U.S.: Leading Neuroscientist Dr. Carl Hart Challenges Lawmakers About Drugs And Addiction
Award-Winning Author of High Price Has Pivotal TED Talk Released on 90th Anniversary of Malcolm X’s Birth
Ebony.com Covers Hart’s Special Telephone Town Hall About Drugs, Families, and What We Really Need to Do to Ensure Community Safety
Carl Hart, PhD, a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, whose work has redefined how people are discussing addiction, on Tuesday released two more groundbreaking and deeply compelling talks, one before a TEDMED audience in Northern California; and another a special Telephone Town Hall attended by hundreds of advocates, policymakers, faith leaders and medical professionals, and covered by Ebony.com, the African American news and lifestyle site.
Dr. Hart’s TEDMED Talk brilliantly dispels the myths about drugs, and drug use and drug misuse—and how black and poor communities in particular have been harmed as a result of our misinformation. It serves as a perfect companion to Hart’s unflinching, eye-opening and best-selling memoir, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (HarperCollins, 2013), which won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.
In High Price, Hart argues forcefully that what plagued poor Black communities during the 1980s was less crack cocaine, than it was unemployment, racism and hopelessness.
"Today would have been Malcolm X’s 90th birthday,” Hart said. “His influence on human rights is increasingly apparent as society become more concerned about issues of over-policing in Black communities.
"My TED talk is particularly important today because it illustrates the detrimental impact of aggressive selective drug law enforcement on Black communities," Dr. Hart said. "It shows how drug-related harms have been exaggerated, and that this has helped create an environment where unjustified police killings are more likely to occur."
Last Thursday, Dr. Hart, who is a board member of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), a national organization promoting alternatives to our current drug policies, participated in a Telephone Town Hall series hosted by DPA’s asha bandele, in which he spoke directly to parents—as the father of three black sons—about how to mitigate the dangers of teen engagement with drugs. “[My] number one concern [about my children and drugs] is with the police,” Hart said, explaining that while drug effects are actually predictable, contrary to mythology, how police treat young black people, is not.