Carl Hart

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Carl Hart
Carl Hart (18210024296).jpg
Born (1966-10-30) October 30, 1966 (age 55)
Miami, Florida, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BS)
University of Wyoming (MS, PhD)
Known forResearch about recreational drug use, drug abuse, and addiction
Spouse(s)Robin Hart
Scientific career
FieldsNeuroscience,psychology
InstitutionsColumbia University
New York State Psychiatric Institute
ThesisRole of the L-type calcium channel in nicotine-induced locomotion in rats (1996)
Doctoral advisorCharlie Ksir
Websitedrcarlhart.com

Carl L. Hart (born October 30, 1966) is an American psychologist and neuroscientist, working as the Ziff Professor of Psychology at Columbia University.[1] Hart is known for his research in drug abuse and drug addiction, and his open use of drugs, including heroin.[2] Hart is one of the first tenured African American professors of sciences at Columbia University.[2][3]

Early life and education[edit]

Hart grew up in the Carol City neighborhood of Miami Gardens, a suburb of Miami considered one of the most dangerous in the US.[2][4] As a youth, he engaged in petty crime and the use and sale of drugs, and at times carried a gun. He was also a skilled athlete involved in high school sports.[2][5][6] He was raised by a single mother, who separated from an abusive father when Hart was six.[7][8] After high school, he served in the United States Air Force (1984-1988), which became his path to higher education.[9][10]

Hart earned a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Maryland. He earned a Master of Science (1994) and Ph.D. (1996), both in psychology/neuroscience, from the University of Wyoming.[11] Hart attended University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he worked with his undergraduate neuroscience professor, Robert Hakan, before attending the University of Wyoming. He pursued postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and Yale University,[5][7] and completed an Intramural Training Award fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.[12]

Career and research[edit]

Hart is the Ziff Professor of Psychology (in Psychiatry) and former chair of the psychology department at Columbia University.[13] Hart arrived at Columbia in 1998; in 2009, he became one of the first tenured African American professors of sciences at Columbia University.[2][3] His area of expertise is neuropsychopharmacology.[14] His general research focus is in the behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans.[1][14] He has a particular interest in the social and psychological factors that influence self-administration of drugs.[10] He is the Principal Investigator at Columbia University's Neuropsychopharmacology Lab.[15]

In 1999, Hart began investigating the effects of crack cocaine on behavior.[2] Through 2009, he received research grants totaling over $6 million, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.[5]

Hart's research is centered around human subject experiments conducted in his research lab at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (a hospital located in the Columbia University Irving Medical Center). Informally called the ResLab (residential laboratory), the facility accommodated subjects for extended periods; a typical experiment ran for two weeks. The subjects, habitual drug users, were given precisely metered doses of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, while being continuously monitored and tested.[12]

Hart opposes the brain disease model of addiction dominant in the field, which holds that addiction is a brain disorder. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, states that visible differences in the brains of addicts helps explain the nature of compulsive drug usage. Hart states that most studies show that drug users' cognitive abilities and functions are within the normal range. Commenting on Hart's argument, Anna Lembke, head of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, said that "intelligent, informed people can disagree on the disease model of addiction", and also noted that there is evidence that long-term drug use can alter the brain in a different way than after learning a new language or a musical instrument.[16] He indicates a lack of positive outlets and activities as a reason for drug use in communities. He argues that drug laws intended to make a society safer should be based on empirical evidence.[17][non-primary source needed]

Hart is also a Research Fellow and former co-director at Columbia's Institute for Research in African-American Studies.[18][19]

Books[edit]

Hart has written two books for the general public, High Price and Drug Use for Grown-Ups, and co-authored, with Charles Ksir, recent editions of the introductory textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior.[20]

High Price[edit]

In 2013, Hart published High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, described as "combining memoir, popular science, and public policy."[21] In it, Hart discusses misconceptions about illegal drugs, speaking from the combined perspectives of growing up in a poor, crime-ridden African American neighborhood, and his career as a research neuroscientist.[7][22] He describes his upbringing, time in the military, years in college and grad school, and his journey to a PhD and tenured professorship at Columbia. He discusses the challenge of learning white cultural norms and language as an aspect of succeeding in academia, and then returning to his family and feeling alienated and unable to connect. Using drug crime statistics and details from his lab research, he argues that drugs are a symptom, not the cause, of crime and poverty, and that they mask issues of lack of education, racism, unemployment, and despair.[7][22] He ends the book with an argument for the decriminalization of drug, stating that his research has shown that the dangers associated with drugs are largely misunderstood, and a decrease in stigma and increase in conversation would likely decrease the number of drug related deaths. He advocates for a move to drug policies based on scientific evidence and human rights, not irrational fear and sensationalism.[22][23]

Drug Use for Grown-Ups[edit]

In 2021, Hart published Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear.[24] In the book's prologue, he acknowledges that he personally uses heroin for recreational purposes. He further argues that for the majority of individuals, recreational use of drugs has a positive effect, and that journalists and researchers overstate the harms of recreational drug use.[25][14]

Public debate[edit]

Hart states that drug policy in the US and most of the rest of the world “is based on assumption and anecdote, but rarely on scientific evidence”.[5] He advocates decriminalizing drug use through policies that are scientifically based rather than heavily influenced by social determinants such as race and class.[22][26] As an example, he discusses the criminalization of crack cocaine (typically associated with poor communities) and lack of similar criminalization of powder cocaine (traditionally associated with wealthier communities) as an example of how drug criminalization has been based on social problems rather than scientific fact.[17][27]

Hart states that the poor, crime-ridden environment he grew up in influenced his world view, and he believed that drugs were the reason for poverty and crime in most neighborhoods.[2] Only later, through his research, did he come to believe that "crime and poverty were mostly independent of drug use".[14][17]

Hart has lectured and testified around the world as an expert on psychoactive drugs.[28] He testified before the United States Congress' Committee On Oversight and Government Reform.[29] He has testified, on the stand and in written submissions, in family courts in New York City, advocating for children to stay with parents who have tested positive for marijuana use, arguing that there is no scientific basis for casual marijuana use having an effect on parenting. In one case, a mother had tested positive while giving birth at a city hospital, and been charged with negligence (the case was later dropped).[30]

In a 2013 New York Times editorial, he commented on the toxicology report presented in the case of Trayvon Martin, where the indication of marijuana in Martin's blood was used as evidence that he might have been paranoid the night of his shooting, causing him to attack Zimmerman.[31] Hart stated that the assertion subscribed to outdated notions of marijuana use, such as those implied in Reefer Madness, and failed to recognize the seven decades of research on marijuana that show the levels of marijuana present in Martin's blood were insufficient to cause the aforementioned side effects, and that the side effects mentioned are extremely uncommon in marijuana users.[32]

In May 2017, speaking at a drug policy conference at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Hart addressed the misconceptions about methamphetamine in the Philippines amidst President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs. Citing lab tests on animals, Hart refuted Duterte's claim that methamphetamine shrinks people's brains and causes them to become violent. In the aftermath of his speech, Hart began to receive online death threats which forced him to leave the Philippines shortly thereafter.[33][34][35] Duterte commented on Hart's claims, saying: "That's all bullshit to me", and called Hart a "son of a bitch who has gone crazy".[36] In an interview with Public Radio International, Hart described Duterte as "a president making such ignorant comments about drugs — like he's a pharmacologist" and added that Duterte was "out of his league when he talks about drugs".[34][35]

In his book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups (2021), and in media interviews around its publication, Hart revealed that he is a recreational heroin user, and employs a number of drugs in a responsible manner, not as an addict, and in the "pursuit of happiness".[13][25]

Media appearances[edit]

Hart has been a speaker at Talks at Google,[37] The Reason Foundation,[38] and The Nobel Conference.[39] He has been interviewed or otherwise featured on CNN, "Stossel"[40] and "The Independents" on Fox Business, "All In with Chris Hayes" on MSNBC, Reason TV,[41] "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, "Democracy Now!", and The Joe Rogan Experience.[42] He spoke at TEDMED 2014, discussing his evidence-based view of drug addiction, and how that should impact public policy.[17] Hart is featured in the 2012 documentary, The House I Live In, and in the 2021 Netflix documentary, Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy, where he discusses what was missing from the sensationalized portrayal of crack in the 1980s.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Hart is married to Robin Hart, and has three children.[10] He lives in New York City.[44]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Columbia University: Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching (2008)[45]
  • Mothers Against Teen Violence: Humanitarian Award (2014)[46][47]
  • PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award for High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (2014)[48][49]
  • City of Miami: Dr. Carl Hart Day (1 Feb 2016)[50]

Bibliography[edit]

Selected articles, essays and research papers:

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Carl Hart". Columbia University Department of Psychology. Retrieved April 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Leland, John (April 10, 2021). "This Heroin-Using Professor Wants to Change How We Think About Drugs". New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ a b "Swm016: A Free-wheeling Discussion of Race-related Topics, with Carl Hart And Courtney Cogburn". Columbia School of Social Work (Columbia University). June 26, 2015. Retrieved April 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Miami Staff (April 15, 2014). "Miami Beach, Miami Gardens among nation's most dangerous suburbs". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. ^ a b c d Shetty, Priya (May 10, 2014). "Carl Hart: advocate for rational drug policy". The Lancet. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Satel, Sally (September 30, 2013). "The Science of Choice in Addiction". The Atlantic. Retrieved April 14, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. ^ a b c d Hart, Carl (2013). High Price. New York, NY: Harper Collins. ISBN 978-0-06-201588-4.
  8. ^ Winerman, Lea (March 2014). "Paying a high price for the war on drugs". Monitor on Psychology American Psychological Association. 45 (3): 32.
  9. ^ "Carl Hart: Drugs don't turn people into criminals". Salon.com. June 17, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Tonti, Alexis (Winter 2012–13). "The Truth Teller". Columbia College Today. Retrieved April 10, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: date format (link) CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Carl L. Hart". University of Wyoming.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ a b Juskalian, Russ (February 2010). "Carl Hart: The drug data pusher". Wired. Retrieved April 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ a b Bartlett, Tom (February 26, 2021). "Why a Columbia Neuroscientist Acknowledged Using Heroin". Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ a b c d Anthony, Andrew (February 6, 2021). "Meet Carl Hart: parent, Columbia professor – and heroin user". The Guardian. Retrieved February 7, 2021.
  15. ^ "Neuropsychopharmacology Lab: People". Columbia University. Retrieved April 13, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ Brueck, Hilary (February 19, 2021). "A Columbia professor who uses heroin says the drug helps him maintain a work-life balance and should be legal for everyone". Insider. Retrieved April 20, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  17. ^ a b c d "Let's quit abusing drug users". TEDMED. 2014. Retrieved November 16, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ "Institute for Research in African American Studies: Research Fellows". Institute for Research in African American Studies (Columbia University). Retrieved April 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. ^ "The Institute for Research in African American Studies: About". Institute for Research in African American Studies (Columbia University). Retrieved April 15, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Hart, Carl; Ksir, Charles (2021). Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 1260711056.
  21. ^ "High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery that Challenges Everything You Know about Drugs and Society". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved April 14, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ a b c d Seiffert, Rachel (August 5, 2013). "High Price: Drugs, Neuroscience, and Discovering Myself by Carl Hart – review". The Guardian. Retrieved April 14, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ OPaungsawad, Gamjad; Hart, Carl (October 1, 2016). "Bangkok 2016: From overly punitive to deeply humane drug policies". Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 167: 223–234. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2016.08.004.
  24. ^ Sally Satel (January 13, 2021). "'Drug Use for Grown-Ups' Review: A Dose of Dissent". The Wall Street Journal (book review).
  25. ^ a b Casey Schwartz (January 12, 2021). "When Getting High Is a Hobby, Not a Habit". New York Times (book review).
  26. ^ "Race and the Drug War". We are the Drug Policy Alliance: Issues. Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved December 8, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ Hesson, Ted (June 4, 2013). "4 Ways You've Been Totally Misinformed About Drugs". ABC News. Retrieved April 16, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Carl L. Hart, PhD". American Psychological Association. January 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ "Mixed Signals: the Administration's Policy on Marijuana, Part Four – the Health Effects and Science". Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  30. ^ Harris, Mary (June 11, 2013). "One Neuroscientist Rethinks Addiction". WNYC. Retrieved April 19, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  31. ^ Sloane, Amanda; Winch, Graham (July 9, 2013). "Judge allow evidence of Trayvon Martin's marijuana use". CNN. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  32. ^ Hart, Carl L. (July 11, 2013). "Reefer Madness, an Unfortunate Redux". New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2016.
  33. ^ Cupin, Bea (May 6, 2017). "Shabu shrinks brains? Drug abuse expert debunks 'myth'". Rappler. Archived from the original on December 12, 2018. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  34. ^ a b Winn, Patrick (June 6, 2017). "Neuroscientist Carl Hart says 'infant thinking' drives Philippines meth war". GlobalPost. Public Radio International. Archived from the original on December 30, 2019. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  35. ^ a b Dimacali, TJ (June 8, 2017). "Duterte 'ignorant' about drugs, says neuroscientist". GMA News. Archived from the original on June 11, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  36. ^ Romero, Alexis (May 10, 2017). "Duterte defends claim shabu shrinks brains with tirade". The Philippine Star. Archived from the original on May 15, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  37. ^ Carl Hart, "HIGH PRICE: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That ..." | Talks At Google Google, July 22, 2013
  38. ^ "ReasonNYC – Carl Hart, author of High Price". Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  39. ^ "Carl Hart, PHD - Nobel Conference 51".
  40. ^ "War on...(Airs Sunday at 10PM ET on FNC)". Archived from the original on June 28, 2015. Retrieved February 1, 2015.
  41. ^ Neuroscientist Carl Hart: Science Says We Should Decriminalize Drugs Reason TV, July 15, 2013
  42. ^ "#1593 – Dr. Carl Hart". JRE Library. Retrieved April 15, 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  43. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (January 8, 2021). "'Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy' Review: An Eye-Opening Look at the Crack Epidemic, a Tragedy That Was Hyped and Exploited". Variety. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  44. ^ High Price by Dr. Carl Hart: AUTHOR. Archived July 6, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  45. ^ "Faculty Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching Winners, 1996-2020". Columbia University. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  46. ^ Martin, Annie (July 3, 2020). "Professor uninvited to UCF in 2017 after comments about police brutality, former students say". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  47. ^ Strickland, Joy (January 23, 2014). "President Obama Affirms MATV's Message". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  48. ^ Ron Charles (July 30, 2014). "Winners of the 2014 PEN Literary Awards". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  49. ^ "2014 PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award". pen.org. April 16, 2014. Retrieved August 1, 2014.
  50. ^ "City of Miami". Columbia University. 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]