Monday, April 3, 2017

High Price by Carl Hart

High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and SocietyHigh Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society by Carl Hart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About 60% memoir (very good interesting memoir) and 40% the science of drug effects that the author researches professionally. Super interesting and thoughtful book that will probably change the way you think about drug abuse, though I think it's a better memoir than it is a science book.

As a science book, there is a little more to be desired. I've read previous accounts of Rat Park and other such studies, but the author only mentions them in passing without fully explaining the study and the implications for humans and drug laws and policy. I followed what he was getting at because I've read other related books, but I'm not sure if he provides enough information if someone is coming to this without previous reading on the topic. Also, I would have appreciated more information about Adderall in general since it is often used to treat children. With regards to the actual science, the personal account is a little irrelevant, especially since the author is stressing how useless anecdotes of "monstrous" drug users are when assessing the real effects of drugs. Well, that works both ways, his personal accounts how he managed to create a life for himself isn't specifically relevant to the examination of drugs, except that he became a drug researcher and his viewpoint with regards to the racism behind the drug policies. But that doesn't require a full memoir to convey.

As for the memoir, kind of sexist. I could have lived with fewer references to "chasing pussy." I understand he's trying to explain the perspective of his friends and family in the memoir, but he didn't exactly disown or condone this perspective in any way. I don't think it's so blatant that it will destroy interest in the memoir, but it might be a lot for some readers.

Overall, a good book worth reading: interesting from start to finish, a good memoir, and decent science book.

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