Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear

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"Hart's argument that we need to drastically revise our current view of illegal drugs is both powerful and timely . . . when it comes to the legacy of this country's war on drugs, we should all share his outrage." --The New York Times Book Review

From one of the world's foremost experts on the subject, a powerful argument that the greatest damage from drugs flows from their being illegal, and a hopeful reckoning with the possibility of their use as part of a responsible and happy life

Dr. Carl L. Hart, Ziff Professor at Columbia University and former chair of the Department of Psychology, is one of the world's preeminent experts on the effects of so-called recreational drugs on the human mind and body. Dr. Hart is open about the fact that he uses drugs himself, in a happy balance with the rest of his full and productive life as a colleague, husband, father, and friend. In Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he draws on decades of research and his own personal experience to argue definitively that the criminalization and demonization of drug use--not drugs themselves--have been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country's enduring structural racism.

Dr. Hart did not always have this view. He came of age in one of Miami's most troubled neighborhoods at a time when many ills were being laid at the door of crack cocaine. His initial work as a researcher was aimed at proving that drug use caused bad outcomes. But one problem kept cropping up: the evidence from his research did not support his hypothesis. From inside the massively well-funded research arm of the American war on drugs, he saw how the facts did not support the ideology. The truth was dismissed and distorted in order to keep fear and outrage stoked, the funds rolling in, and Black and brown bodies behind bars.

Drug Use for Grown-Ups will be controversial, to be sure: the propaganda war, Dr. Hart argues, has been tremendously effective. Imagine if the only subject of any discussion about driving automobiles was fatal car crashes. Drug Use for Grown-Ups offers a radically different vision: when used responsibly, drugs can enrich and enhance our lives. We have a long way to go, but the vital conversation this book will generate is an extraordinarily important step.

Title:Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear
ISBN:9781101981641
Format Type:

    Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear Reviews

  • David Wineberg

    Dr. Carl Hart has never met a recreational drug he did not like. All of them have their very positive aspects for him. They reduce stress, raise awareness, and induce respect, co-operation, empathy an...

  • Jason Cihelka

    Frustrating yet important book. I completely agree with Dr. Hart's position on drug destigmatization, decriminalization, the need for safe/anonymous testing, all that's wrong with the war on drugs and...

  • Nicole Barbaro

    A bold and brave book. This is a must read for all adults, from those who are anti-drug to those that have or do use drugs. A mix of personal experience, policy, and science that takes a firm stance t...

  • Chris

    I get where he’s coming from, but he should have led with the Epilogue. The HUGE caveat in the argument is that only adults without psychiatric or other issues should be free to use recreational dru...

  • Chris Boutté

    As a recovering alcoholic and opioid addicts with 8 years clean, I've never been so conflicted about a book. Unlike some people in recovery, I believe we need to legalize and decriminalize drugs, and ...

  • Salena Copeland

    Dr. Hart hasn’t convinced me to try heroin, but I enjoyed this book. It is much more about America’s racist drug policy history than I initially expected from the NYT book review, and he writes a ...

  • Tj Sandstrom

    Dr. Carl Hart took a risk in writing this book, and in his risk came great reward.I blew through this book. The writing was intriguing, and the subject, even more so. Drugs are something that have pla...

  • Scott Greenwald

    I think Dr. Carl Hart's radical transparency is refreshing, but his drug legalization argument doesn't present anything new to think about. More importantly, I think he is absolutely insane for pickin...

  • Russel

    I agree with many of his points. I agree with what he has to say about racism. I agree that making these drugs illegal has done much harm and no good. I agree these drugs should be decriminalized. I a...

  • DH

    I was excited to read this book, but I was very disappointed. I expected this book to provide a balanced view of the impact of drugs in a rational and clear manner, especially since it was written by ...