(PresidentialHill.com)- A recent report from a watchdog group that revealed the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) gave $2 million in taxpayer funding to researchers who injected cocaine into beagle puppies. And now a bipartisan group of lawmakers wants some answers.
The White Coat Waste Project, a group that seeks to stop taxpayer-funded experiments on animals, discovered details of the $2 million taxpayer-funded “Coke Hounds” experiment within documents it obtained under an open records request.
According to the Waste Project, six-month-old beagle pups were outfitted in jackets that injected them with cocaine then the beagles were fed the experimental drug. The dogs were “dosed with cocaine again and again for months,” according to the Waste Project.
Researchers then filmed the puppies to detect any adverse reactions between the drugs. They also operated on the dogs, implanting a “telemetry unit” to monitor vital signs. At the end of the tests, the dogs were either euthanized or “recycled” for other experiments.
The lawmakers, led by Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) and Congressman Brendan Boyle (D-PA), sent a letter to the NIDA’s director Nora Volkow requesting details on the research grant.
In their letter, the lawmakers note that the FDA recently indicated that it doesn’t mandate drug testing on dogs. Despite this, the NIDA documents obtained by the White Coat Waste Project state that the study on the beagles was “required by a relevant government regulatory agency.”
Expressing concern that the NIDA is using tax dollars on “cruel, costly, outdated” dog testing, the lawmakers provided Volkow a list of questions they want her to answer by February 16.
According to the White Coat Waste Project, the “Coke Hounds” experiment was conducted from November 2020 until April 2021 and again from May 2021 to September 2021.
The experiments were conducted by SRI International, a California-based research firm, and funded by the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse to find treatments for “cocaine use disorder.”
The NIDA previously defended the experiments, arguing that the “sole purpose” of the research is to ensure new medication is safe for the people “seeking treatment for cocaine use disorder” who might resume cocaine use while under treatment.