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Publisher's Summary

From one of the world's foremost experts on the subject, a powerful argument that the greatest damage from drugs flows from their being illegal, and a hopeful reckoning with the possibility of their use as part of a responsible and happy life.

Dr. Carl L. Hart, Ziff professor at Columbia University and former chair of the Department of Psychology, is one of the world's preeminent experts on the effects of so-called recreational drugs on the human mind and body. Dr. Hart is open about the fact that he uses drugs himself, in a happy balance with the rest of his full and productive life as a colleague, husband, father, and friend. 

In Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he draws on decades of research and his own personal experience to argue definitively that the criminalization and demonization of drug use - not drugs themselves - have been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country's enduring structural racism. 

Dr. Hart did not always have this view. He came of age in one of Miami's most troubled neighborhoods at a time when many ills were being laid at the door of crack cocaine. His initial work as a researcher was aimed at proving that drug use caused bad outcomes. But one problem kept cropping up: The evidence from his research did not support his hypothesis. From inside the massively well-funded research arm of the American war on drugs, he saw how the facts did not support the ideology. The truth was dismissed and distorted in order to keep fear and outrage stoked, the funds rolling in, and Black and Brown bodies behind bars. 

Drug Use for Grown-Ups will be controversial, to be sure: The propaganda war, Dr. Hart argues, has been tremendously effective. Imagine if the only subject of any discussion about driving automobiles was fatal car crashes. Drug Use for Grown-Ups offers a radically different vision: When used responsibly, drugs can enrich and enhance our lives. We have a long way to go, but the vital conversation this book will generate is an extraordinarily important step.  

This audiobook includes a PDF of figures and an appendix from the book.   

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2021 Dr. Carl L. Hart (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Hart’s argument that we need to drastically revise our current view of illegal drugs is both powerful and timely...when it comes to the legacy of this country’s war on drugs, we should all share his outrage.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“I approached this book with knee-jerk skepticism.... But Hart, a neuroscientist who specializes in drugs and addiction, met my ignorance with a series of thought-provoking arguments.... Through his own experiences and research, he makes a compelling case for revising our mindsets about taboo substances, and the people who use them.” (Discover Magazine)

“Comprehensive and illuminating...Columbia University psychology professor Hart combines his scientific research on how recreational drugs impact brain functioning with reflections on his own use of heroin and other drugs.... Careful reasoning and detailed evidence buttress the book’s most surprising claims.... This bracingly contrarian take provides much food for thought.” (Publisher’s Weekly)

What listeners say about Drug Use for Grown-Ups

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Dr Carl Hart should be our drug Czar

Honesty integrity common sense are just a few of the words I’d use to describe Dr Harts work. Hats off to you Dr. I’ve always felt so guilty about my drug use but I now know it’s cool. I eat good sleep well and have a job for the last 45 years that I love. I’ve always been on the down low about drugs, but I get it now. It’s time to come out of the closet and be proud of who I am and how i obtain stress release in a turbulent time. Drugs aren’t bad it’s the policy’s around them that are. Give people choices and jobs !! Get rid of all the jobs people have that make money of bad policy and replace this jobs w policy that makes sense. Thank you so much for writing this book and speaking up.

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a book to change your thinking

absolutely mind blowing. incredibly informative and important message. important for anyone who drinks, smokes, etc.

10 people found this helpful

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Eye opening

This book drastically changed the way I viewed “Hard Drugs” And the people who use them, as well as changed the way I viewed my own personal journey through experimentation and where I was flawed in my own education and use of the substances mentioned in this book. Overall a great informative read and plethora of useful, life saving information. Highly recommend for anyone interested in truly understanding the complex subject of regular drug use while pursuing personal happiness.

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Life liberty and resist tyranny

Like you I’m a veteran. This way on drugs has to stop. We need education and compassion. Thank you for stepping up. Oorah

8 people found this helpful

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Very informative.

listened straight through. I love when the author narrates it gives authenticity to the content.

7 people found this helpful

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More anecdotal and less scientific than I hoped

This was a good book. I found it enjoyable and it certainly challenged my preconceived notions about drugs and drug use. However, I bought this book hoping to hear more about how his research changed his mind about drugs rather than how his experience with drugs changed his perceptions. I think that it's incredibly important to understand why Dr. Hart has been willing to devillify many illegal substances and how current drug policy harms rather than protects citizens. But are there more benefits to these drugs than enjoying the high and feeling good? What would an ideal world where individuals can use whatever substances that they desire look like? Can LSD and psilocybin increase creativity? Can cocaine boost productivity? Can marijuana reduce chronic inflammation? All questions that I wish Dr. Hart would have discussed a bit more. This was a good book but I was hoping that it'd be great.

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Brilliant

There are a few concepts/claims I plan to do more research on before endorsing, but overall this book is fantastic. As a drug abuse treatment counselor at an addiction treatment center, and an ex-user of 'hard' drugs, I have increasingly found my mind wandering into the theoretical territory of this book the past year. Due I think primarily to my profession, this has been rather lonely work. Its good to see that there is a network of likeminded thinkers out there, and a growing body of research looking into this subject.

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Deeply Compelling

This book is beautifully written and narrated by the author Dr. Carl L Hart. It addresses the biases in scientific research on drugs as well as systemic racism and its effects on social perspective. The author digs in to the other side of drug use that has not gotten enough attention: the health benefits obtained through responsible use. I applaud his bravery and I’m recommending this book to others!

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Not what I thought

The book was okay. Obviously, Dr. Hart is an expert in drugs - both scientifically and anecdotally. His point that drugs should be legalized is a good one and I’d recommend the book to anyone who thinks otherwise. That being said, I thought there was going to be a little more science and a little less insulting public figures and making the same point over and over again.

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A refreshing perspective, well reasoned

A well reasoned and progressive take on drug use in America and worldwide. Dr Hart encourages us to question society's perspective on drugs and their users.

3 people found this helpful

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  • RLH14
  • 01-27-21

Not much about drug use

Some good info about use and laws but mainly it’s a book about drugs with racism.
Now obviously theres racism in regards to how many black people are stopped by the police and prosecuted compared to white people.... but I thought the book would more cover drug use. Little disappointed.

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  • Matt C.K
  • 01-20-21

Eye opening

A pivotal book that anyone who is on the fence about drug use should read. Will challenge a lot of your previous held notions are what constitutes a 'drug user', and how responsible drug use can, and already is, integrated into the daily lives of most people.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 07-27-21

Great book

I thoroughly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn evidence based facts about recreational drugs and their effects. The book also addresses the outdated policies on drugs that cause harm and devastation especially amongst the underprivileged classes.

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  • E.S. Thomas
  • 05-15-21

Author reading made it even better

This book was better than expected. The beginning chapters included the usual arguments against drug prohibition, given additional weight due to the author’s expertise. However, the latter chapters, each of which was focused on a different type of drug, were interesting, informative, relatable and touching. Have Dr Hart read the book and hearing his emphasis on words really helped he emotion to come through. 5 stars.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-07-21

Incredible

Such fresh thinking read really powerfully by the author. Rare for a book to have such big impact as this. Very well written.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-21-21

A phenomenal rounded review

Dr Carl Hart has produced a phenomenal well rounded and highly education review and drugs in society.

His many years of expertise and disbanded many years of pre conceived notions and narcotics and the people that use them. I would urge everyone and anyone to take the time to read this book and take it in with an open mind. The facts he has portrayed are as clear as day and his wise words and knowledge should be taken in by all lawmakers of the world so that we can all stop wasting money and saving people’s lives.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-21

A good introduction for those who feel uninformed about this sphere

I found it a little too much of a memoir and not enough science for my liking.

It seemed to glorify drug use instead of posing a balanced argument of the positive and negative effects.

That being said, Dr Hart is very brave for openly admitting his regular heroin use.

This book will definitely forward the conversation about drug policy.

The intention of this book is positive and aims to create a sense of unity and non-judgement between all humans - something we could all use more of.

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  • Benc
  • 04-17-21

A fascinating insight

A fascinating insight into a rarely expressed view. Working in healthcare I struggle to agree with all of the authors points, however it is clear the current system is problematic.

One frustration is that the book is very US-centric. I feel for a book about drugs there are a lot of references to race. I recognise this is a large problem in the US and the world, but this is a book about drugs and not race. I felt like some of it was unnecessary.

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  • Mr. M. S. Rayner
  • 03-28-21

Amazing book from a very brave man.

I wish I could find a way to support Carl's mission. I hope this books supports a catalyst for change globally, and for true democracy.

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  • Marcel Atteen
  • 03-26-21

game changer

this book is amazing, emightening and made me change my mind on the topic of drugs.

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  • Mr. S. D. Farragher
  • 03-18-21

I wanted to love this book...

I'm a big fan of Carl's ideas and ideology. He highlights many of the double standards when dealing with drug 'crimes' (race). However I felt a fair amount of his arguments were based on his own personal drug use. One highly educated man's personal use is not going to sway the masses. We need large scale studies from that prove that responsible drug use can help the individual as well as society.

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  • Andrea Dawson
  • 04-18-21

A first of its kind & brilliant

Dr. Hart's book is going to end up on the reading list of any related scholar worth their standing, or I'll eat my words.
This work is a spectacular amalgamation of research and experience with drugs that is un-biased and read wonderfully by the author for the audio book.
a standing ovation is in order Doctor!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-01-21

Truth

What a refreshing insight into the reality of drugs! I wish more people could read or listen to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-23-21

Common sense

Finally some science based research on substances that have been around since time began.
Let’s hope that things are changing in this world we live in... they have to!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Benaiah
  • 03-15-21

Not what I expected

I was expecting something full of anecdotes about the benefits of drugs. This is a well researched book that has challenged so many of my long standing beliefs. I walked away with newfound discuss for the media who are not held to account for poorly researched crap that they can publish.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-11-21

Good.......but

I really enjoyed most of the content, however I couldnt help but feel that the racial aspect was overplayed and detracted from the overall message.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-16-21

Everyone needs to hear this!!!

A well researched and prestented book.I am a drug user, i have never been addicted and have used all routes of delivery and ive never got hooked on anything!! i agree that more people of the middle class and partularly the upper class need to stop hiding !

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-24-21

A great experience

So much to learn from Dr. Carl. Amazing to confirm views I have held for years and to educate those who are nervous about drugs and their influence.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-15-21

great information, easy to listen format

loved it.full of really great information in an easy to understand format for listening.

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  • Troy Abraham
  • 08-12-21

Very eye-opening, and illuminative!

Well worth the listen to shift perspective on how we feel and what connotes "drugs".