Looking at the data and at my drug use and evaluating it carefully just let me see that I wasn't special, but my drug use challenged what I thought about cocaine. Because I would accept when I would say, "What happened to that person?" and someone would say, "They started using cocaine...they went downhill..." I would just accept that, even though I had a different experience and all these other people had a different experience. But I would throw that out because I thought my experience was an aberration.
One of the things that has happened is that our drug laws have been institutionalized now. If you want to say that somebody's a bad person in a movie or in a television show or something about that, you say they sell drugs or they use drugs.
Much of the early work focused on dopamine and we were really looking for rewarding sorts of effects and sure enough, we only found that. But you can destroy the main dopamine-producing structures of the brain and you can still get an animal to self-administer drugs like cocaine.
Your decision to place your law enforcement resources in these communities is racism, but nobody has called people out on this. The law itself is not racist. But people's decision about where we're going to place our efforts, who we're going to prosecute, who we're not going to prosecute, is racism. And nobody's calling them on it.
Our ability to study the brain has been limited because of our tools and our tools have only allowed us to look at one neurotransmitter and we haven't looked so much into co-localization and co-release of transmitters. Our thinking is hampered by our tools.
If we want to think about racism and how it might play out in drug policy, we have to think about the trial of George Zimmerman. We think about the prosecution, when they said "race is not a factor." It's so dishonest.
I have three boys. And I wanted to make sure it connected with them and then those guys who grew up like me, in environments like me.And then I knew something about science that your New York Times reader would be interested in. So I was thinking about it in multiple ways: I'll connect with the people who grew up like me first, and then the New York Times reader will be interested in the science because it's so good and they want to be "in the know."
When you have the national narrative being "crack is awful and black people are using it," why go against that narrative when you want to get that publication in The New York Times or wherever? It encourages people to play right into it.