country, world war i has been forgotten. go to any big box bookstore and in the history department you'll see cases and cases of books about the civil war, and cases and cases of books about world war ii and maybe a shelf. and it really, you know, i almost didn't notice it as chris said when he was introducing me. there are more monuments to world war i than any war. ..
looking at something in a fashion that your folks didn't but i remember vaguely she worked for the french red cross and worked finding housing for refugees. >> she wrote a wonderful book about it which the name escapes me. you are correct in that they had veterans day and if it had smartphones. in fact there was one moment there was a question that i like to ask everybody which was what was something you wished you could see that you could never have imagined. the first time i interviewed frank buckles who died february in 2011 at 110 i asked him that
question. what's something if you live to see you could never imagine when you were younger blacks he said that thing in your pocket that rang while we were talking. [laughter] which immediately embarrassed me but in a good way. it's a pretty fascinating thing when you consider that these were men and women who grew up without so much as electricity or automobiles to make it into the age of broadband internet and cell phones. in fact lawrence moffatt the gentleman in orleans massachusetts who i interviewed at one point toward the end of the interview he asked me how i learned about him and i told him about the french list and i told them i had done research on the internet. this was in july 2003. he said i keep hearing about the internet. can you tell me about it? i started telling them about it and he said this is something you join? which makes perfect sense
because this was a man who spent his adult life and insurance. he lived in connecticut but often works in new york. he was a member of a couple of clubs there and that is how i explained it to him. i said i think you would really like it or here he was quiet for a second and then he looked at me and he said do i need it? i left and i said no, you don't. thank you all for coming. [applause] let me just add, i think i mentioned this earlier but if you want information you want tc video clips go to the web site the last of the doughboys.com. their photos and video clips in world war i music and you can also contact me on my web site. i hope you do. i live up the coast. i had to come to maine.
>> a lot of people do. >> it's a very good place to write so thank you. next on booktv from the 2013 harlem book fair a conversation about drug use and loss between e.r. shipp and morgan state university and carl hart author of "high price" and neuroscientist journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs in society. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> hello everybody. [applause] is everybody here he may?
dr. hardback you are laying a really heavy one on us with this book "high price." there's a lot i want to talk to you about and hopefully raise some of the issues that people in our audience are also curious about. let me start with the title itself. what is the high price to which you referred and who is paying that price? >> price? >> first of all i just want to say thank you all for coming out. i know you all could be doing something else on this hot day in new york so thank you all for joining us. so "high price" what is the title? some of you all may have heard or seen some of the publicity around the book. i am the first tenured african-american scientist at columbia and when that is the
case one must pay a price. in the book i am saying that the price is too high. it's a hell of a told that it takes on someone in folks who are coming up subsequently i'm trying to show folks how we can decrease the price so we can produce other brothers and sisters who look like me they want to become scientists. so the book is trying to describe this. that is one. two, when we think about what we are doing in this country -- i study drugs by the way, study drugs of dubious and then you think about what we are doing in the country in terms of drug policy some of you all know that if you have been living anywhere than under a rock you know that our drug policy disproportionately impacts negatively black folks particularly black men and what i'm saying in terms of drug policy is that the price is too high for our community.
hide prices a play on on a personal story of science and drug policy. >> that is one of the things that you are trying to get us to think about in two ways. in many ways you say that black boys are paying a high price for what you see as mr. did drug policy. you say that these policies target blacks disproportionately and that they derive if i understand it correctly from the sub session with drugs like cocaine, opiates and marijuana that are based on racist assumptions, bad science bad policing and media hype. do i have it right? >> that's right. >> i was struck by this passage in the book where you say -- let
me find it here. give me one second. i explained my 20 plus years of drug use experience has taught me many important lessons. perhaps none more important than this. drug effects are predictable. as you increase the drug dose there's more potential for toxic effects. but boys and men interaction with police however are not predictable. i worry all the time about the very real possibility that my own children will be taunted by law enforcement because they fit the description of a drug user or because someone thought they were under the influence of drugs. too often in these cases the black youngster ends up dead and you mentioned among them trayvon martin.
what can you tell us about that? you said you would prefer to have your sons and tracked with drugs than with law enforcement. >> so, i should give you all some background. i have been studying drugs for 23 years now. part of my research today is that i actually bring people into the laboratory and i administer drugs like cocaine and, marijuana and methamphetamine. i study the effects to see exactly what they do and what they don't do. of course we pass all of the ethical requirements. as i point out in this passage i have learned many important lessons. some of those lessons often conflict with what you all have been told. the first thing that one of the things i'd try to do in "high price" is to show the reader how they have been lied to. they have been lied to by a wide range of looks including the
government, including science has, including law enforcement about drugs. as the passage indicates the thing that i know about drugs is that drugs effects are predictable. we know when bad effects are more likely and we know when positive effects are more like me. now when we think about the environment that we have created all of us, we have all participated in creating this environment, the environment that created the 100-1 disparity between crack-cocaine and powder cocaine more harshly than powder cocaine. we all said that drugs were destroying our community. we all believe that. that's a lie. drugs were not destroying our community. unemployment was out of control before crack-cocaine was introduced but we all expected that this was an easy answer and
we created this environment such that we went after croaking -- crack-cocaine with such intensity that law enforcement thought that they had license to come into the community and do whatever they would to your children, to my children to me and so forth. in the book i try and explain how this all happened and how this is currently going down. so when i say that i prefer to have my kids interact with with drugs as opposed to law enforcement i know how to keep my kids safe with drugs. there are a number of things we know how to do with drugs in order to decrease the harm. i described some of these things in the look but i don't know how to keep our kids safe with police officers particularly when you have these young males interacting with our young males. i don't oddity that because testosterone and egos get out of control and you end up with things like trayvon martin. you end up with ramarley crammed
the kid that was killed in the bronx. all of this in the name of drugs being so awful. i'm here to tell you people drugs -- we know how to do these things safely and we know how to keep people safe with them. >> let me pick up on that point particularly in communities such as harlem and throughout their city and throughout urban america. to say that drugs are not the problem is kind of difficult for us to swallow when we look around us and the things we see seem to be associated with the use of drugs. so tell me more about why we shouldn't be so upset about drugs as a problem. >> well i want to make sure that i am clear and i'm not trying to be reckless here because i'm not reckless. you don't get to be reckless.
what i mean when i say that drugs are not the problem, i mean that let me give you some statistics. when we think about drugs like cocaine, the 80 or 90% of the people who use cocaine including crack-cocaine 80 to 90% of them don't have a problem. they go to work. they go to work and they pay their taxes and they are responsible individuals. the same is true for other drugs but we do have a small percentage that are 10 to 20% and that should be taken seriously but the vast majority of folks don't have a problem. that tells you it's not the pharmacology of the drugs. it's some other things in those other things come, go we know what they are. lack of skills, lack of jobs, go wide range of things that we try
to work on in the 1960s and 70's, but the things that the society has abandoned. all of those. that is why i tell my personal story so you all can know that i'm not perfect. lord knows i'm not perfect. i sold drugs and i did drugs or did all of those sorts of things. not as a badge of honor. i'm not saying this is a badge of honor and something to be proud of. i'm saying this so that you all know that i made mistakes and i have done okay in society. i pay taxes. in fact the guy in the white house has done marijuana and has done cocaine. the guy before him george bush has done marijuana and suspected of doing cocaine. the guy before him bill clinton did marijuana. >> he didn't inhale. >> he said he did not inhale. but the point is that those guys are more typical of drug users than what you have been told in
what you think and that's not to say that people don't have problems because there are people who do have problems and that's a small percentage and we know what a deal with those problems. that way we deal with the problem is not our current drug policy because our current drug policy ends up with too many of our folks in jail. >> he i'm going to pick up on that again but i want to stay with trayvon for a minute because we know outside here on the streets today there are all kinds of protests all over the country reacting to the verdict of acquittal in the george zimmerman case a week ago. thousands of people are apparently protesting and on the eve of that protest yesterday, president obama gave it very for him emotional speech where he said that he could have been trayvon, and not just the
trayvon could've been his son and he talked about the difficulties of being a black male new united states. he offered some sense of solution but i would like to ask you dr. hart what do you think of what he said about identifying the problems that lack males have the more importantly the solutions he hinted on. >> i have to be really careful here because there are a lot of people who support the president who i want to buy this book. [laughter] now, on the one hand i think the president deserves props for coming out and saying something. he must be under tremendous pressure from both sides and so i appreciate the pressure he is under which he has to deal with. on the other hand one of the
things that -- i listened to the speech carefully and he gave evidence of the racial discrimination, two pieces of evidence he gave. the disproportionate numbers of brothers and sisters in prison in the criminal justice system and the disproportionate numbers of people who are being arrested for drugs. if you look around the country black people are for, seven, eight times more like to be arrested for marijuana even they don't use marijuana more than white folks. we look at the crack-cocaine powder cocaine disparities. we know that 85, 90% of the people arrested for crack-cocaine that are prosecuted are black even though they don't use crack-cocaine at rates higher than white folks of the pieces of evidence that the president gave for racial discrimination is supported by a plethora of data.
yet now i want to say that i understand that he he has not thought this through completely but there is no sort of comment on drug policy and propose solutions. in "high price" i propose that the country can do to deal with this issue of the high numbers of employees and men being arrested and by the way the likelihood of you getting a job if you are black is very low. one way to deal with this job situation or disempowerment about black boys is that you stop giving them this limitation in "high price" i argue that we should decriminalize all drugs. decriminalization is not legalization. decriminalization of drugs still remain illegal. legalization is what we are
doing with alcohol. i'm not proposing that because with decriminalization if you sell drugs you are still subjected to the same penalties as you were before. but given that 80% or more of our arrests for drugs in this country are for possession. i'm arguing that when people are caught with possessing drugs they give the equivalent of a traffic violation and not a criminal offense. this isn't new. we are ready do to it in some states with marijuana. this isn't new. portugal has decriminalized all drugs. they have done it since 2001. it works. so i was disappointed at some point, at some level, that there was no comment on drug policy when we note drug policy is the reason why these folks are caught up in the criminal
justice system in the first place. >> the president said that he wants to find a way to show black young men and boys that they are valued in the society. how can we do that? >> i didn't write on this subject i should tell you in terms of the way that the president can do that. one of the things that the president did, and this is important. the president corroborated the reality of black boys and men by telling the stories of him walking down the street or in the elevator and women clutching their purse or walking down the street and you hear cars clicking their locks and so forth. of course we all have that experience. that is a small slice. i think that it requires more
particularly when we think about the things that really matter in this country. if you want to validate black boys and black men make sure that they can support their family. make sure that they have jobs. make sure that they feel like men. that is the most important way to validate someone. i mean when you have mediocre white boys working and they should be by the way, but you have to be extraordinary to be lack lawyer black man, something is wrong. this is what we need some action on. >> well, these days you get around academic circles and some policy circles but i think our audience might like to hear a little bit more of something that you alluded to earlier. you've clearly did not grow up as a cosby kid with claire and
cliff huxtable as your parents. you grew up in south florida. tell us about your rocky start in life and what it was that put you on the course to get you where you are now. >> as i said this book is a combination between mmr a science book in a policy book. i told the memoir portion not because i want you all to know more about my personal business. believe me the great delay reviewing this book caused me a great deal of anxiety. i did not tell it for that reason. i told the personal part because i know people learn by example. but i had to add science so you don't make mistakes because you could make some real mistakes by the personal and is goats. i wanted the kids who were coming up after me to see -- to provide a roadmap. i wanted policymakers to see how
you do this with people who were not the cosby's. so the thing that kept me plug then into society even though i was engaged in petty crimes and that sort of thing, the thing that kept me plugged in was high school basketball. i played high school basketball throughout. i had to maintain a certain gpa a 2.0 to stay in school. i did and i also -- it allowed me to graduate. i had five sisters and i had a grandmother who was strong. they kept me on the path is straight as possible even though i deviated but i didn't want to disappoint them too much. i had a guidance counselor. one i didn't get a basketball scholarship -- i ultimately went into the air force where i began my college education and where he began to get a real education
i had to go over to england in order to have my experience here with racism and my experience as a black man be corroborated. so i had learned how to develop a critical analysis of this country by being over in england. i had mentors compliment multiple mentors. i had mentors in the streets and i had mentors us all in the classroom a wide range of mentors. this notion that you have only one mentor is crazy. i have multiple mentors. i had drug dealers who were mentors. i had professors who were mentors. i talk to to each about what i needed. in fact one of those mentors told me i have what it takes to obtain might ph.d. so that is how i ended up going to graduate school. [applause]
granted i didn't go to graduate school in harlem. i want to graduate school in wyoming. that's another story and i talk about that story. >> you said that you had an abundance of adolescent cockiness that created risks blindness. i think a lot of parents can understand that and they think of their own sons in particular. why is it important to you thing for readers to know that your badness had nothing to do with drugs and everything to do with street accountability? >> one of the things we have to ask ourselves is if the drug policy is that working for us, so why does it continue to exist clerks why do we continue to have these bad drug policies? drug policy as it is today
actually works for politicians because when you go to your politician with a problem the only thing they can do really is pass a law or something of that nature. and if you know or you think the problem is drugs you can pass laws that restrict drugs. you can increase the number of police officers. that's easy to do. and so you don't have to look at any further -- you don't have to look further for any other answers. the reason why i point this out in the look that drugs were not the problem is because i didn't want people to stop to think that they have the solution. drugs are easy scapegoats and they are rarely the problem. i wanted folks to understand what the issues are that are going on with young people, whether they are coming up in my era or coming up in this current era.
i mean, i needed the approval of my peers. and so as a result i engaged in some behaviors that were not productive and certainly could have gotten me in trouble but they have nothing to do with drugs. they had everything to do with risk-taking that adolescents do. as a society we can keep adolescents safe by making sure that the activities in which they engage in, these risk-taking activities can decrease the harm as much as possible and understanding that the risk-taking is normal and it's not some extreme aberrant behavior. i try and show how all of the sort of things that i was doing were normal in the context. if we understand the context we might be able to keep people even more safe.
>> that argues i suppose for more proactive involvement in our young people's lives. the grownups in the communities need to do more not way for law enforcement to be the answer to whatever is. we need to provide some alternatives for them. >> yeah. if you ever wait for law enforcement to solve your problem you have already lost terry law enforcement has no training in pharmacology, then no training in behavioral science. their training is to go after criminals and lot them up. >> and sometimes there are presumptions about those people they are locking up based on this notion that black people in particular are more likely to be in boston's drugs than other crimes. so jump on them before they have
a chance to act. let me point out one of your experiences. you aren't your ph.d. in neuroscience in 1996 then you said that year you were the only black male that earn that degree. if you went to to the national institute of health to do some research. tell us about that experience you had where you came face-to-face with assumptions that were made about you as a black male. >> you are describing an experience i had which i was subjected to an impromptu lineup now, we all have these kinds of experiences and i am kind of reluctant to even talk about it publicly, these kinds of things because you all could tell me your stories. this particular story i was on the nih campus the national
institute of health campus. it is the premier medical campus in the country. i was doing research for my dissertation, might ph.d. dissertation. at the time i was so excited about some finding that i was getting in the lab. i had just come back from the bank. one building contained a bank in my building was near the bank so i was walking towards my building and two police officers officers -- they were undercover police officers -- were staring at me, one black and one filipino. i could not figure out why they were staring at me. so i thought maybe you know they are interested in me romantically. [laughter] but that wasn't it. they said well there has been a
robbery. can you help us out? me, of course, absolutely, what can i do? they said well the person who did the robbery but like you. now i am shocked. i have my nametag on and my badge and made a statement and so forth. and so they asked if i am mind being subjected to an impromptu lineup for the person who was robbed could point me out or identify me or exonerate me. i didn't see that i had a choice so i did. 20 minutes later they told me i could go but being a psychologist i know too how unreliable lineups are. afterwards i was really angry
about this thing. not knowing what to do -- i was in training. i was trying to keep my nose clean. i was trying not to be involved in any sort of controversial acts. in the end i ended up doing nothing but those kinds of things happen. i have more stories i didn't share in the book as i didn't want to bore the reader because you all know the stories. that is one. >> you the chapter which you call still just a -- in. it may but that is when i realized my son faced a world where even in the most clear-cut situation someone with our skin tone could still be seen as a crackhead just because he dressed a certain way or to use that language of an earlier wave of drug hysteria a cocaine --
and all of this made me think a lot more critically about my research and about how to think about drugs. it struck me that a lot of those people with whom you were working at nih and people with whom they were interacting in drug policy formulation were the same kind of people that we are relying upon to formulate these policies and they are having the same kind of attitudes that could see you as potentially the bank robber and needing to go through a lineup. it's unsettling to think that people may have those attitudes you are the very same people who formulate the policy. first of all doing the research on these policies. it's scary. >> yeah it is scary but i hope it's not a revelation to anyone because if it is you are in trouble in this country.
one of the reasons that i wrote "high price" was voices like mine are not in the discussion on drug policy. when i save voices like mine there are few people in the country who have experience with drugs as i do. but in science, first of all there aren't many old in science who look like me and certainly not this experience. scientists generally don't speak out on these issues. they don't speak out on these issues for a wide range of reasons. number one they are children because they are white won't be subjected to the same sort of things that my kids will be. that is one. two, if we continue our current
approach with drugs the notion notion -- guided by this notion that drugs are so awful it helps to increase her budgets in science so that provides further motivation for them not to speak out. and so in this book i describe the science about how you all have been misled and i also described this personal sort of story. so i really hope that the people read the book carefully and if you do that and we have this movement i think that things will change. but the change will come from you, not scientists. when we had slavery i don't think the slaveowners were the ones who were saying we need to get rid of slavery.
it is the same situation, folks. >> you said that sometimes the most important discoveries come from the axiomatic assumptions. when did you begin to question the conventional wisdom about crack and it's impact? >> in 1996 i was at the university of wyoming's library doing some sort of research trying to prepare for my dissertation. i came across an article written in 1914 by the new york times. it was called cocaine fiends are a new southern menace. this article had been cited by a current scientific paper. in this article the author described how cocaine made black people unaffected by bullets so you had to increase -- they were
unaffected by 32 caliber of the lead so you had to increase the caliber of your bullets to the 38 caliber bullet if you wanted to stop it lacked cocaine user. cocaine also made black people better marksman so they could shoot more sharply. bad is bad when cocaine made them more murderous as the author argued. so as i started to -- as i read articles like this more carefully and i look at what we have been saying about crack-cocaine in the mid-1980s and early 1990s, it was the same thing. we were saying exactly the same thing except the language had been tempered. i started more critically to read in a way that would challenge some of the assumptions that the authors were making. i learned that the vast majority of the people who use all of
these drugs don't have a problem if we act like that drugs are the problem. i learned that if you provide people laboratorlaborator y animals with alternatives to the drug they almost always take the alternatives as opposed to the drug. that told me that the drug was not so powerfully addicting. i learned that many of the effects when we think about was saved the cognitive effects of the brain effects of these drugs i learned that many of the claims that are made in the author's discussion's conclusions are inconsistent with the actual data that they just published. and so as i started to think about these things more critically now i try to think about my life in the same way. i try to think about the people that i care about in the same
way. so i hope it will be an invitation for people to learn how to think critically as well. >> i want to point to one image that still sticks with me. back in the day when crack was the menace we were told we had hell house and it was the thing for prominent people and celebrities to be seen going to hell house to hold a crack baby. we were being told that our community was being devastated by crack and a whole generation of people were being destroyed like crack. in your book you seem to say that was one of those myths. can you explain that? >> i'm not the only one that says that all the scientific evidence shows that is the myth and the new york times has published two major pieces. i think one of them was entitled
the epidemic that was sent. the notion of this crack baby thing is not supported by any evidence. if you look at the scientific literature people who are saying it is or not credible. so that is pretty clear. now i want to say that i am not saying that pregnant mothers should go out and use crack-cocaine. i'm not saying that it all. what i'm saying is the effects that we saw from using cocaine during pregnancy were comparable to the effects of the mother who smoke tobacco cigarettes. that is what i'm saying so when you look at the data, they look the same. when we look at the long-term effects on these children they are here. they argue. they are here. we were warned and we got all of these dire warnings about our schools wouldn't be able to handle the cognitive impairments that we were going to see from
these predators that were being born. none of that came to bear but this is what we were told. that is one of the myths that helped to drive the creation of this policy that punishes crack-cocaine 100 times more harshly than powder cocaine. one of the myths at haskin chu betake to the large incarceration rate of black men in this country. and ian "high price" i'm trying to help us understand how we can change that. >> you use not only your own experiences but those of your family members and friends to make these points you are making now. let's talk about some of those suggestions that you have because i think that is where some people take issue with you. >> you said that nicely that
people take issue with me. >> i'm trying to say it nicely. you advocate that we have education about drugs and to some people they have the same reaction when you talk about educating schools about sex and that means you're promoting sex. the four we get into the specifics how do we get into that mindset that says you can't educate about drugs. you can eradicate drugs or put people in jail but they can educate people about drugs? >> how you deal with that mindset or deal with those people first of all i would like to say i am a person who has no time for disingenuous people and stupid people. [applause] now if you are ignorant that's okay but if you are obstinately ignorant i have no time for you. my conversation is for people
who are genuinely concerned about the problems which we face now, to answer the question how do i deal with it? first of all i have to have people understand when we think about drugs particularly when we think about illegal drugs or anything else, when we look at illegal drugs they are the same drugs that we use in medicine to treat various conditions. think about methamphetamine. it's exactly the same same drug is after all the drug that is used to treat attention deficit disorder. so that tells the thinking person that these drugs can be used safely under some conditions. when you think about heroin at the same drug as morphine. we use more paint to help people with chronic pain. now you have engaged a person at a level in which they can understand and hopefully they are open and so now you can make some progress.
now we will talk about the specifics of each drug. we can tell people okay if young people for example are using marijuana and of course we don't want people to engage in behaviors that are illegal. let's just say that we know and we are not stupid and we know that people engage in behaviors that they sometimes should not engage or engage in illegal behavior. just like when we have these be the limit in our cars. people exceed the speed limit even those dangers but we try to keep them safe by asking people to put on their seat else and we try to do a number of things. we can do the same thing with drugs like marijuana, drugs like cocaine confit drugs like amphetamines. hi to lenny is something so we can do. somebody says like alcohol. absolutely like alcohol. we have a considerable amount of information about how to keep people safe with alcohol.
it's the same thing. we can do this with cocaine. in fact we can do it better if you ask me but people are doing it better. people aren't doing it if you have 80 to 90% of people using these drugs without a problem they are already doing at that our proposal that we have this education would be even better and more widely available and we could decrease even more the potential harms. >> windy to begin this education? >> if you are student at columbia and you take my class class -- or if you are in my household they get this education from the time that you are able to walk and talk. it's just like any other education. drugs are not special for example in my household. my sort of main focus at my household is that my children
are expected to have -- expected to achieve a certain amount of success in life. they there expects to go to college and expect to do these other things. anything that impedes or disrupts their ability to do that we have a problem. whether it's driving the car too fast, go with her it's playing video games, whether it's smoking marijuana. this particular education is not limited to marijuana or some drug. it encompasses everything and so anything that disrupts their ability to succeed ordered their ability to achieve the expectations that we have we have to talk about it and we have to provide education. so it's no longer disrupting their ability to do that.
>> lets get into some of the specifics. first you want to educate inexperienced drug users so they know how to use the proper amounts of drugs. am i saying that right? >> that's right. in the book i tell a story. story. i'd just gotten out of the military in which i hadn't smoked marijuana in a while. i met two women. you always get in trouble with women. i'm joking. that is a joke. that is a joke. actually in the book the main point is that the women in my life kept me out of trouble but in this particular case we were smoked marijuana and i was naïve i tried to the macho and i smokes too much. i got really paranoid and i had a bad experience. now, if i had the proper amount of education.
i was an inexperienced youth. bn and inexperienced user i should not have been behaving like i was experience and i have tolerance. i should have started out with extremely low doses and only taken a small amount. i should have also -- i didn't say this but i did not know these women particularly well. i should have also not smoked with people i didn't know well because i had all of these suspicions about their motivations which were not true but i had these suspicions. all of these factors contributed to having a bad experience and so in the book i'm explaining inexperienced user should start with low doses. also don't take these illegal substances in environments in which you are uncomfortable or with people with whom you are uncomfortable. so there are some practical things.
>> so i'm trying to envision this, having this practical conversation with your son about to moderate the level of drug intake. it wouldn't work in my household >> well, you said it wouldn't work in your household. i don't know. i guess this is beyond drugs now. this is where parenting, people have actually parents or you have to be a lucid talk to your children about all the potential things that they will face in life and if this is one in which you are not able to talk to them about it i think it says more about your relationship with your children morse -- more so than about drugs. if you can't talk about drugs you can't talk about sex. maybe you can't talk about homosexuality and maybe you can do a number of things. i would encourage people to be better parents.
>> i encourage that part too. the second thing you suggested is helping people to prepare their bodies. healthy sleep habits should be stressed for all drug users. why do we want them to sleep well? >> one of the things that i know from having a position in the medical school is there are a few things we can do to increase our productivity and health and longevity. sleep well, they eats well and exercise and also laugh. if you do those things you are in the path to having a more healthy life. in this particular instance that you are describing i am talking mainly about amphetamines. one of the things that then amphetamines to, methamphetamines adderall, they keep people awake when they should be sleeping so i encourage and i urge and that of
being users to make sure it they are using a drug don't use it in your sleep time and make sure they get the proper amount of sleep. chronic sleep loss is associated with things like psychopathology various medical conditions like certain types of cancers, a wide range of deleterious effects on health. i'm encouraging folks to take stimulants or take drugs that keep you awake, make sure you get your sleep. that is just common sense. >> and the third thing that you advocate is educating people about the combinations of drugs. certain drug combination should be avoided you said. some people say it drug should be avoided but now we are going to focus on combinations of drugs that should be avoided. >> you some of you may all have been paying attention to the actor from glee, cory monteith i
believe his name is. he died earlier this week and actually i think he died last week but the autopsy report came out early this week. the autopsy report said he died from a combination of heroin and alcohol. too often in our country one of the things we do is we vilify heroin. one of the things that i've learned in my education was that the vast majority people who died from heroin 75% or more died from combining it with another substance such as alcohol. the three-quarters who are dying from this combination calmed cannot not heroin alone. hera 10 phone is possible but it's rare. given that is the case i am encouraging people if you you were going to use heroin please avoid combining it with another
sedative like alcohol because that increases the likelihood of you having respiratory depression and dying. and so it seems to make sense given the overwhelming majority died from this combination and not heroin alone. our focus should not be on heroin. our focus should be on this combination and when it's not we are missing this important public health education opportunity. >> i think the way the story is going on with the actor is that heroin is bad and it should be avoided and there is no cure and there is no talking about how to use heroin was something else. there was an article in the times yesterday about heroin use in new england. >> it is want to say something
about heroin should be avoided. you know exceeding the speed limit should be avoided. having unprotected sex with people you don't know should be avoided. a wide range of behavior should be avoided which we engage in. each year in this country hundreds of thousands of people use heroin. these numbers have been this way for multiple decades. the point is that heroin use is not going away. that is a fact. even if you don't use it or understand people who will use the drug it's not going away. just like it's not going away just like exceeding the speed limit is not going away, could given that it's not going away for me being a scientist concerned with health and those sorts of things my question is how do you keep people safe? my goal is to reduce the --
associated with heroin use. >> also from -- those from the eight-man literally saying no, no, no. you quoted once you know you cannot not now and then you say there was a period in life when i was unaware of the forces preventing to bias your son and people like him from legitimately competing in mainstream society. that time has passed. i have come to understand that the game is fixed against them. now when you're at the sea against current drug policy and hoping to move us towards better drug policy and to look at some societal steps more broadly what specifically are you doing now to get more people to come around to your views on the use
of drugs in our society and the laws that we have two limit the use of those drugs? >> i think i just want to address the issue briefly because some people might want to know some comment on that. when i say the game is fixed, there are people in the country who say that the disproportionate numbers of life people are -- as of drugs is not about race. they actually say this is not about race. these are the same people who say that the killing of trayvon martin is not about race. and so, when people are saying that these things are not about race is shaping the game. it is shaping the conversation. it is limiting the conversation.
it is not allowing us to put all of the cards on the table and so the game is fixed and not way and that we can't even talk about race in 2013 when we all know it's about race. so when we think about the drug policy and so forth it's clearly about race when you look at the data. that is why when you asked what i am doing when i wrote this book i don't usually communicate with the public in part because you have to be in my position in the world in which i live and work, you have to be more diplomatic than i know how to be so it's easier not to communicate with the public is i don't know how to do this thing where people are not fully
disclosing what the situation is when the data is telling them what the situation is. and so my attempt here to communicate with the public with "high price" is a huge effort on my part because i don't try to offend people and i don't want to offend people but i have no time for obstinately ignorant people. people get offended and i don't mean to offend people. so sub three -- "high price" is a step in the right direction and an attempt for me to communicate with the general public. that is one. in "high price" i lay out a program and some policy recommendations that i think
will be beneficial and they think they are evidence-based and they certainly will lessen lessen -- they certainly will lessen the racial disparities we see in our criminal justice system. but, i am not sure if the country is serious about decreasing racial disparities. and i have no time for people engaging in this conversation when they are not serious. >> well, i think -- [applause] okay, we have a lot to think about from dr. hart and now we are going to let you have a chance to think a little bit and ask some questions that you have for him. the microphone is here to my left and you're right.
can you make your way to the microphone and, please? >> greetings. i apologize that i came in late. >> that's okay. >> i was out there doing a reading. i also apologize that i have the book and i've read about it. my question because i came in right when you are saying that it was about the drugs. are you familiar with doctored doctored -- all right you are. you know that he seeks adult addiction in very severe early trauma. i'm going to read the book but is your research running counter to his philosophy and his work and if you could share a little bit about that.