High price A neuroscientist's journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society

Carl L. Hart

Book - 2013

As a youth, Carl Hart didn't realize the value of school; he studied just enough to stay on the basketball team. At the same time, he was immersed in street life. Today he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist--Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences--whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction. In this provocative memoir. he recalls his journey of self-discovery. He examines the relationship among drugs, pleasur...e, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing. Determined to make a difference, he tirelessly applies his scientific research to help save real lives. But balancing his former street life with his achievements today has not been easy--a struggle he reflects on publicly for the first time. This powerful story of hope will alter the way we think about how we can effect change.--From publisher description.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Harper c2013.
Edition
1st ed
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 340 p. : ill. ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (p. [336]-340).
ISBN
9780062015884
0062015885
Main Author
Carl L. Hart (-)
  • Where I come from
  • Before and after
  • Big Mama
  • Sex education
  • Rap and rewards
  • Drugs and guns
  • Choices and chances
  • Basic training
  • "Home is where the hatred is"
  • The maze
  • Wyoming
  • Still just a nigga
  • The behavior of human subjects
  • Hitting home
  • The new crack
  • In search of salvation
  • Drug policy based on fact, not fiction.
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Hart (neuropsychopharmacologist, Columbia Univ., research scientist, New York State Psychiatric Inst. Div. of Substance Abuse) presents a refreshing new analysis of drug use that reveals how common misconceptions about illegal drugs are far too often not based on empirical evidence. Hart blends his own story of experimentation with drugs as a teenager with his insights into the relationship between drugs and pleasure, factors that motivate the use of drugs, and the power of choice. He also reveals new ideas regarding the common association of racial characteristics with drug abuse, the impact of poverty on the use of drugs, and an important, new understanding of why current national drug abuse policies continue to fail. His relatively surprising research results reveal how incorrect common warnings are about how drug abuse can ruin a person's life. Drawing on his successful rise out of poverty and drug abuse in his dysfunctional family, Hart directed much of his research into how some drug users have managed to succeed in life, supporting his view that much of what is now being done in current drug education, treatment, and policy is inconsistent with scientific research results. VERDICT Hart manages to add to the voluminous drug abuse genre a radically new approach that is thought-provoking and that will certainly stimulate controversial opinions, especially among the drug abuse treatment profession. He succeeds in presenting a blend of personal memoir with a critical analysis of why drugs and drug users are often shunned, the role racial policies have played in this perception, and how these misperceptions have resulted in current drug fighting approaches that he views as counterproductive. Hart's experience adds credibility to this important work on substance abuse that is essential for all university libraries supporting treatment curriculum and treatment professionals.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

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) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A groundbreaking neuroscientist relates his escape from a life of crime and drugs to a career helping to save the lives of addicts, examining the relationship between drugs and pleasure and shedding new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A groundbreaking neuroscientist, who, escaping a life of crime and drugs, helps to save the lives of addicts, examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice and motivation, shedding new light on common ideas about race, poverty and drugs and why current policies are failing. 40,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a leading researcher in the field of drug addiction, who grew up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.WINNER OF THE PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD Young Carl didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist'Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences'whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of neuroscientist Carl Hart, a leading researcher in the field of drug addiction, who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.WINNER OF THE PEN/E. O. WILSON LITERARY SCIENCE WRITING AWARD Young Carl didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.