The New York Post:
Carl Hart is a Columbia University professor of psychology and neuroscience. He chairs the psych department and has a fondness for heroin – not only as a subject of scholarly pursuit but also as a substance for personal use.
At 54, the married father of three has snorted small amounts of heroin for as many as 10 days in a row andenjoyed it mightily – even if, as he recalls in his new book “Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear” (Penguin Press), he’s experienced mild withdrawal symptoms “12 to 16 hours after the last dose.”
But, as Hart sees it, the discomfort is a worthwhile trade-off.
“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, pointing out that the experience leaves him “refreshed” and “prepared to face another day.”
Hart, who studies the effects of psychoactive drugs on humans, finds his use of the narcotic to 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.”
His reason for coming clean about doing opiates and the like is to advocate for decriminalizing possession of recreational drugs. The book makes the case “that the demonization of drug use – not drugs themselves – [has] been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country’s enduring structural racism,” according to the publisher.
Hart told Insider that he hopes to see President Biden work toward federal regulation and licensing of the use of substances that are often described as neighborhood scourges.
And, by his logic, if people are going to indulge,they should at least do it safely.
For instance, he told the site, “if you’re going to use opioids, don’t use alcohol as a background … [the combination] increases the likelihood of respiratory depression and death.”
It’s not just heroin that keeps Hart centered, he claims. The prof is also a fan of the effects brought on by MDMA (better known as Molly or ecstasy) and methamphetamine (a drug that has caused the most overdose deaths in nearly half the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In describing MDMA, he recalled “intense feelings of pleasure, gratitude and energy.
“When I’m rolling, I just want to breathe deeply and enjoy it. The simple act of breathing can be extremely pleasurable.”
He even found pleasure in snorting a version of so-called bath salts, a synthetic cathinone that’s been linked to disturbing behavior from barking to breaking into homes. Hart’s assessment: “unequivocally wonderful.” In his book, he recounts the effects as being “euphoric, energetic, clearheaded and highly social … niiiiiice.”
So nice, in fact, that he writes about wanting to take the drug ahead of “some awful required social event, such as an academic reception.” A rep for Columbia has not returned The Post’s request for comment on Hart’s illegal drug use.