HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Dr. Carl Hart

Groundbreaking Neuroscientist, Addiction Expert, and Author of High Price


  • Counter-intuitive Thinking: Challenging Our Beliefs about Race, Poverty and Drugs
  • Drug Laws and Social Justice
  • Race and Racism in America
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Drugs and the Brain


New York
More Media
  • Video: TAVIS SMILEY | Dr. Carl Hart | July 12, 2013.

  • Video: Fixing Public Drug Policy - Interview with Dr. Carl Hart.

  • Video: John Stossel - Drug Myths

Growing up in one of Miami's toughest neighborhoods, Dr. Carl Hart experienced firsthand the devastating effects of drugs and addiction on the people he loved most. A high school student who excelled in basketball, Hart spent his nights being immersed in street life and committing petty crimes. Now, he is a cutting-edge neuroscientist and Columbia University's first tenured African American professor in the sciences. His first book, High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (Harper), is a provocative and eye-opening memoir that charts Hart's shift from a life of drugs and crime, while using his own experiences to shed light on common ideas about race, poverty, and drugs, and explains why current policies are failing. Hart's powerful story of hope and change make him an excellent speaker for drug and addiction organizations, rehabilitation centers, and schools and universities, to name a few.

After high school, Hart signed up for the US Air Force and took university classes on the bases where he was stationed. Hart then went on to receive his undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Maryland, graduating in 1991. He completed his graduate training in experimental psychology and neuroscience at the University of Wyoming, where he received a M.S. in 1994 and a Ph.D. in 1996. Hart is currently an associate professor in the Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry at Columbia University and a research scientist in the Division of Substance Abuse at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He is a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse and is on the board of directors of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the Drug Policy Alliance. Hart has also participated in postdoctoral research training at the University of California at San Francisco, Yale University, and Columbia University.

Praise for High Price:

“It’s a fascinating combination of memoir and social science: wrenching scenes of deprivation and violence accompanied by calm analysis of historical data and laboratory results.”
— John Tierney, New York Times

“Moving and inspiring…. Hart’s memoir, especially his description of meeting his now-adult son, is deeply honest and often painful. And his account of the ways in which scientific evidence has been ignored in the war on drugs is as alarming as it is fascinating.”
— Boston Globe

“A hard-hitting attack on current drug policy by… a neuroscientist who grew up on the streets of one of Miami’s toughest neighborhoods. … Hart debunks claims that the use of crack cocaine is more dangerous than other forms of the drug and therefore should be punished more severely-a distinction that penalizes ghetto users who are the most typical crack users. . . . . Reflecting on his experiences growing up in the ghetto, Hart realized that social environment was as important as the availability of street drugs. His own remarkable path to success included a large component of good luck. . . . An eye-opening, absorbing, complex story of scientific achievement in the face of overwhelming odds”
 — Kirkus Reviews

“Perhaps nowhere has a voice been more resonant in a single place than in Dr. Carl Hart’s profoundly impacting new memoir, High Price . . . . in a deeply personal tone, Dr. Hart (the first Black man to achieve tenure in the sciences at Columbia University) describes what one might call an idiosyncratic path into academe.”
—  Ebony.com

“A refreshing new analysis of drug use that reveals how common misconceptions about illegal drugs are far too often not based on empirical evidence.  . . . . [A] thought-provoking…[and] important work on substance abuse.”
— Library Journal (starred review)

“Combining memoir, popular science, and public policy, Hart’s study lambasts current drug laws as draconian and repressive…. His is a provocative clarion call for students of sociology and policy-makers alike.”
— Publishers Weekly