CALIFORNIA: Last week, Dr. Carl Hart, world-renowned neuroscientist and Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University—and the first African American to be tenured in the sciences at the school, participated in a townhall phone conversation with the The Drug Policy Alliance, the nation’s most influential organization working to end the war on drugs and its resulting mass incarceration and criminalization. It was the latest in a series of calls designed to increase public understanding about the myths about drugs that drove the explosion of laws and sentencing schemes that cemented the United States as the world’s largest incarcerator.
Hart’s textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, is widely used, and his award-winning, best-selling memoir, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society, was broadly acclaimed by members of the science community. Regularly featured in the New York Times, on CNN and other outlets, Dr. Hart has been called to testify before Congress, and consult with presidents.
Below is an edited transcript of Dr. Hart’s conversation with journalist/activist asha bandele and participating callers from across the country on the concerns parents have about drugs and the laws that prosecute those who use them.