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Dr. Carl Hart Talks Drugs and How The War on Drugs has been an Utter Failure

Dr. Carl Hart is a neuroscientist and an Associate Professor of Psychology in both the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University, and Director of the Residential Studies and Methamphetamine Research Laboratories at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. A major focus of Dr. Hart’s research is to understand complex interactions between drugs of abuse and the neurobiology and environmental factors that mediate human behavior and physiology. He is the author or co-author of dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles in the area of neuropsychopharmacology, co-author of the textbook, Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior, and a member of a NIH review group. Dr. Hart was recently elected to Fellow status by the American Psychological Association (Division 28) for his outstanding contribution to the field of psychology, specifically psychopharmacology and substance abuse. In addition to his substantial research responsibilities, Dr. Hart teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and was recently awarded Columbia University's highest teaching award.

Dr. Hart's latest book is: High Price. High Price is the harrowing and inspiring memoir of about a man who grew up in one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods and, determined to make a difference as an adult, tirelessly applies his scientific training to help save real lives.

Young Carl didn't see the value of school, studying just enough to keep him on the basketball team. Today, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist—Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor in the sciences—whose landmark, controversial research is redefining our understanding of addiction.

In this provocative and eye-opening memoir, Dr. Carl Hart recalls his journey of self-discovery, how he escaped a life of crime and drugs and avoided becoming one of the crack addicts he now studies. Interweaving past and present, Hart goes beyond the hype as he examines the relationship between drugs and pleasure, choice, and motivation, both in the brain and in society. His findings shed new light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explain why current policies are failing.

Criminal Justice Professor and Former US Special Agent, David Long, Talks About the Failed War on Drugs

David M. Long served for nearly nine years as a special agent with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Division of Labor Racketeering, working union corruption and related organized crime cases in Florida. Later, he transferred to Los Angeles where he began investigating identity theft cases tied to the Mexican Mafia. In Los Angeles, he also sat on a joint task force investigating Asian organized crime and human trafficking.

As a federal agent, David began to see the unmistakable link of how the drug trade fueled, funded, and helped to facilitate crimes he investigated. It became clear to David that many of the weapons and much of the money funding these crimes could be traced to the illegal drug trade.

As a professor of criminal justice and legal studies, David became convinced that the “War on Drugs” is an unsound policy and is, in fact, doing great harm to our society in many ways. As a professor, David began to notice and conduct research into how our nation’s drug policies lead to prison overcrowding and a disconnect in our social priorities.

“It has become clear to me that while we fill our prisons with low-level drug offenders, the illegal drug trade, drug abuse and addiction continue in the face of the “War on Drugs.” Until drugs are legalized and addiction and abuse are treated first and foremost as public health issues, the nation will face continuing problems resulting from overcrowded criminal dockets, overcrowded prisons, deaths as a result of drug overdosing, street violence, the spread of diseases, ruined lives, and lost potential.”

Former LAPD Deputy Chief, Stephen Downing says, "We need an exit strategy to the War on Drugs

Stephen Downing began his twenty-year police career in a squad car and finished as a deputy chief of police. As Commander of the Bureau of Special Investigations at one point, the Administrative Narcotics Division was one of the divisions within his scope of authority. His vast experience in law enforcement has led him to the conclusion that the War on Drugs can never be worth the human and fiscal costs.

Stephen entered the LAPD in 1960 and spent twelve years assigned to operations in South Central Los Angeles. He is a veteran of the Watts riot and its aftermath, which gave birth to the first community-based policing programs in the country. His assignments covered a wide range of specializations including patrol, criminal investigation, narcotics, vice and organized crime intelligence. Among the many commands held in the LAPD, his most memorable include: Captain of Detectives, where he established homicide investigation techniques still in use today; Commanding Officer of Juvenile Division, where he established and published a file that brought an end to abuses in state probation subsidy programs; and Commanding Officer of Southwest Area, where he designed and implemented the first functionally integrated police operation in law enforcement aimed at combating gang activity - a program that became a national model. As a staff officer Stephen was involved in reorganizing the LAPD from a centralized functional organization to a decentralized line organization.

After twenty years in law enforcement witnessing the futility of our current drug laws, Stephen has concluded that this approach just isn't working. He explains, "We need an exit strategy to the War on Drugs. We keep trying to to stop addicts from shooting up or potheads from taking a toke by building more and more prisons to stuff with people, while human and fiscal costs skyrocket. We need a new approach."

 
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