Crack Smoking Monkeys

First Draft Report on Pilot Experiment On Crack Puffing by Baboons Via Premier

  Walter R. Rogers, Ph.D.
  February 9, 1989

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Page One -- Faxed Document Title Page
Delivered to Dr. Carr Smith
RJ Reynolds
Subject: Baboon Data [note: there are only six pages rather than seven as listed on cover sheet]
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Page Two
I. Initial Assay Results
II. Sample Key
III. Exposure Protocols
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Page Three
Crack loading
Crack exposure
Smoking Protocol
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Page Four
IV. Smoking Dosimetry
Puff Numbers
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Page 5
Puff Volumes
V. Possible Interpretations
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Page 6
Future Possibilities
More Analyses?
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BACKGROUND NOTE: In the 1980's, the tobacco industry was actually trying to develop a safer cigarette. RJR's version of this was its brand Premier (which was the subject of a movie called "Barbarians at that Gate" with James Garner--you can still get it on video). One problem they had with Premier, though, was that it "drew" harder than regular cigarettes. They needed to make sure it functioned like a regular cigarette...

So RJR hired a research lab to do an experiment where they made baboons smoke Premier cigarettes laced with crack cocaine, and then analyzed the animals' blood for cocaine content. The reason for this is revealed near the end of the report under a section entitled "Possbile Interpretations":

V. Possible Interpretations
Introduction I am sorry to hear that the samples from the animals who smoke Premier cigarettes loaded with crack were relatively low in cocaine content. You indicate the levels of a few ng/ml, measured shortly after exposure, are not physiologically meaningful. In our phone conversiona today, I listed several possible interpretations, including:

1) The animals "puffed" rather than inhaled and thus were not exposed to cocaine.
2) The animals smoke so avidly that all of the crack was pyrolized [burned] (and thus was not biologically available).
3) The efficiency of delivery from the cylinder [cigarette] was much less than anticipated, or
4) The Premier really does not serve as a drug delivery device.

Anne Landman
American Lung Association of Colorado, West Region Office
Grand Junction


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