This is a good book about responsible adults doing recreational drugs. Dr. Carl Hart is a professor, parent, husband, etc. and he does drugs often and wants other regular professional people to admit that they do them too. Hart considers drug use to be a human right–it’s an act of pursuing happiness in a very literal sense.
As a drug researcher, he’s also trying to get people to understand that most of the stuff we’ve been told about drugs like weed, coke, crack, heroine, meth, and MDMA doesn’t align with actual science. Instead, stories about these drugs are sensationalized to seem like a quick fix for major socio-economic problems, and those narratives serve as a major way to get funding for police. The truth is that none of these drugs make you violent, most people who do them are not addicted, and criminalizing them actually makes things worse. People end up getting bad drugs that they can’t test, people don’t know about the dosage dangers or the problem with mixing certain drugs together, and millions of people sit in jail every night for no real reason.
One thing I do like about the book is that’s it’s not just about America. He travels often to give lectures and attend conferences, so he includes a lot of data from other places like Portugal (where all drugs are legal) or Brazil (where police occupy poor areas because of crack). One thing I didn’t like is that even tho he wants to make sure people can possess a personal supply of drugs, he doesn’t seem to care much about drug dealers. But a lot of drug dealers do drugs. Plus, how do you think people are accessing their personal supply of drugs to begin with? In the epilogue, he’s talking about solutions and he’s like dismantling the war on drugs would be too hard and would take away jobs. He thinks cops need to be trained better and arrest less. Umm please read up on prison abolition before you say stuff like that. K thanks.
Best line: “Anyone who believes crack–or any drug, for that matter–is the major problem faced by marginalized people is either dishonest or naïve, or both.”
-Rachel Wagner 2021