April 10, 2021 – Dr. Hart argued that most of what you think you know about drugs and drug abuse is wrong: that addiction is not a brain disease; that most of the 50 million Americans who use an illegal drug in a given year have overwhelmingly positive experiences; that our policies have been warped by a focus only on the bad outcomes; and that the results have been devastating for African-American families like his own. Much of the blame, he said, falls on his own profession. “We in the field are overstating the harmful effects of drugs,” he said. “We have miseducated the public, and that is wholly un-American and wrong.”

Critics of Dr. Hart — and there are many — call these assertions both wrong and dangerous.

“He is fast and loose with the science to advance the case,” said Bertha K. Madras, a professor of psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Laboratory of Addiction Neurobiology at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass.

“You don’t ignore the adverse consequences — the parents, the families, the spouses who’ve had to live and deal with opioid use disorder. Traffic fatalities, workplace errors, absenteeism, workman’s compensation, drug-fueled violence, school dropouts, drug-related crimes and murders. I just don’t see Carl ever wanting to address these things.”



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