High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society

Carl Hart, Author
Carl Hart. HarperCollins, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-201588-4
Reviewed on: 04/22/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-8976-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-4829-8977-9
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-219893-8
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-06-201589-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-233075-8
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Combining memoir, popular science, and public policy, Hart’s study lambasts current drug laws as draconian and repressive, arguing that they’re based more on assumptions about race and class than on a real understanding of the physiological and societal effects of drugs. Growing up in a poor, predominantly African-American neighborhood in Miami in the 1970s and ’80s, Hart, now a Columbia University neuroscientist, was rarely encouraged to excel academically, and he was too often witness to institutional racism and violence in his own community. Still, despite its deprivations, this background also gave Hart certain advantages later in life, such as a more empathetic relationship with the subjects of his studies on the effects of crack cocaine and other drugs and a more realistic view of what role such drugs actually play in society. Central to his work is the idea that addiction is actually a combination of physiological and social factors, and the use of drugs does not itself lead to violence and crime. Drug laws, he argues, place minorities into a “vicious cycle of incarceration and isolation,” and the most rational policy choice would be decriminalization of all such substances. His is a provocative clarion call for students of sociology and policy-makers alike. Photos. Agent: Marc Gerald and Sasha Raskin, the Agency Group. (June)
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