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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

What the critics say

One of Behavioral Scientist's Best Books of the Year 

“[Hart's] positions may seem quite extreme to some but they also, by and large, make a lot of sense - and are backed up by ample research.... A major reason drugs have such a negative public image, Hart asserts, is racism...eye-opening.” (NPR.org)  

“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)  

“One of the most thought-provoking reads I’ve had the pleasure of exploring in a long time....” (Trevor Noah, The Daily Show)  

What listeners say about Drug Use for Grown-Ups

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10/10 recommend

More people need to hear / read this book. Dr. Hart offers a critical and first-hand perspective on drug use, drug policy, and the opioid crisis.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard to Swallow Food for Thought

Findings and experiences that make you wonder, is any recreational drug inherently deadly? Or is it the law and shame that carry the greater certainty of harm?

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mostly agree

There should be a large segment that explains the many reasons for addictions. And how to avoid this trap. I believe that addiction wouldn't be a problem if humans would only be machine like, the problem reside in our heads, our mind,our spirit... our soul. I think the main problem is that "we" as humans living in the system we're in now, we are damaged beings. Many of our human need never being fulfilled.

All of that being said, i also believe that all drugs should be decriminalized.

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Beyond terrible

This is the first Audible title this year that I was not able to finish - less than half way through the book I started forwarding to subsequent chapters in the hopes of finding anything of interest (which never happened). Perhaps I was expecting something along the lines of a work by Michael Pollan or Roland Griffiths, but with the number of 5-star reviews I did not bother to even listen to the sample on Audible (which was a mistake).

Not only in the narration terrible, but there is literally nothing of substance of depth in the book. The author makes a case for decriminalizing all drugs, and while that position has some merit, in nearly 10 hours of recording time he adds nothing at all to the debate. This is by far the worst title that I've listened to this year and the only one that I could not even manage to complete.

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An important book by a courageous man

The epilogue alone is worth the price of admission. The drug war has taken a terrible toll in human suffering, unnecessary human suffering. There are enough problems in the world without us wasting precious resources making more. Please listen to Dr. Hart.

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extremely irresponsible assessment on drugs

I was a big fan of Carl and I love how open he is about his drug usage but this book is extremely irresponsible to any drug users giving them ammo that cocain, heroin isn't bad for you. I also had to listen to this book at 1.75x because Carl reading it was painfully slow it all.osf felt like he was on something while reading.

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Everyone should read this book.

I finished this in one day, always a fan of Dr. Carl Hart, this just blew me away, as a recreational drug user, it opened even my eyes to how ignorant I've been. Riddled with excellent anecdotes and solid science, it really paints a heart wrenching picture of the damage caused by the 'war on drugs' I also loved the music references, as a fan of all the artists, it really put me right in his shoes. Drug and non drug users will get a lot out of this.

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Eye opening, fact based approach

After hearing Dr. Carl on the Joe Rogan podcast I was very intrigued with his work. This book doesn’t disappoint. I appreciate Dr. Carl for his fact based approach, replacing many of my previous anecdotal views on drugs.

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Very shocking

This book has dismantled almost every negative sentiment I've had about drugs (through decades of propaganda, misleading studies, and flat-out lies from our governments, academics, and scientists). I am a very open minded and accepting type of person and this book was extremely eye-opening. Thank you Dr. Carl Hart!!

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Masterpiece

This is perhaps the best research book on drug use ever written and Hart's passionate narration and detailed analysis deliver a powerful argument for legalization.

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  • Steven Gordon
  • 2021-01-19

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.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-19

a book to change your thinking

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

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-16

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.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Steven Francis
  • 2021-01-15

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

9 people found this helpful

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  • Jt32
  • 2021-01-18

Very informative.

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

8 people found this helpful

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  • Brad D
  • 2021-03-05

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.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Jared Stirland
  • 2021-02-04

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.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Jack Rothermich
  • 2021-02-18

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.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah Harmon
  • 2021-01-16

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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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-01-21

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