Dr. Carl Hart, a leading psychologist and researcher in the field of drug use and addiction, will be on Denison University’s campus this week to discuss recreational drug use, individual liberties and addiction as part of the J. R. Kantor Memorial Lecture Series

The lecture, an annual event that brings psychologists to campus to discuss their work with students and the community at large, will bring Hart’s sometimes-controversial approaches to drug addiction into focus in Licking County. 

During the lecture, Hart plans to argue that “our goal should not be to rid society of recreational drugs, but to protect the liberty and ensure the safety of those who partake in them.” 

His lecture, titled “Using drugs to promote a healthier and happier society,” will echo sentiments from his 2021 book “Drug Use for Grown-Ups,” where he argues drugs like opioids and amphetamines can have “good effects” for those able to control their impulses and regulate their emotions. 

Put simply, Hart argues, “It is my birthright to use substances in my pursuit of happiness.” 

Hart, who grew up in a relatively dangerous neighborhood in Miami, Florida, was first exposed to recreational drugs as a child, and went on to study social and psychological factors that influence recreational drug use at the University of Maryland and at the University of Wyoming. In 2009, he became Columbia University’s first tenured African American professor of sciences. 

Hart’s lecture will be held in Slayter Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 2.