A Columbia University professor of psychology and neuroscience says he snorts heroin and takes other drugs to feel ‘refreshed’ and ‘prepared to face another day.’
Carl Hart, 54, studies the effects of recreational psychoactive drugs on humans and is the chair of the prestigious university’s psych department.
Hart, a neuroscience Ph.D. who is on a sabbatical until July, details his drug use in his new book ‘Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear.’
In his book, he says he has particular attachment to heroin scholastically and as a substance for personal use.
‘There aren’t many things in life that I enjoy more than a few lines by the fireplace at the end of the day,’ he writes.
He says the use of heroin can be ‘as rational as my alcohol use. Like vacation, sex and the arts, heroin is one of the tools that I use to maintain my work-life balance.
In the book, Hart claims he has snorted small amounts of heroin for as many as 10 days in a row and enjoys it even when he experiences mild withdrawal symptoms ’12 to 16 hours after the last dose.’
Hart hopes that coming clean about his drug use will help lead to the decriminalization of illegal drugs.
‘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,’ according to publisher notes.
The professor argues that ‘when used responsibly, drugs can enrich and enhance our lives,’ according to the publisher.
Hart told Insider that he wants President Joe Biden to federally decriminalize drug possession and hopes the country moves toward the federal regulation and licensing of the use of substances.
‘You could have a massive public-service-announcement campaign that says “If you’re going to use opioids, don’t use alcohol as a background or other sedatives in combination, because it increases the likelihood of respiratory depression and death”,’ Hart said, according to the outlet.
Earlier this week, Biden promised to end jail time for drug offenses while urging against defunding police in a town hall in Milwaukee.
‘Nobody should go to jail for a drug offense. No one should go to jail for the use of a drug. They should go to drug rehabilitation,’ Biden said.
Hart argues that many of the fears surrounding drug use began as a direct result of racism.
He told GQ in an interview: ‘We don’t think of these drugs in rational terms. We think of these particular drugs as producing unique effects and it’s just not true. But when you do that, when you think of these drugs as producing these unique effects, the response is not rational. When we think about when these drugs were banned, we can see this even more clearly.
‘When we think about cocaine, for example, we banned it for irrational reasons, for reasons of American racism. Same thing with opioids. We paired these drugs with the behavior of groups we didn’t like, and behavior that we exaggerated, like crime, like Black men being with white women.
‘So the drugs became more about these other issues that were sadly exaggerated. And so we’re still doing that today.’
Hart says he first tried heroin six or seven years ago when he was already a tenured professor in his late 40s.
He says he did a ‘short, thin line’ with a friend and felt ‘a dreamy light sedation, free of stress,’ adding that the two talked and laughed, ‘called it an evening, and went home.’
Hart, who is married and has three children, told Insider that his family supports his recreational heroin use.
‘The most important thing we have emphasized as parents is: Just try and live like the person that you think you are — a moral, compassionate, global citizen,’ he told the outlet.
‘My family would expect me to stand up on behalf of the people who have been castigated [for using drugs].’
Most drug-related overdose deaths in the United States come from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and other street drugs, which often cut with other chemicals like antihistamines.