University of Minnesota: Marilyn Carroll’s Addiction Studies



Marilyn E. Carroll, who also goes by Marilyn Santi, is a Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry (primary) and Neuroscience (adjunct) at the University of Minnesota. For over a quarter century, Carroll has received approximately $10 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources for her animal addiction studies. Her salary is approximately $200,000 per year (search here for up-to-date salary information).


Her most recent grants include the following:

  • 2013-2018: Minnesota Partnership for Biotechnology and Medical Genomics (State of Minnesota; share with Edgar Arriaga, Kenny Beckman, John Bischof, Paul Iaizzo, Dan Kaufman, Dan Knights, Tucker LeBien, Paula Ludewig, Rajesh Rajamani, Daniel Voytas)
  • 2013-2014: Primate Models to Reduce Drug Abuse and Relapse: Sex and Hormonal Influences (University of Minnesota Foundation)
  • 2012-2017: Sex Differences and Progesterone Effects on Impulsivity, Smoking & Cocaine Abuse (National Institutes of Health; shared with Sharon Allen, Lynn Eberly, John Grabowski, Marc Mooney, Sheila Specker, and Mustafa Al’Absi)

Carroll forcibly addicts rhesus monkeys, rats, and mice to drugs such as cocaine, heroin, nicotine, and alcohol, often by withholding food and water from them if they do not self-administer the drugs. These animals are then forced to withdrawal, thereby experiencing seizures, heart-attacks, hallucinations, and/or death. When no longer useful in her experiments, they are killed.

Carroll does not deny that she induces pain in the animals imprisoned in her labs. Her University of Minnesota Web page explains: “Animals are trained to self-administer drugs that humans abuse, and several phases of the addiction process are modeled, such as acquisition, maintenance, withdrawal, craving, and relapse.” She further details in one of her publications: “Monkey M-V became very agitated and excitable when smoking cocaine. M-V’s state became more severe and incidents of self-mutilatory behavior occurred, specifically biting the upper leg area. At the end of the study, M-V’s access to cocaine was terminated because of bleeding of the nose and upper respiratory problems. One monkey showed considerable aggressive self-mutilatory behavior during this time, throwing itself against the sides and top of its cage. As a result, it developed sinusitis and skin infections.”

Marilyn Carroll has been the focus of negative attention since the 1980s for her tortuous, tax-payer funded experiments. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the now defunct Student Organization for Animal Rights (SOAR) at the University of Minnesota held both on campus and neighborhood demonstrations against Carroll. More recently, a Minnesota-based campaign called No Pain in My Name, created by addicts and those affected by addiction, has made her work the regular target of on campus protests and outreach and White Coat Waste has noted her research time and again as an egregious waste of taxes. The broader media has also been critical of Carroll’s work. In 2011, gave the NIH the “Golden Hookah” or “What Were They Smoking Award” “for sponsoring an outrageous government spending program [Carroll’s research] that sends taxpayer dollars up in smoke.”

Progress for Science is committed to educating the public about Marilyn Carroll’s wasteful, unethical research.