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Douglas Capraro Douglas Capraro

Video: Dr. Carl Hart Explains the Impact of Drug Hysteria on Drug Laws


This inspiring talk at TEDMED 2014 explains how science is the key to creating better drug policies.

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In this heartfelt, thought-provoking talk for TEDMED2014 (video below), addiction expert Dr. Carl Hart explains how drug hysteria and misconceptions impact US drug laws, drawing from his own personal journey.

Hart is an associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society. He talks about how his own past using and selling drugs on the streets of Miami eventually led him to earn a PhD in neuroscience, “specifically so I can solve the drug addiction problem.”

Through clinical research and social analysis, he has concluded that the root of the problems plaguing poor black communities is not so much drugs, more unemployment, racism, and general hopelessness—and that the stigmatization and criminalization of drug use is the real social catastrophe. He also provides evidence that up to 90% of all drug use does not lead to addiction.

Carl Hart is a board member of the Drug Policy Alliance, a leading organization campaigning for drug-law reforms, and hopes that his work will help to mitigate drug and poverty problems by prompting a reassessment of current legislation.