Carl Hart wants drug policy to go where science takes it. The rest of us may not be so ready.
The 46-year-old associate professor at Columbia University is out next month with a new book called High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. That long title covers the two sides of Hart's claim to special insight on drugs: his early life growing up in the roughest neighborhoods of Miami, and his remarkable transformation into a researcher upending long-received wisdoms about substance use and abuse. Everything we've been told about drugs is wrong, Hart says. The vast majority of drug users never become addicted. Cops, politicians and the media have consistently told us scare stories overstating the effects of drugs, misinterpreting the science around them in the process. Hart's own research is notable for focusing on drugs administered to humans, not rats, in a lab. It has cut against the prevailing conventional wisdom that, for example, crack-cocaine users don't respond to economic alternatives. more