PROFESSOR Carl Hart is an academic who specializes in neuroscience and psychology.
He caused a stir after admitting he casually uses heroin to maintain his "work-life balance."Carl HartCredit: Getty Images - Getty
Who is Professor Carl Hart?
Carl Hart, is a Professor of Psychology at Columbia University.
Hart is known for his research in drug abuse and drug addiction. He was the first tenured African American professor of sciences at Columbia University.
The 54-year-old got his bachelors from the University of Maryland before he earned his PhD from the University of Wyoming.
He grew up in an impoverished Miami neighborhood, engaging in petty crime and drug sales. Based on his upbringing, he came to believe drugs were the reason for poverty and crime in most neighborhoods.Hart is a professor at ColumbiaCredit: Getty Images - Getty
He is particularly interested in what social and psychological factors influence self-administration of drugs.
Is he married and does he have kids?
Hart lives between New York City and Switzerland and is married to Robin Hart.
The pair have three children together, although he one of his children was the result of a one night stand he had when he was a teenager.
He was only informed he had a teenage son later in his adult life.
"Once I got over my initial shock, I was appalled to think about what it must have been like for my son to grow up without ever knowing his father," he wrote on his website blog.Hart is a neuroscientistCredit: Columbia University
"I’d wanted to teach my children everything I hadn’t known as I grew up with a struggling single mother, surrounded by people whose lives were limited by their own lack of knowledge,"
"I wanted them to go to good schools, to know how to negotiate the potential pitfalls of being black in the United States, to not have to live and die by whether they were considered “man” enough on the street."
I also wanted to illustrate by my own example that bad experiences like those I had as a child aren’t the defining factor in being authentically black."
What has he said about heroin use?
The academic admitted that he casually uses heroin as a way to unwind.
Hart says he first tried heroin six or seven years ago, when he was already a professor in his 40s.
The professor has detailed his drug use in his new book - Drug Use for Grown-ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear - in which he says snorting heroin makes him feel "refreshed" and "prepared to face another day".
He writes: "There aren’t many things in life that I enjoy more than a few lines by the fireplace at the end of the day."Credit: Handout
Hart, who studies the effects of psychoactive drugs on humans, finds his use of the narcotic to be "as rational as my alcohol use. Like a vacation, sex, and the arts, heroin is one of the tools that I use to maintain my work-life balance."
The professor hopes that coming clean about his drug use will help lead to the decriminalization of illegal drugs.
He told Insider: "You could have a massive public-service-announcement campaign that says 'If you're going to use opioids, don't use alcohol as a background or other sedatives in combination, because it increases the likelihood of respiratory depression and death'".
The Columbia University professor says his family supports his own recreational heroin habit and that he continues to be a husband, father, academic and taxpayer despite his drug use.
Hart believes that many of the 60,000-plus drug overdose deaths across America every year could be eliminated with better education and a cleaner supply, Insider reports.
He thinks there should be a system in which people can submit samples of their drugs and understand what they contain.