The rational choices of crack addicts – Sept. 16, 2013 New York Times article

Can a person use cocaine and avoid becoming addicted?

What is the evidence?

A Sept. 16, 2013 New York Times article entitled “The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts” shares evidence that it may be indeed be possible, in specified circumstances, for a person to use crack cocaine without becoming addicted.

Carl Hart, the neuroscientist profiled in the article, is author of High Price: A neuroscientist’s journey of self-discovery that challenges everything you know about drugs and society (2013).

An excerpt from the New York Times article reads:

  • “Eighty to 90 percent of people who use crack and methamphetamine don’t get addicted,” said Dr. Hart, an associate professor of psychology. “And the small number who do become addicted are nothing like the popular caricatures.”

The New York Times article adds:

  • “Drug warriors may be skeptical of his work, but some other scientists are impressed.”

The article refers to a British researcher:

  • A similar assessment, the article notes, comes from Dr. David Nutt, a British expert on drug abuse. “I have a great deal of sympathy with Carl’s views,” said Dr. Nutt, a professor of neuropsycho-pharmacology at Imperial College London. “Addiction always has a social element, and this is magnified in societies with little in the way of work or other ways to find fulfillment.”


When we’re also dealing with the issue of alcohol addiction, that adds to the complexity of the situation.

War on drugs in Mexico

A Nov. 6, 2013 CBC podcast on The Current is entitled: “A new battle plan for the war on drugs in Mexico.”

The blurb at the CBC website for the podcast notes:

  • Today drug cartels supplying American demand are stronger than ever, and far more violent. We hear from a new movement hoping to persuade Mexico’s government to re-think its countermeasures and Just Say No to the way the war on drugs is being waged now.
  • Richard Nixon’s first declared “War on Drugs” in the United States. But it’s safe to say most of the fatalities in this war have been in Mexico. Since 2006, it’s estimated the drug wars have killed 70,000 people, another 26,000 are missing.
  • This week in the town of Matamoros on the US-Mexico border, 13 people were killed by members of drug cartels. The gun battles in the streets have gotten so bad that the mayor urges residents to stay inside.
  • Teresa Carmona’s son Joaquin was murdered in his home in Mexico City in 2010. Poet Javier Sicilia’s son Juan Francisco was also murdered in 2011. They’re part of the movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a group calling for a complete overhaul of the current approach to the war on drugs.
  • Anna Maria Tremonti spoke with Teresa Carmona and through a translator Javier Sicilia earlier this week.

Previous posts have addressed related topics of interest

Drug Wars (2013) updates

The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973 (Kathleen J. Frydl, 2013)


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