Jun 27, 2015
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.