His positions may seem quite extreme to some but they also, by and large, make a lot of sense—and are backed up by ample research ... one of the book's most eye-opening aspects is its challenge of the long-running association between drugs and addiction ... he also so importantly emphasizes that anti-drug laws have disproportionately ruined the lives of people of color ... Drug Use for Grown-Ups makes the case for people having the right to use drugs if they want to ... He persuasively argues for us, as Americans, to chart a more humane course for how we see drugs in our society—a course rooted in personal freedom without social stigma.
... provocative and enlightening ... Thus his book represents a calculated risk—namely, that by portraying drug use as so potentially rewarding for responsible users, it may inadvertently seduce non-grown-ups into hazardous use ... has the soul of a manifesto ... As persuasive as Mr. Hart can be, it is impossible to avoid certain doubts or cautions. The vexing paradox is that the very individuals who feel compelled to use intoxicants to excess are often those least psychologically equipped to handle them. One has to keep in mind, too, that Mr. Hart, in his experiments, administered pharmaceutically pure drugs at controlled doses in a safe environment—conditions not to be taken for granted in real life ... Mr. Hart promotes treatment and harm reduction (e.g., clean needles, safe-injection rooms, testing for contaminants), but he doesn’t offer a detailed blueprint for keeping drugs away from the people whose lives can be ruined ... On Feb. 1, Oregon will implement its new law. For its citizens and the handful of states now considering a similar ballot initiative, Drug Use for Grown-Ups is an excellent guide to what can go right with such a move. The question is how to address the individuals who can’t handle the freedom the author envisions for them.
Hart makes a thoughtful and persuasive (if controversial) case that everything we’ve been taught about drug use is wrong and that it’s high time we legalize all drugs and consider a more humane way forward ... Through careful research and illuminating personal stories, Hart dispels many drug myths and shows us that happiness can be found through responsible drug use, just as through drinking alcohol responsibly ... Hart’s scientific training and personal use of drugs has informed his research and opinions, but the book is also shaped by his experience as a Black man. Although drug use is popular across all races, Black people—and Black men in particular—have been penalized for possessing and selling drugs at far higher rates than any other group. Hart convincingly asserts that this discriminatory enforcement of drug laws has had a more devastating effect on Black communities than drug use itself ... This book’s soundly researched views on a safer approach to drug use and regulation will have many readers rethinking their assumptions.
Hart’s argument that we need to drastically revise our current view of illegal drugs is both powerful and timely, but the question of addiction lingers in the background. It is not one he attempts to resolve ... Hart’s writing can turn from passionate and moral to what feels like score-settling, undercutting the tenor of his narrative. But when it comes to the legacy of this country’s war on drugs, we should all share his outrage.
Every step of the way, Hart backs up his conclusions with science, showing, for example, how the actual, usually more benign, effects of a drug can often contradict the news media’s negative portrayal of it. A timely, fact-based, coherent, humane counterargument to America’s spectacularly failed War on Drugs.
... comprehensive and illuminating ... Careful reasoning and detailed evidence buttress the book’s most surprising claims, including that methamphetamine and Adderall produce 'nearly identical effects' on users. This bracingly contrarian take provides much food for thought.
Hart’s openness in admitting to the use, often by way of experimentation, of drugs ranging from MDMA to methamphetamine and hexedrone and beyond is admirable, but doubtless, his thesis that taking drugs should be a matter of private choice alone will meet with considerable resistance ... Civil libertarians will find this a valuable tool for mounting arguments in defense of free choice.