Dr. Carl Hart – Debunking Drug Myths

You’re being lied to. It’s often as simple as that. For almost a century now the UK and, more zealously, the United States have waged a war on drugs. The cost? Hundreds of billions in taxpayer money and countless lives wasted and families’ social mobility hurt by criminal convictions. Governments have a lot invested in the line that drugs are bad, horror stories fill the newspapers and substances get the blame for all kinds of social illness. As far as the White House and Westminster are concerned, the debate is settled.

Of course, the real world is not so black and white. The only enemy to progressive conversation is disinformation and misinformation. The War on Drugs, like any war, has been a dirty conflict of myth casting and scaremongering. In the past, the public could be forgiven for having been sold lies and propaganda, but the relentless and roaring digital modernity we live in won’t tolerate it one bit. The thirst to conform our legal system to something less archaic is real.

This week’s guest, Dr Carl Hart, grew up in a poverty stricken neighbourhood in Miami. An abuser and seller of drugs he would keep a handgun in his car for protection. He, like many, was convinced drugs and addiction were the cause of his neighbourhoods problems. After joining the military then studying neuroscience, that all changed. Under real scientific scrutiny the drug myths spun to him his whole life collapsed.

Now an Ivy League university professor, TED fellow, author and multiple prize winner in his field, Carl – like the great Neil DeGrasse Tyson – promotes education to dispel the misinformation that has fogged public judgement for so long.

The problem doesn’t seem to be the drugs but how we handle them.

Leave your opinion at the door for this one, regardless of which side or trench you usually find yourself, and let’s talk real science with Dr Carl Hart.

[0:08:22] Introduction

[0:09:40] How do you normally introduce yourself.

[0:10:33] Most people who use drugs wouldn’t be addicted.

[0:11:20] Risk of overdosing with heroin is very low. Just don’t combine it with other things.

[0:12:05] A drug free world is impossible, and I certainly don’t want to live in a drug free world.

[0:13:15] The drug in baseball is Amphetamine

[0:13:40] Drug free world is not possible and doesn’t excite me.

[0:15:30] Heroin withdrawal. Media bias.

[0:16:30] Opiates. Impurities in heroin.

[0:21:40] Crack was the worse of all. No that is fiction.

[0:22:28] I didn’t see any crack withdrawal.

[0:23:12] Something’s really wrong in it.

[0:24:45] Do you think we would be allowed to give people 1000’s of doses of crack cocain with funds from the US government to US citizens with taxes from US citizens if it was as dangerous as it was made out to be?

[0:27:40] We can’t viliify marijuana users anymore.

[0:28:40] When new drugs hit the market, its easy to believe.

[0:29:43] Parent’s are overwhelmed.

[0:31:00] TEDxtalk: Let’s quit abusing drug users.

[0:32:00] When it comes to drugs, the UK is one of the most backwards place.

[0:34:00] David Cameroon and Barack Obama on cocain. Ronald Reagan on the War On Drugs.

[0:36:00] US media is still in the 1980’s when it comes to crack cocain.

[0:36:40] Professor David Nutt and Bruce Alexander in Vancouver.

[0:37:00] Talking to the government is a waste of effort because they are not leaders. I talk to the voters.

[0:39:20] Michelle Alexander in her book The New Jim Crow. Law enforcement and drug laws. Prison.

[0:40:00] It’s our responsiblity to shame.

[0:41:00] What was it like growing up as a Black kid in Miami?

[0:42:18] My background to help promote the ideals and to call out people who are not doing this.

[0:43:30] The problems are not the drugs anymore the problems are poverty, unemployment, selective employment, ignorance.

[0:44:00] If the problem is addiction, the vast majority do not have a problem.

[0:44:50] Drug trafficking – as long as there is economic gain there will always be such activity.

[0:47:45] Not having selective law enforcements.

[0:49:00] Impact at the level where laws are passed.

[0:49:35] Decriminalisation of drugs. Portugal and Czech Republic does that and they are happy with the policy.

[0:50:45] I now argue for legal drug regulation.

[0:50:54] The drugs themselves are less dangerous than the adulterant of the drugs.

[0:51:55] My job as a scientist and an educator.

[0:54:20] The same conversation every year. Regulation of drug in the UK – Anne Marrie Cockburn.

[0:55:00] Legalisation of marijuana.

[0:55:55] Drugs laws have been excellent tools to control people we don’t like.

[0:56:30] Real actions about race.

[0:58:00] They are focused on what are the bad things we can pull out of these.

[0:58:50] The group I least like to talk to are scientist.

[1:00:30] Psychedelics.

[1:01:20] One hit will get you addicted is so ridiculous.

[1:03:50] The class of people who are attracted to psychedelics are typically pillars of our society.

[1:04:18] Perceived value of the users.

[1:05:40] It’s a matter of courage.

[1:06:30] Their stereotypes are shattered.

[1:07:10] What is the life of Carl Hart like?

[1:08:10] Using my position to make other people’s life a little easier.

[1:10:00] First Science Tenured Professor in University of Columbia.

[1:10:40] I’m the best. I work hard to be the best.

[1:11:22] It should be an embarrassment.

[1:12:00] What’s your relationship with the media?

[1:12:22] Joe Rogan.

[1:12:50] Most of the people invite me and then they think they are the experts.

[1:12:40] Bring you on to endorse a position they already had.

[1:14:30] A force multiplier that helps me get my message out.

[1:15:00] Personal habit. Success secrets.

[1:16:45] Conversations with kids.

[1:18:20] Being civically engaged.

[1:19:10] Start with lower doses.

[1:22:00] Don’t blame the drug.

[1:22:50] Advice with the 20 year old Carl Hart

[1:24:00] Best advice ever received.

[1:24:30] Advice to the 20 year old.

Connect with Dr Carl Hart

Dr Carl Hart’s Website

Connect with Dr Carl Hart on Twitter: @DrCarlHart

Connect with Dr Carl Hart on Facebook

High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society


People Mentioned

Bruce Alexander

Michelle Alexander

Anne Marrie Cockburn


Books Mentioned

The New Jim Crow

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SimonRamskee925herrydarkonyxAndrew Kennedy Recent comment authors
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This is enlightenment. I have recently been watching Dr Nutt, and am so refreshed that he continues to fight for a fairer society. Dr Hart, also demonstates this. I love the comment “I love being idealist, fuck the day I stop being idealistic, I don’t want to be here anymore”. I concur that at 32 minutes where Dr Hart believes that the UK is misguided in its drugs laws and agenda. Great to hear at 1 hour 18 minutes sensible advice to be shared by all adults for young people. A top video and great journalism.


Wow what an amazing interview! Dr. Hart is a very smart guy. Love the dreads man those are epic and super clean.


Its fascinating to read MLB Sports blogs, I am fond of getting MLB sports update particularly news about my Favorite MLB Teams & MLB players. Love to read this kind of posts about MLB.

Andrew Kennedy
Andrew Kennedy

Another top quality guest Brian, wow Dr Hart is is so smart, without these people breakthrough would not be possible…really great episode, ready for another one now…!

Cicero Viscious
Cicero Viscious

Additionally, the people who bang the anti-drug drum do fail – either ignorantly or willfully – to realize that despite the issues caused by IRRESPONSIBLE drug use, that FAR MORE people are injured and die daily due to the “war” on drugs – not the drug use itself. In fact, quite recently, Washington state decided to go against the “wisdom” and is allowing sale of MJ to the public. The price has plummeted which will be followed, of course, conflict surrounding access to MJ in that area will cease to exist. WHAT A CONCEPT – you mean allow adult human… Read more »

Cicero Viscious
Cicero Viscious

Dr. Hart – simply put – RULES!!!!! EXCELLENT discussion…must watch by all especially those who blindly say DRGUS ARE EVIL. gov’t and society is not there to protect you from yourself. It is there to protect you from other wrong-doers AND to create the environment by which you can become educated and make your own decisions – in essence, to foster freedom, individual responsibility, and self-governance…


My dad’s terrible for exactly this, He bangs on about drugs like there the root of all evil even though he’s never even smoked a joint let alone do any real research on the topic of drugs, unless you call reading the “DailyMail” research! XD Then he proceeds to reverberate all that propaganda he read like a politician, I can’t even be bothered challenging his views because I already know they where implanted in his psych from many many years ago so it’s like arguing that the sky is blue when he actually believes it’s pink, it’s a conversation I… Read more »

Ron Partlow
Ron Partlow

Dr Hart is a huge bad ass. Been a fan since he was on Rogan. It’s time everyone heard him speak.

Lawrence Aviles
Lawrence Aviles

The facts are evident. It almost seems like people have loss their sense of empathy.

Alan Watts
Alan Watts

Brian kept Carl on his toes much more than i expected, considering he is a university professor.

Russ Patchitt

London real is my drug. Yet again clear & honest answers. Very relaxed interview & how you conduct the show is excellent. ( I little bit more of your SOH would be good).

Lisa May
Lisa May

I have never used drugs. I’ve worried that I took a life experience [drug experimentation] from my kids because they followed in my footsteps. I was given half a tab of speed once for a week long modeling event. I loved it! 🙂 I didn’t know what it was though. When I found out, because I couldn’t find it at CVS, I was scared I would become addicted. It’s great to hear a different perspective. It’s a mind opener.

Elias Andrinopoulos

I have to admit, my own prejudices about drugs and drug use flared up while watching this interview (no pun intended!), because I’ve seen drugs destroy so many lives. I tried to stay open to the Dr.’s message and information, however, and I learned a few things about street drugs, what they are cut with, and the nature of addiction, to name a few things. He raises some great points to keep in mind, particularly as our society continues to become so sterilized. However, it also occured to me… The Dr. brought up Pookie in the crack house in New… Read more »


brian kind of sped up the pace of his questioning/speaking as the interview went on..

Gabriel González

Will it be possible to include the choice for a larger video but not full screen like in Youtube? Thanks.

Mark Watt
Mark Watt

Wow, the honesty in this discussion is breath-taking.
I am frightened to think of my daughter growing up in a world of super-prohibition (e.g. the insane recent UK psychoactive substances bill!!) with the adulterated substances, super high potency cannabis and the criminal underworld that it will bring. To that end, I agree with Hart that legalisation and regulation is the way forward.

Aman K
Aman K

I would’ve liked to have seen Dr Hart answer questions on nootropics too.

Matthew Milligan

Good episode, Was interesting to hear that he thought the UK was more backwards than the US on drugs policy. Which is guess it is I had just never really thought about it. I think we are unlikely to get any change over here with this current government. Maybe with a Labour/Liberal Democrat coalition.

Arwa Stone
Arwa Stone

So good! He’s funny and I’ve learnt a few things about drugs.
I like the way he said about throwing yourself into something you like doing.

Cez Całka

great epsiode! I love this type of guests, David Nutt, Amanda Fielding, well done for inviting those guests!