With two different interviews, we asked some questions to Prof. Carl L. Hart, neuroscientist, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University, who has been studying the effects of different types of drugs on the human brain for decades.
And it does this from a very particular perspective, unconventional and privileged at the same time. In fact, if one the one hand Hart is the first tenured African American professor of sciences at Columbia University, with an endless curriculum that includes three different Ph.D. and a long list of articles published in the most prestigious international scientific journals, he is also a drug user, a revolutionary, one who many consider an “uncomfortable” scientist because of the profound criticism he has been addressing his political class for decades, strongly denouncing the stigma and marginalization against drug users, especially if belonging racial minorities.
With the weapons of openness and a passion for truth and justice, combined with a deep knowledge of data and scientific evidence, as well as on the basis of his own personal experience as an African American consumer and citizen with a past of poverty and discrimination, Hart poses in serious discussion what, according to common opinion, is “the truth about drugs“.
In both interviews granted to DPU (a written opinion and a video conversation) Hart dwells at length on the main scientific evidences that show the real consequences of drugs on the human brain, on the correct definition of the concept of “addiction” and on the analysis of the deeper causes (social, political, cultural and environmental) underlying the criminalization of drug use; thus painting, stroke after stroke, the picture of another, surprising truth.
Read also the opinion of Carl Hart, “Chasing liberty (and truth) in the fields of drugs“, published in this Journal on January 13, 2021.