), 55-59.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 19, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 7, 2022
Publication Date Jan 2, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy
Print ISSN 0968-7637
Publisher Taylor and Francis
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 55-59
Keywords Health (social science), Medicine (miscellaneous)
Publisher URL


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