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Customer Review

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Drug-addled rats? Think again!, June 29, 2013
This review is from: High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (Hardcover)
You have probably heard of the rat studies in which rats - allowed to press a lever to get either drugs or food - will repeatedly choose drugs, thereby starving themselves. What you may not know is that those rats are locked in little cages all by themselves, with no friends or partners and nothing to do. Give them a pleasant life - buddies to pal around with, cuties to hook up with, and games to play - and they don't get strung out. It would be like running a drug study on prisoners in solitary confinement, and then claiming that your results generalize to the non-incarcerated population.

This is one of the more illuminating examples in Columbia psychology professor Carl Hart's page-turner. Hart's goal is to show that current U.S. drug policy is more about racism than brain science. Unusually, his vehicle for this message is a memoir. It's a courageous memoir, in which he describes his own background and upbringing in a rough section of Miami, Florida. As other Amazon reviewers have noted, the book is weighted more toward autobiography than the scientific research, but is quite intriguing nonetheless, illuminating the chance factors that shape our lives, and the destructive impact of drug laws on African American communities in particular.

Hart also describes studies by he and his colleagues at Columbia, in which they recruited cocaine and methamphetamine addicts to live in a lab for a couple of weeks, and get paid to take high-quality drugs. Again contrary to the dominant messages about zombie drug fiends (think of those fried-egg ads about "your brain on drugs"), the addicts made quite rational choices about whether and when to take drugs, thereby highlighting the potential for rehabilitation.

Highly recommended.
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 4, 2013, 12:08:39 PM PDT
Patt Denning says:
Thanks so much for your review- i've been waiting for a book to debunk all of the so called "research truths" about drug use. Of course the poor rats overused drugs!! Drug use has to do with not only the drug, but the psyche and social environment of the user.Happy people USE, not abuse drugs.

Posted on Jul 21, 2013, 5:35:29 PM PDT
Chemfree says:
Carl Hart has nothing to do with Harvard University

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2013, 8:08:40 AM PDT
Belatedly -- thanks for pointing out that typo in my initial blurb; I've corrected it.

Posted on Feb 10, 2014, 6:41:19 AM PST
Thanks for bringing that info to my attention.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2015, 1:01:28 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 18, 2016, 3:57:33 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2015, 1:02:05 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 18, 2016, 3:57:34 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2015, 1:02:23 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 18, 2016, 3:57:35 AM PDT]
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