Abolish the DEA image featuring machine-gun-bearing DEA officers enforcing drug law sharia, cracking down on Americans for using Mother Nature's freely offered bounty
Abolish the DEA image featuring machine-gun-bearing DEA officers enforcing drug law sharia, cracking down on Americans for using Mother Nature's freely offered bounty
A series of philosophical essays constituting one long argument against America's devastatingly misguided Drug War

There was no drug problem in Ancient Egypt. There was no drug problem in Ancient Greece. There was no drug problem in Ancient Persia. There was no drug problem in Ancient Rome. There was no drug problem in the Mongol Kingdom. There was no drug problem in the Viking Era.

Why? Because until 1914 (when America first outlawed a plant in violation of natural law) people were always judged by how they behaved, not by what substances they had in their digestive system.

The Drug War is America's unique, anti-scientific way of looking at the world. It is a war that causes all of the problems that it purports to fix: above all, it brings "drugs" front and center in the minds of the irresponsible, encouraging them to explore and use substances that they might have never even heard of without the peurile and anti-scientific plant demonization of drug war zealots.

-The very act of forbidding makes a previously neutral act "sweet." -- Thomas Szasz, Ceremonial Chemistry
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Top 21 reasons to abolish the DEA (and then put its leadership on trial for crimes against humanity):
"If the present generation or any other are disposed to be slaves, it does not lessen the right of the succeeding generation to be free. Wrongs cannot have a legal descent." -- Thomas Paine

August 12, 2020

Marijuana Critics Just Don't Get It

It's the criminalization, stupid!

I've started to run across online articles that fret over the excessive use of marijuana by young people. (See, for instance, "America's Invisible Pot Addicts" by Annie Lowrey in TheAtlantic.com.*)

Fair enough. The argument can be made that some young people overuse marijuana - although even this concern is often based on unconscious assumptions about what constitutes the good life. The average capitalist American is constantly on the go, and so they're naturally shocked by a lifestyle that does not involve intense ambition and a constant desire to amass more material goods than one's neighbors.

Nevertheless, fair play. The overuse of marijuana is something that can be rationally discussed in a country that values rational analysis of social problems.

The problem is that as I read these articles, I can just hear the knee-jerk mental process of the average western reader saying, "Oh, dear: If this is so, we really must criminalize marijuana after all!"

And that is the whole problem of the drug war: it gives us this knee-jerk reaction to all so-called "drug problems": that is, criminalization.

No one thought about psychoactive substances like this in the past. The knee-jerk reaction of yore following a so-called "drug death" was to denounce the way that the substance in question was used - that is, to denounce a lack of educated and informed use -- not to denounce the substance itself as somehow "bad" in and of itself without regard for the circumstances in which it was employed. That is a blatantly anti-scientific way of thinking about the world, to denounce a substance rather than the circumstances of its use. And so when it comes to the modern boogieman of "drugs," western thinking today is far more superstitious than it was in the past. It is superstitious because it attributes to amoral substances (aka "drugs") the goodness and badness that actually resides only in the way in which such substances are used.

Take the drug MDMA. That drug basically brought about "peace, love and understanding" on British dance floors during the 1980s, during the rave scene, until it was criminalized after one - count 'em - ONE well-publicized death in 1995. One!

That response was about as counterproductive and unscientific as can be, especially from a country that purports to value a rational approach to problem solving. First, it ignored the glaring fact that the death in question was caused by a lack of honest information and research about drugs: not by drugs themselves. (Had Leah Betts been made aware of the proper hydration requirements for using E in a high-stress environment, she would be alive today.) Second, by banning Ecstasy, the drug warrior ushered in a wave of crack and fentanyl use that quickly turned the British rave venues into shooting galleries that required the intervention of ex-special soldier forces to keep the peace.

Result: the knee-jerk mindset of the drug warrior ushered in far more death and violence than ever, all in response to a self-created problem involving one of the safest drugs in the world.

This highlights the unspoken truth about the drug war: it causes all of the problems that it claims to fix. It caused the death of Leah Betts by E, since it suppressed research of such substances and criminalized them, making them available only from doubtful sources. It brought about the end of a peaceful dance scene, from which British society (and even the world) could have learned much, and ushered in the violence and death that the drug warrior claims to be fighting.

The drug war is even responsible for the overuse of marijuana, to the extent that we agree this is a real problem. The drug war criminalizes thousands of plants that can help bring about a sense of peace of mind and transcendence, including cocaine, opium, and hundreds of psychedelic plants that have been shown to conduce to personal insight and self-understanding when used advisedly (i.e., by educated people in a free country). Why are we surprised when this lopsided legalization of one solitary psychoactive plant results in excessive use of that one particular plant? (especially in a world where superstitious drug warriors keep shouting "drugs, drugs, drugs" at the top of their hypocritical lungs, thus bringing the use of psychoactive substances front-and-center in the minds of young people who might have otherwise ignored the topic entirely).

If the world were to criminalize all but one sports car, car lovers would flock to car dealerships in order to buy that one particular model of sports car. If we as a society find this problematic, the answer is to open the car market to all models, not to fret over the problems caused by this one model that we have grudgingly allowed out on the sales floor.

So, let's be honest, not just about marijuana, but about all drugs. Let's be honest enough to say that a drug like "E" can help bring about peace and harmony, even if it is politically incorrect to say so (even if the British government prefers gun violence to such honesty). Let's be honest enough to say that cocaine and opium can be used responsibly if education is available for that purpose. (Sigmund Freud and Benjamin Franklin could have told us as much). Let's be honest enough to say that properly guided psychedelic use can help us fight addiction and get a new and better outlook on life. (The anecdotal evidence of this fact dates back to prehistory and the Vedic religion.)

Until the drug warrior is open to this kind of real-world honesty, I'm going to be suspicious of their criticism of marijuana, thinking to myself, "Great, now they're out to take away the one bit of mental freedom that they've grudgingly provided me, when the real question is: why are they limiting my choice of freedom to this one single solitary substance in the first place? If that substance is problematic, give me some alternatives: don't yield to the drug warrior's knee-jerk temptation to criminalize the market entirely."

Check out the irony of the title of Annie Lowrey's piece mentioned above: "America's Invisible Pot Addicts": this from a reporter whose articles ignore the great addiction of our time: the fact that 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma meds (source: Julie Holland). Given this huge blind spot on Annie's part, the reader can't help but assume that her article on pot addicts has been written to further some political or social ideology about drugs rather than to spread the unvarnished truth about what's actually happening viz. addiction in the real world.

Marijuana Critics Just Don't Get It (permalink)

August 11, 2020

MDMA for Psychotherapy

open letter to researcher Michael Mithoefer, MD

DEA fetishizes drugs, treating MDMA like plutonium in research labs - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Dear Michael,

I enjoyed reading your article in the MAPS Bulletin entitled "MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy: How different is it from other psychotherapy?"

In regard to the mindless criminalization of drugs like MDMA, I thought you might be interested in my essay entitled "How the Drug War Killed Leah Betts - and ended the peaceful rave scene."

Best Wishes,
Ballard Quass

PS I'm one of psychiatry's millions of "eternal patients" in these days of the addictive pill paradigm, and so I have 40+ years of experience on the receiving end of psychiatric nostrums for fighting depression and anxiety. Given this vast experience, I hope you'll consider it worthwhile to read a criticism that I have of the scientific method when it comes to seeking out and justifying cures for depression.

The reductionist approach is always looking for "mechanisms of action," but it is my belief that this focus blinds researchers to common sense in many cases. Take MDMA, for instance. Given my secondhand knowledge of the effects of MDMA (as described both by "ravers" and by your study participants), I have sufficient information to know that MDMA would be an effective psychotherapeutic adjunct when used, say, between once a week and once a month in a psychiatrist's office. My conclusion, however, is based on a knowledge of human nature to which reductionist science gives little attention: the fact that a human being looks forward to positive experiences, and that this very anticipation can improve the quality of one's mental life.

If I were to propose such therapy, the reductionist might instinctively object: "But we want to know the mechanism of action before we proceed: namely, how does MDMA decrease depression in this case: what are the chemical mechanisms involved?" This statement, however, merely indicates that the scientist "just doesn't get it." The scientist wants to go in search of a phantom. The MDMA does not have to decrease depression directly in order to decrease depression. Its use simply constitutes an extremely positive experience, and anticipation of use does the rest of the work in decreasing the user's overall depression.

This is why drugs like cocaine and opium can be successfully vilified by drug warriors: they can (perhaps correctly) say that there is no direct chemical link between use and self-fulfillment or happiness in life. What they fail to realize, however, is that there need not be a direct link between drug and effect if the drug use provides anticipation. The mere knowledge that there is "a port in the storm" of internal mental life (whether it be provided through cocaine, opium, MDMA, marijuana, or prayer) can provide one with happiness indirectly. Again, this is a psychological truism that reductionists seem always to ignore, constantly asking: "Yes, but how exactly does drug x, y or z decrease depression? What are the chemicals involved?"

The answer is, of course, that the drugs do not, strictly speaking, decrease depression at all: rather, they provide the user with anticipation of upcoming mental relief through use of said substances - and that mere anticipation does all the heavy lifting: anticipation does all the positive psychological work that the reductionist wants to ascribe scientifically to the drug itself.

And so the approval of MDMA as a drug to treat depression becomes unnecessarily problematic, as reductionist science scrambles to show chemical pathways whereby the MDMA can bring about the increased happiness with which it's associated, completely ignoring the powerful role that anticipation of regular MDMA therapy can play in boosting mood and one's own patience with the downsides of daily experience. (At least I fear that this could happen. I have no specific knowledge of the actual state of affairs viz. such research.)

I'm not saying that MDMA cannot have a direct and positive effect on the brain. I'm saying that this is not the only way that we can justify the use of such a substance in a psychotherapeutic setting. We need not downplay and ignore the simple fact that occasional scheduled MDMA use can improve a user's life through mere anticipation of the psychological relief and insights that the drug can supply in a positive setting.

Speaking personally, I would definitely look forward to such a psychiatric appointment and be happier simply in knowing that this appointment loomed on the horizon. What a contrast to the depression I currently feel knowing that a pro forma office visit is coming up: a visit that I'm forced to make every 3 to 6 months of my life in order to obtain re-authorization for my purchase of yet another expensive set of prescription drugs. (That's the problem with the DEA: they fetishize drugs, making them so "awesome" that even a user of 40 years cannot be trusted to use his medicine wisely without constant bureaucratic oversight, approval and reapproval.)

PPS I hope you don't mind, but this email will also appear on my website, where I hope my thoughts on this topic will inspire thinkers to unravel the tangled web of superstition and pseudoscience that currently constitutes America's anti-scientific attitude toward this fetishized scapegoat for social problems that we call "drugs." I trust that it "goes without saying" that these are simply general philosophical observations, not criticisms directed toward you personally. So thank you for your patience and attention, and I wish you best of luck in your important work with MDMA as a psychotherapeutic tool.

MDMA for Psychotherapy (permalink)

August 8, 2020

Pissed off about Drug Testing

Drug Testing: not by the color of his skin but by the contents of his digestive system. - from AbolishTheDEA.com
I'm glad that I managed to escape the indignity of drug testing when I was young, although I'm sure there are drug warriors out there right now who are trying to come up with ways that elderly freelancers like myself can be drug-tested as well.

When I was a teenager, the major injustice of the hiring process involved having a rent-a-cop test you to see if you were lying - and I lost at least one job that way, not because I was lying but because the whole scientistic process of the "lie detector" test made me extremely nervous (with wires everywhere and a community college freshman taking notes like he's some kind of Einstein carefully crunching numbers to determine my precise level of personal integrity). Plus, I have a habit of overthinking questions. ("Have you ever stolen anything?" Do they mean as an adult? What if I stole from my little sister in grade school? "Have you ever lied?" What exactly constitutes a lie? Am I lying if I don't even realize it at the time?) And it turns out that this habit of overthinking things brings about the same physiological symptoms that the second-rate Einstein associates with lying.

That's why you never saw me behind the counter of a convenience store in Gloucester, Virginia, in the late 1970s: because some rent-a-cop pegged me as a shady character thanks to the magic of American pseudoscience.But I had it easy compared to kids of today: they have to face the blatantly unconstitutional indignity of drug testing, which enforces the Christian Science theological doctrine that human beings must not use "drugs," but rely only on faith instead.

Bullcrap. I would end up starving if I had to start my career today. No way am I going to urinate so that young amoral lab technicians can find out if I've been using plant medicines of which politicians disapprove. None of their blankety-blank business.

In a sane world, someone would be "outing" these lab technicians who are in the business of ruining the lives of Americans merely because they demand the same rights that everyone in the world had prior to 1914: the right to use the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. But these amoral pseudoscientists no doubt get fancy benefit packages thanks to their daily efforts to ruin American lives for no reason whatsoever.

Funny, back in the '80s, when Bush and Reagan did everything they could to demonize this boogieman scapegoat that they called "drugs" - including the Stalinist practice of asking kids to turn in their parents should they use substances of which politicians disapproved - the very few who protested this injustice were considered crazy spoilsports. What's wrong with making sure that everybody is straight and sober and a good Christian, after all?

The problem, of course, is that I have a right to the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet. This is my birthright as an American under the natural law upon which Jefferson founded this country. That's why Jefferson spun in his grave in 1987 when the DEA marched onto Monticello in jackboots and confiscated the ex-president's poppies, in a blatant coup against the very concept of natural law. And who says "drugs" are bad in any case? A psychoactive substance gave birth to the Vedic religion and the psychedelic Eleusinian mysteries were the most important event in the lives of such western heroes as Cicero and Plato.

Moreover, there has never been any proof that the drugs for which one is tested actually conduce to poor work behavior.

To the contrary, Sigmund Freud used cocaine to improve his work performance, in the same way that Benjamin Franklin and Francis Crick used opium and psychedelics respectively to improve theirs. If work behavior was a factor, then drug-testers would blacklist the users of Big Pharma dope such as SSRIs, which are highly addictive and lead to anhedonia, a lack of feelings, which is not exactly a good employee trait, at least in the service industry. Meanwhile, responsible marijuana use and the use of Ecstasy actually lead to more friendly employees: which in a sane world would be considered a good thing.

But the drug war is all about judging folks by the substances that they have in their digestive systems, rather than by the way that they actually behave in life. That's why the drug war is a recipe for endless violence - a fact that conservatives love, because it lets them steer public debate off of bad social policies (like the drug war itself) and indulge in militarizing the police and cracking heads of political opponents, both at home and abroad. How? Through tyrannical laws that guarantee that the police, the Army and the DEA have carte blanche to be as mean as they wanna be. Far from decrying this trend, Americans cheer it on. They flock to drug-war movies, like Ancient Romans flocking to Gladiator fights, applauding as the DEA agents on screen hang Latino "drug suspects" from meat hooks and shoot them dead in cold blood.

This is the kind of world that we create when we fight a boogieman called "drugs" instead of dealing with the real social problems, like the drug war itself, which lies about drugs (falsely claiming that they fry the brain) and then limits our access to plant medicines to the point where only the most addictive and dangerous substances are available on the black market - a black market created out of whole cloth by the drug war, complete with worldwide gangs and cartels and omnipresent government corruption thanks to the great financial temptation that prohibition dangles before the unscrupulous bureaucrat.

And we haven't even gotten to the part where the drug war blocks research on godsend psychoactive substances that hold the promise of curing Alzheimer's, beating depression, and helping hospice patients make their peace with death.

For these reasons and many more, I would "just say no" to drug testing were I transformed into a teenager at this very moment, destined to live my life again.

At least I hope I would. Mind you, I can't blame young people for docilely acceding to drug testing, even though it represents the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science Sharia. The government message to Americans, after all, is: comply or starve.

But someone's got to start pushing back.

Back in 1732, Polish nobleman Tadeusz Retjan collapsed in front of the door of his country's Parliament building to protest the partitioning of Poland among the Russians, the Prussians, and the Austrians. His message to his fellow deputies: "you will destroy our Motherland over my dead body." Unfortunately, he was the only one to complain against the apparent fait accompli: everyone else was too scared or too demoralized to resist the aggressors. But Poles remember Retjan to this day while the names of the other deputies have faded into obscurity.

Where are the modern Retjans that will actually say what so many of us know in our heart of hearts: that the drug war is a canard, an excuse to ignore social problems and to militarize the world - and that drug testing is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science sharia, thus the establishment of a religion and the overthrow of the natural law upon which America was founded?

I can't ask young readers to "play the Retjan" and spoil their job chances by refusing drug testing. Perhaps, though, we freedom lovers (we fans and would-be avengers of the trampled rights of Thomas Jefferson) can find a creative way to fight back.

Here's an idea: the next time you're asked for a urine sample, submit that sample along with a signed copy of this essay (warning: you'll still be taking a chance, of course, since the employer may be so mean-spirited as to disqualify you for a job merely because you dared to protest the corrupt status quo):

Dear ______:

I am providing this urine sample under protest since I do not believe that this business has the constitutional right to demand it. My rationale for this action is explained in the essay above.

Sincerely Yours:

Be sure to piss on demand for all employers and government personnel. Drug testing: it's the new 'free.' Better yet, read more essays on this outrage:

Pissed off about Drug Testing (permalink)

August 6, 2020

How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987

open letter to the 'Sites of Conscience' website

In 1987, the DEA stomped onto Monticello and confiscated Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants
NOTE: In 1987, the Monticello Foundation invited the DEA onto Jefferson's estate so that they could confiscate the ex-president's psychoactive poppy plants. This was a silent coup against the whole notion of Jeffersonian democracy, according to which human beings have basic freedoms that government cannot usurp on the basis of common law. If any body ever "turned over in its grave" it was the body of Thomas Jefferson in 1987 when his garden was invaded by jackbooted DEA agents, making a beeline for his poppy plants. Yet this shameful event is not even mentioned on the Monticello Foundation's website.

To belatedly protest this situation, the author sent the following e-mail to a non-profit coalition that currently lists Monticello as a "Site of Conscience," a place where visitors are invited to "make connections between the past and related contemporary human rights issues." He pointed out that Monticello is no longer worthy of the label "Site of Conscience" since it has violated the principles that it is meant to be safeguarding and then covered up that violation by failing to even mention it on their Monticello-related websites.

Dear Sir or Madam:

If Thomas Jefferson's life had any significance, it was because he championed a government under which individuals had certain rights that government could not take away. Yet, in 1987, America's DEA stomped onto Monticello and confiscated Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants -- and the Monticello Foundation said nothing about it. To this very day, they completely ignore that outrage on their website.

And yet Monticello is a SITE OF CONSCIENCE???

The Drug War outlaws the scientific investigation of hundreds (if not thousands) of plants and arrests people for merely touching plants of which politicians disapprove. This is a clear violation of Natural Law, or what Cicero called "what is right according to nature." For how can it be right "according to nature" that we cannot access the plants and fungi of nature that grow at our very feet? This is a twofold violation of natural law: first, it takes away our property rights as defined by John Locke, and second it actually forbids the advancement of science, which Thomas Jefferson so vehemently promoted, being Isaac Newton's number-one fan.

What irony that the organization charged with safeguarding Jefferson's legacy should "sell out" the man that they are supposed to be honoring by allowing the DEA onto Monticello to steal Jefferson's poppies in violation of natural law, natural right, and common sense. What a disgrace that the same organization would then rewrite history so that no one even READS about the action in question. For there is no mention of this "sell-out" on the Monticello Foundation's website. They've erased the 1987 incident from American history.

The psychoactive poppy plant has been used responsibly by non-Western cultures for millennia. But in the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush Drug War was in full bloom, and the Monticello Foundation silently yielded to the immense pressure to have Jefferson's poppy plants removed from the ex-president's estate. This was a silent coup against the principles on which America was founded. Please remind the Monticello Foundation of this fact and require them to acknowledge their 1987 actions, both on their website and at Monticello itself, as a condition of their continued listing as a "site of conscience."

You say that a Site of Conscience is "a place of memory." Why then would you support a site like Monticello whose guardians have rewritten history in order to make us forget - to forget how the foundation itself "sold out" the principles of the very man that they are supposed to be honoring?

Call the DEA Help Line!

How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987 (permalink)

August 4, 2020

Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

With all due respect, the UNODC is part of the problem. The drug war creates an absurd focus on 'drugs' as the modern boogeyman. Drugs are not the problem: the drug war is the problem: The drug war brings 'drugs' front and center in the public mind, giving kids wild ideas about making the wrong decisions. The drug war is also Christian Science because it tells us that we cannot use plant medicine to improve our mental outlook. Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin used opium. Sigmund Freud used cocaine. Plato himself used psychedelics at the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Vedic religion was founded to worship a psychedelic plant. What gives you the right to jail me if I choose to do likewise? We don't need a war on drugs. We need to legalize mother nature's plant medicines and to educate everyone about the effects (both good and bad) of all psychoactive substances, including wine, tobacco, and modern antidepressants to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted. But we don't care about THAT drug problem, of course, since 'drugs', in the drug warrior mind, only refers to those substances that politicians have decided to demonize.

Call the DEA Help Line!

Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (permalink)

August 2, 2020

Addicted to Addiction

in Drug War USA

drug warrior anonymous: woman realizes that she has fallen prey to drug warrior lies about chemical substances
One reason why drug war prohibition has lasted now over 100 years is the fact that otherwise sensible Americans have yielded to the temptation to medicalize and moralize the so-called "addiction problem," turning it into the symptom of some existential crisis. These well-intentioned liberals fail to recognize the fact that the term "addiction" is merely a political concept in a country that embraces the hypocritical moral standards of the drug war. As Thomas Szasz pointed out in his 1974 ground-breaking book entitled "Ceremonial Chemistry", President John F. Kennedy and his wife regularly used amphetamines during the early '60s, courtesy of Dr. Max Jacobson, in order to keep them fresh for their whirlwind schedules, yet they were never considered addicts. They were just taking a medication, don't you see? Meanwhile, had the no-name poor indulged in a similar habit, they would have been instantly labeled as addicts, thrown into jail, subjected to moralizing counseling sessions (in which folks like Gabriel Mate would have searched for their "inner pain"), and been sent to 12-step programs to be reminded how helpless they were in the face of powerful chemical substances. Meanwhile, the poor people's "pusher" would have been thrown in jail and labeled as "vermin," the same term that the NAZIs reserved for Jews and homosexuals.

If this example does not convince the reader that the term "addiction" is a political term, consider the fact that the great addiction crisis of our time does not even qualify as an addiction in the minds of most psychiatrists today. One in 4 American women and 1 in 8 American men are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to kick than heroin, but psychiatrists refuse to even call this an addiction. To do so would kill the golden goose of the psychiatric pill mill, both for psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical companies that supply them with a highly limited and highly addictive pharmacy. When heroin users need to stay on their illegal "drugs," they are "addicts"; when tens of millions of Americans need to stay on their legal "meds," they are good citizens, responsibly taking care of their mental health issues.

Finally, pundits have no business drawing conclusions about the topic of addiction in the first place. Why? Because we live in a world that has outlawed almost all mood medicines that might make addiction treatment actually work, or help us to avoid addiction altogether. To opine about the cause of addiction in such a society is like opining about the cause of poor diets in a country that outlaws almost all food: it is a misleading and futile enterprise to the extent that it ignores the huge problem that prohibition is causing in both cases.

There would be no morbid focus on "addiction" in a free world. Rather, we would have pharmacologically savvy empaths who would work with clients (not patients) to help them "be all they can be in life," using psychoactive substances for that purpose if the client so desired.

Drug warriors will immediately scream that such freedom will result in addictions - but they have no leg (not even an ankle) to stand on, since the drug war status quo has led to the biggest addiction crisis in American history - and it's not even the opioid crisis: it's the above-mentioned fact that millions of Americans have been turned into eternal patients by the drug war.

Take me, for instance: I have been on Effexor for 25 years, and I am more depressed than ever. Yet, one hit of cocaine or opium would quickly "bring me around." And then offering me, say, a weekly "hit" of the same would cure me for life from my depression, not because such drugs falsely claim to address some chemical imbalance in my depressed mind, but because one is naturally less depressed when they have something to look forward to, in this case a vacation from one's otherwise morbid turn of mind. It's called the power of anticipation, a motivator which modern psychology dogmatically ignores, since to acknowledge it would suggest positive uses for illegal drugs and thereby run afoul of drug war superstition which insists that drugs can bring nothing but heartbreak the moment that they are criminalized.

Even the most slam-dunk cases of "addiction" are usually not what they seem in the moralizing eye of the drug warrior: Dr. William Henry Welch was a founder of Johns Hopkins University and a lifelong user of morphine. Hearing this, the average drug warrior will express amazement that Welch could have accomplished so much while yet using the drug. What they fail to understand is that Welch accomplished so much BECAUSE of the drug: it gave him the stamina and mental focus that he was looking for. These are the same brain-addled drug warriors who insist that Robin Williams could have been "so much more" had he only said no to drugs. Which is pure nonsense. Robin Williams said "yes" to so-called drugs because he CHOSE the life that he led and he wanted that pharmacological boost in his life in order to be the person that he elected to be. It is mere Christian Science ideology to insist that Williams would have been a better comedian or Welch a better doctor had they abstained from using chemical substances of which politicians have disapproved.

Would Marcus Aurelius have been a better emperor had he renounced the use of opium?

Would Plato have been a better philosopher had he refused to drink the psychedelic kykeon at Eleusis?

Of course not. Though they may well have been less tolerant and philosophically incisive, respectively, had they refused intoxication on the basis of some early Christian Science metaphysic.

These kinds of questions would be absurd except in a drug war society, where we fetishize these things called 'drugs' and hold them responsible for all evil.

And so the modern take on 'addiction' is pure nonsense in the era of the drug war. But what to do?

It makes me want to create a 12-step program for folks who are addicted to the concept of addiction. It would be called 'Addiction Addicts.' The class would keep reminding the participants that they are powerless in the face of drug war propaganda and that they must renounce drug war ideology entirely if they are to think rationally about politically defined problems such as 'drugs' and 'addiction'. To ensure successful therapy, addiction addicts would be required to stop watching all TV cop shows, since that genre enforces drug war sensibilities by purposefully refusing to ever show the safe and sane use of substances that the drug warrior has chosen to demonize.

Call the DEA Help Line!

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

Addicted to Addiction (permalink)

July 26, 2020

How the Drug War killed Leah Betts

and ended the peaceful rave scene

Rave scene 1988, peace, love and understanding, 1998 gang warfare
In the late 20th century, young Brits of every race and social class came together on the dance floor to party, not like it was 1999, but like it was 2099 instead, a time in the distant future when guns and anger had been put aside and people of the world had finally decided to unite. It was the so-called rave scene and America's cousins were resurrecting the ethos of peace, love and understanding from the ashes of '60s idealism in the States, complete with a uniquely British 'summer of Love' in 1988.

The mood of the time is nicely captured by a handful of quotes from the documentary "United Nation" by promoter Terry Stone:

In short, everybody just wanted to "cuddle," according to event security expert Adrian Saint.

What's not to like, right? Nonviolent concerts in which Brits come together in colorblind celebration of the drum-and-bass music genre.

You'd think that government would have been delighted to see the emergence of such a non-violent dance genre in our troubled world.

But to the contrary, they were appalled.


Because much of the camaraderie of the scene had been chemically encouraged with a little help of an illegal drug known as Ecstasy, E, or MDMA, which young people were "popping" at the scene. And this was a complete "non-starter" as far as government was concerned. Why? Because in the age of the drug war, we do not judge people by how they behave (be they never so law-abiding) but rather by what chemical substances they happen to have in their digestive systems.

Thus drug war ideology persuaded British parliamentarians to not simply take this new Camelot for granted, but to actively seek to shut it down, a goal that they nearly accomplished in 1994 with the passage of the so-called Criminal Justice Bill, which outlawed all non-licensed parties that featured repetitive dance music.

So far, so bad.

But the coup de grace to the peaceful rave scene was to come one year later, when, in 1995, teenage raver Leah Betts died after taking an E tablet at a rave party.

Of course, everyone immediately placed the blame for this death on E, since drug war superstition holds that substances are responsible for evil, not government policies that lead to their misuse.

The fact is that Leah's death could have been easily avoided had drug warriors legalized E and allowed it to be objectively studied by researchers (only imagine: freeing up scientists to actually do their job!). In that case, Leah could have been told how to avoid the rare side effects of ecstasy by maintaining proper hydration during use. But no. Drug warrior society is so obsessed with demonizing this thing called "drugs," that they do everything they can to make informed use impossible when it comes to criminalized substances, either by banning research on this topic entirely or by tarnishing the reputations of scientists who dare to pursue such information, thereby also ensuring that would-be funders think twice before throwing any money behind such research goals.

And so stark billboards with a black background appeared across Britain, featuring the huge word "Sorted" to the left of a large black-and-white head shot of a smiling Leah Betts, with the caption: "Just one Ecstasy tablet took Leah Betts."

This billboard perfectly illustrates the drug warrior habit of confusing what philosophers call efficient causes with final causes. To say that the drug Ecstasy killed Leah is like saying that driving a car killed the victim of a traffic accident. In some sense it is true, but it is also beside the point. The real question in the latter case is: "what happened that allowed the victim to be killed while driving in a car?" The question in Leah's case is: "what happened that allowed the victim to be killed by taking Ecstasy?"

But that's an inconvenient question for government because to answer it would be to point the finger of blame at drug policy itself. So politicians bypass the question entirely by scapegoating the drug Ecstasy and shaking their hypocritical beer-guzzling heads about the terrible problem of teenage drug abuse. "Tsk tsk tsk!"

What a joke. It would be funny except for the fact that the otherwise laughable drug war has been amassing a body count ever since the first outlawing of a plant medicine in 1914. The drug war has not just killed one single British teenager, either, but kills hundreds around the world every single day through inner city gang violence and civil wars around the globe that have been created out of whole cloth by substance prohibition in previously peaceful countries. Britain would soon run out of billboards if it tried to put a face on all of these victims with roadside signage.

Unfortunately, Leah Betts was not the only victim of the UK's demonization of Ecstasy. The entire peace-and-love ethos of the rave culture disappeared shortly after her death, to be replaced with the violent gangster ethos, as dutifully propagandized Brits renounced Ecstasy in favor of - wait for it - crack cocaine and fentanyl.

Needless to say, violence now spiked at rave parties, forcing promoters like Terry "Turbo" Smith of One Nation to hire whole teams of ex-special forces soldiers to keep the peace at concerts. But the government could apparently live with this new status quo, since the drugs being used now were far more susceptible to government demonization than the hapless E tablet, whose main effect when used wisely was to bring about peace and understanding and make people want to cuddle in colorblind harmony with their music-loving fellows.

And so government drug policy not only killed Leah Betts, but it shut down the new British Camelot as well, replacing it with a new Wild West in which machine guns and AK-47's took the place of six-shooters and Winchester rifles. Worse yet, British politicians soon began pointing to this violence that they themselves had created as "proof" that the drug war needs to continue.

If the British government wants to save the Leah Betts of the future, they will start "saying yes" to peace, love and understanding and applaud cultural phenomena such as the rave scene for facilitating that goal.

Until then, we have a new answer to the question posed by Rodney King, in the wake of the violent response to the mauling that he received from racist police officers in Los Angeles in 1991:

Q: Why can't we all just get along?

A: Because drug warriors won't allow us to.

AFTERTHOUGHTS: Growing up stateside, my school teachers would often favorably compare the education of British kids to that received by their American colleagues, and I was always tempted to believe them -- until, that is, the Drug War came along and showed me that the Brits will lap up drug war propaganda just as eagerly as everyone else in the world. Just imagine: the British people can demonize a love-promoting chemical substance because it "caused" one death -- one death -- meanwhile considering the violence-provoking alcohol to be a bargain when it only causes thousands of deaths each year. What's more, the Ecstasy that they demonize would not have even caused the death in question had the drug war not made it impossible to learn and spread accurate information about its use. The drug war thus ensures that criminalized substances will be given damning PR, thereby seeming to "prove" that the drug warrior's fetishization of chemical substances actually makes sense, when in reality it represents the triumph of a new modern superstition, a superstition which holds that substances can be sufficiently characterized without regard for the context and social environment that surrounds their use.

Call the DEA Help Line!

How the Drug War killed Leah Betts (permalink)

July 23, 2020

Grandmaster Flash: Drug War Collaborator

Parsing the song 'White Lines' for drug war propaganda

Drug Warrior Trump rapping about killing Americans for using plant medicines - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Grandmaster Flash may be a great rapper, but he is a lousy philosopher and historian, at least if he actually believes in the lyrics that he raps. Check out the words to "White Lines," the Duran Duran hit on which Flash is the featured rapper, with lyrics by Melvin Glover and record producer Sue Robinson.

Ticket to ride, white line highway
Tell all your friends, they can go my way
Pay your toll, sell your soul
Pound for pound costs more than gold

Sell your soul? Really? Merely by using a plant medicine that has been used responsibly by non-Western cultures for millennia?

This line could only have been written by a lyricist who was mentally under the thumb of drug war propaganda, a lyricist who had been convinced by cop shows and movies that cocaine can only be used for evil, since that's all the producers had ever allowed him to see. But these lyrics would have been laughable in any country that was not in the midst of America's unprecedented war on plant medicines.

For well over 2,000 years, the educated people of all cultures have known that any chemical substance can be used wisely or unwisely. Salt can kill you in high doses. Botox is deadly even in low doses, but in minuscule doses it can perform cosmetic wonders.

But the Drug War holds the superstitious notion that once a psychoactive substance is criminalized by politicians -- presto change-o -- it becomes evil incarnate, unsafe at any dose (or indeed in any form), and can thus be demonized without regard to common sense.

But moving on...

My white lines go a long way
Either up your nose or through your vein
With nothin' to gain except killin' your brain

Killin' your brain? Really? Apparently the lyricist is unaware of the fact that Freud used cocaine heavily to increase his work output, then withdrew from the habit later in life, without a big self-aggrandizing ruckus, when he no longer needed the focus-inspiring effects of the drug in question. But we can't speak of this in America, because the drug war ideology says that we are mere helpless babes when it comes to the all-powerful psychoactive substances with which mother nature has surrounded us.

Earth to Grandmaster: plant medicines do not "fry your brain" -- that is a drug warrior lie. To the contrary, cocaine brings mental focus, opium spurs creativity, and psychedelics help you think outside the box. If you don't believe me, read up on the responsible and productive "drug use" of Sigmund Freud, Benjamin Franklin, and Francis Crick, respectively, the latter luminary being the Nobel Prize winner who discovered the DNA helix by ingesting liberal quantities of psychedelics.

But the lyricists have such a naïve faith in the veracity of drug warrior lies that I'm tempted to sell them some prime swampland in New Jersey. Check out how the lyrics that follow mindlessly conflate the use of cocaine with the use of heroin and crack, in deference to the drug war practice of libeling and slandering Mother Nature's plants at will, without any reliance on pesky facts, let alone mere common sense. (Hey, apparently all's fair in love and the drug war.)

(Hey man, you want to cop some blow')
(Sure, what you got, dust, flakes or rocks')
(I got China White, Mother of Pearl, Ivory Flake, What you need')

Talk about guilt by association. Cocaine is not heroin. Cocaine is not crack. Cocaine is not Fentanyl. But when the drug warrior wants to demonize a plant medicine of mother nature, he's allowed to make up facts -- which is easy to get away with in a world where the DEA will not even allow the scientific investigation of most of the psychoactive substances in question, except to allow for studies by means of which the DEA hopes to further smear the reputation of mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines.

And the drug war beat goes on, as Grandmaster Flash proceeds to blame cocaine for all the problems that the drug war itself has actually created out of whole cloth:

Athletes rejected, governors corrected
Gangsters, thugs and smugglers are thoroughly respected
The money gets divided
The women get excited
Now I'm broke and it's no joke
It's hard as hell to fight it, don't buy it

Hey, I'm almost broke myself, trying to pay for my daily fix of Effexor, a modern Big Pharma antidepressant which is more addictive than heroin. But I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for Grandmaster Flash to demonize Effexor on my behalf, even though 1 in 8 American men and 1 in 4 American women are also addicted to such modern antidepressants, none of which were initially intended for long-term use. In fact, since Flash is such a pushover for drug warrior propaganda, it would not be out of character for him to appear on Oprah with a rap song reminding Americans to "Take Your Meds!" -- since that's another drug warrior lie, the notion that we must demonize mother nature's plant medicines while yet reminding Americans that it is their moral duty to become addicted to modern antidepressants.

But perhaps the most frustrating lyric of the song "White Lines" is the following:

A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time
He got out three years from now just to commit more crime
A businessman is caught with twenty four kilos
He's out on bail and out of jail
And that's the way it goes, raah

Don't get me wrong, the lyrics are absolutely right. The problem is that the singer's addiction to drug-war ideology makes him absolutely impotent to do anything meaningful about this injustice. After having been prompted by drug warrior lies to conclude that cocaine is pure evil, he can scarcely call for the legalization of the coca plant, thereby finally getting the racist police officers off the backs of his fellow minorities. So what happens?

Such confused thinking about drugs leads to a byzantine effort by so-called minority advocates to tweak the wording of drug laws here and there, not to re-legalize mother nature's plant medicines (which should be ours by birth under the natural law upon which America was founded), but to make sure that the penalties for white collar crimes committed by Caucasians are just as harsh as the penalties for drug offenses committed by minorities.

This is why drug-war opponents can't make a united front against the drug war: because drug warrior ideology has conquered by dividing them into competing camps. And so the minority advocates go to the government, essentially saying: "Those kids got 5 whacks on the tush while we got 10." That may be true, but the real problem is that the government is administering blows in the first place, not that they are biased in the way that they distribute them.

It is no coincidence that the notion of treating criminal suspects as dirt and scumbags appeared on the scene at the same time as the drug war blossomed in the early '70s. It is the drug war that militarizes America's police forces and gives them free rein to indulge their racist impulses. The answer to the problem is not to demonize mother nature's plant medicines and imply that they're just as bad as the worst man-made drugs we can imagine: the answer is to stop unscientifically demonizing drugs altogether and start talking objectively about them, with the term "drugs" to include alcohol and Big Pharma antidepressants and the information that we publish to include perceived benefits as well as drawbacks and contraindications.

Flash's rapper friend, Cowboy, would not have died from crack had he been given objective information about psychoactive substances. The problem was not the coca leaf: the problem was the drug war, both its suppression of objective information about substances and its criminalization of far less lethal plant medicines with which human beings like Cowboy could have achieved self-transcendence with little or no risk of addiction, let alone of the AIDS and subsequent death to which these Drug War prohibitions eventually led him, so to speak, by default.

The whole problem is that we have been trained by drug war propaganda to hold this thing we call "drugs" responsible for causing all evil, turning it into the universal scapegoat for social problems, when all the real problems in the world are caused by the drug war itself: its deliberate lies about substances, its suppression of inconvenient truths about them, its criminalization of a wide array of psychoactive plants that could bring peace of mind to millions, and above all its creation of massive and widespread violence, the violence that inevitably occurs when one creates a black market in desired substances.

Chuck D of Public Enemy says that rap music is "the black CNN." But what's the point of creating a whole new "news network" when you're just going to spout the same old tired party line about drugs, based on a pack of drug warrior lies and censorship? The lyrics of "White Lines" would easily pass ideological muster with "the white CNN," or even with an openly racist Drug Warrior for that matter. True, the black CNN wants to focus on the racist implications of the drug war, but neither "news agency" can clear its head from drug war propaganda long enough to realize that the problem is the drug war itself, not the mere way that it is administered.

Grandmaster Flash: Drug War Collaborator (permalink)

July 21, 2020

The Drugs Reddit just doesn't get it

Drugs Reddit: Please, no posts  that force us to rethink our whole approach to drugs.
WARNING: The author was banned from both the Drugs and the Drug War Reddits for pointing out the following inconvenient truths about America's unprecedented drug war. Read these ideas quick, before the US government finally just plain declares these viewpoints illegal -- which might happen any day in a country that claims the right to outlaw mother nature's plants.

Earth to the PC online echo chamber known as the Drugs Reddit:

There is no drug problem in America. Instead, there are the twin related problems of ignorance and substance criminalization. The first leads human beings to make bad choices, the second guarantees that those choices will be bad by outlawing mere research on psychoactive plant substances, preferring to demonize them instead as the root of all social evil. How? First, by falsely claiming that chemical substances somehow fry the brain the moment they are criminalized by politicians, and second, by creating cop shows and drug-war movies in which we never see the responsible use of criminalized substances. In this way, such drug war entertainment implies that such responsible use is somehow impossible, notwithstanding the fact that many of America's founding fathers themselves used such substances responsibly, including Benjamin Franklin, Aaron Burr, and Thomas Jefferson.

If America's obsession with "drugs" made sense, surely the history of the world would be riddled with "drug problems" from the past. If so, the professors under whom I've studied "never got the memo." Consider the following Great Courses that I've audited over the last two years alone:

(I can hear the drug warrior now: "How on earth did these civilizations survive when everyone had free access to all of mother nature's evil plant medicines???")

Conclusion: The fact that there's a huge "drug problem" in America today says far more about modern society than it does about something we call "drugs."

The best that the drug warrior can do in citing "drug problems" of the past is to point to the opium wars of the 19th century. But that problem was deliberately caused by government - the British government, to be exact - which strategically sought to glut the Chinese opium market with a particularly addictive form of the drug from India -- and then declared war when the Chinese responded by outlawing the drug altogether.

These damning facts not withstanding, modern drug warriors like John Halpern do their best to rewrite history in order to demonize opium itself (instead of the British government) when writing on this subject. Thus Halpern's 2019 book on this topic, "Opium," bears the propagandistic subtitle: "How an ancient flower shaped and poisoned our world."


A far more honest title would have been "Opium: how government monopolies shaped and poisoned our world," but Halpern couldn't miss an opportunity to lash out at the modern all-purpose scapegoat known as "drugs."

Unfortunately, I can't post this essay on the Drugs Reddit because I have already been banished there for life for merely broaching these ideas on a previous occasion. In fact, I've been banned on the DrugWar Reddit as well for the same reason. (I sometimes think that DEA moles have become moderators of such groups in order to make sure that observations like mine never see the light of day.)

What a coup Francis Burton Harrison scored in 1914 when, for the first time in American history, he outlawed a mere plant, the opium poppy. Not only did the anti-Chinese politician thereby violate the natural law upon which America was founded, but he laid the legal groundwork for President Nixon to criminalize thousands of additional psychoactive plants six decades later -- not to protect the health of young people (as Julie Holland mistakenly claims in her 2020 book entitled "Good Chemistry") but to send his opponents to jail and remove them from the voting rolls by charging them with felonies. Because even imaginary problems like "drugs" can be used to good advantage by a savvy politician.

Thus corrupt politicians created a whole new scapegoat for social problems, something that we Americans call "drugs," and in so doing created a drug war that incarcerates a million minorities a year and causes so much violence that it gave birth to a whole new movie genre about drug trafficking.

If the Drug Reddit really wants to be a force for good, it will stop fetishizing this red herring called "drugs" and break up, like AT&T, into more rationally oriented subreddits, focusing on topics such as "LEGALIZING PLANT MEDICINES," "INVESTING IN EDUCATION," and "USING MOTHER NATURE'S PSYCHOACTIVE BOUNTY TO COMBAT ADDICTION AND HABITUATION."


The Moderators for the Drugs Reddit "just don't get it." Check out the message that one sees when trying to post there (which, good luck if you plan to be honest):

"If your post, or a reply to it would make it easier for someone to get drugs, it's not permitted."

Think of what this statement actually means, given the fact that "drugs" is just another word for "criminalized plant medicine." It means:

"If your post, or a reply to it would make it easier for someone to get forbidden plant medicine, it's not permitted."

The fact that the anonymous Moderators just blandly state this warning, without also roundly denouncing it, shows that they either don't appreciate the injustice at work here or that they gladly accept it as natural.

So then let me get this straight: First we are separated from Mother Nature by the drug war, and now we are told that we cannot even discuss Mother Nature's plants when we feel that they would be useful to a fellow human being. And so I could be thrown in jail (or worse yet, banned from the Drugs Reddit!) for merely telling a dying grandmother where she can harvest psychedelic plants that will help her make her peace with the inevitable approach of "the gentle hand of Azrael," as Edgar Allan Poe, a beneficiary of psychoactive substances himself, might have called it. "Yes, sorry, Grandma: your health and happiness is important to me, but I cannot violate the tenets of America's most righteous and holy drug war!"

Again, the Drugs Reddit should be lashing out at this absurd and tyrannous status quo at every chance. Instead, they banish those who so much as mention these inconvenient truths, preferring instead to act as cheerleaders for America's obsession with "drugs," doing everything they can to show that they are willing collaborators in the government's war on mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines.

The difference between someone "using a drug" and his being "addicted" to it is not a matter of fact, but a matter of our moral attitude and political strategy toward him. Indeed, we might, and must, go further than this, and note that the very identification of a substance as a drug or not a drug is not a matter of fact but a matter of moral attitude and political strategy: tobacco, in common parlance, is not considered to be a drug but marijuana is; gin is not but Valium is. Here, now, briefly is how those who wish to wage war on drugcraft use the language of loathing to enlist recruits for their cause. - Ceremonial Chemistry, Thomas Szasz

The Drugs Reddit just doesn't get it (permalink)

July 20, 2020

Five Ways that the drug war causes the problems that it claims to solve

Drug War species: Medicamento bellator, from the tyrant family. Distinguishing trait: judges people on what substances they ingest rather than on how they actually behave - from AbolishTheDEA.com

  1. The Drug War creates an enormous interest in "drugs" (aka Mother Nature's psychoactive plant medicines) by constantly harping on them as the root of all evil, in a way that no other society has ever done since the beginning of time.

  2. The Drug War creates drug cartels in the same way that liquor prohibition created the mob.

  3. The Drug War outlaws thousands of godsend psychoactive plant medicines that are far less addictive than Big Pharma meds, while incentivizing unscrupulous black marketeers to sell the most addictive synthetic substances possible.

  4. The Drug War creates violence: including the Mexican Drug War that killed 85 Mexican civilians per day in 2018.

  5. The Drug War guarantees impurity of drug supplies, and not just because unscrupulous dealers "cut" their product with toxic substances either: the DEA itself deliberately poisoned marijuana crops in the 1980s by spraying them with paraquat, a weed killer that has since been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease.

Conclusion: "drugs" are the modern boogeyman and scapegoat: it is what we talk about when we want to demonize bad behavior without having to discuss the social problems that created it, such as lack of education, not simply about drugs but about common sense and personal responsibility. It is also what we talk about when we want to remove a population from the voting rolls by tossing them in jail and removing their voting rights. The drug war is thus simply a political ploy which helps the hypocritical beer-swilling drug warrior steal elections in order to keep the mendacious and anti-scientific drug war mentality in full force. Why? In order to benefit the special interests who profit from it: including Big Pharma, the American Psychiatric Association, Big Liquor, Law Enforcement, and the Corrections Industry.

Five Ways that the drug war causes the problems that it claims to solve (permalink)

July 18, 2020

The Worst thing about the Drug War

The Drug War Virus Hot Spots: the countries in red have abolished natural law in favor of demonizing natural psychoactive plant medicines in line with scheming American politicians
Americans are so determined to treat Mother Nature as a drug kingpin that I sometimes think the war on drugs can never end. There are just too many parties that stand to benefit from it:

Big Pharma, Psychiatrists, Big Liquor, Law Enforcement, the Corrections Industry -- and above all politicians, who can give up on solving real problems in the real world thanks to the "drug war," which allows them to blame everything that happens on the modern all-powerful boogeyman of "drugs," although the latter word is really just a pejorative term for the plant medicines that grow at our very feet.

Sometimes I just want to say, "Fine! The America I loved no longer exists. It has given up on Jefferson's natural law by giving the government the right to tell me which plants and fungi I can use. The only question now is, 'When will they start taxing the very air that I breathe?' Okay, then. If America is no longer going to stand for the freedoms that Thomas Jefferson prescribed for it, then I'm 'out of here.' I'll move to a country where the bounty of Mother Nature is considered to be mine by birth, as it was practically everywhere on earth until 1914, when racist American politician Francis Burton Harrison succeeded in toppling natural law by criminalizing a mere plant, the poppy, which he associated with the much-maligned Americans of Chinese ancestry."

But before I can even think about buying a plane ticket to a free country, I realize the sad truth:

America is not happy to violate natural law on its home turf alone. It is so deluded by its own jaundiced view of Mother Nature's plant medicines that it is blackmailing every other country in the world to follow suit and criminalize mother nature's bounty as well. And Western countries are all too happy to go along, for two main reasons: 1) because their politicians do not even realize the profound political principles at stake here and 2), because they themselves are ignorant of the magical healing powers of nature's psychoactive pharmacopoeia and therefore easy prey for American propaganda according to which psychoactive plants can bring about nothing but evil in the hands of a free citizenry.

Fortunately for America, the few countries that would refuse to go along with such blackmail are despotic in nature and so are naturally inclined to make a huge law enforcement issue out of the boogeyman of "drugs" without any prompting from the American Empire. It gives those despots just the excuse they need to crack down on opponents without inciting the wrath of the United Nations: they're cracking down on "drugs" after all, not on dissent.

And so there's no point in buying a plane ticket to escape America's drug war: the drug war has gone global, thanks to financial blackmail and the many cynical politicians who see that war as a way to further their own political agenda. And so America - a country that claims to despise the mentality of colonialism -- goes overseas in a Quixotic quest to make the world safe for Big Liquor, burning plants that have been used responsibly for millennia by non-Western cultures, under the pretext that they cause addiction in the States, failing to realize that, by that same selfish logic, the Islamic world should be able to come Stateside and burn America's grape vines.

And so it's Christian Science Uber Alles, we must all shun "drugs" or else -- because the entire world has now adopted America's anti-scientific notion that psychoactive plants can cause nothing but evil-- unless, of course, they are synthesized by Big Pharma into highly addictive pills that one must take every day of their life, until death do they part from the psychiatric pill mill.

That's morality for you in the age of the drug war: addiction is fine, as long as Fortune 500 corporations are receiving the profits therefrom. And so Big Pharma has a free pass to addict 1 in 4 American women to antidepressants, without even raising one drug warrior eyebrow.

What further proof do we need that terms like "drugs" and "addiction" are political, not scientific terms, as they are used today in a drug warrior society? Here we are, living in the midst of the biggest addiction crisis in human history -- the mass addiction to a class of antidepressants that were never even intended for long-term use -- and Americans are silent about it. The pill mill is turning faster than ever with Big Pharma now targeting toddlers with such pills under the pretext of "nipping ADHD in the bud" -- along with the child's psychological freedom and financial prospects, one might add.

What irony, that this addiction crisis goes unnoticed in a country that considers "empowerment" to be the ne plus ultra of human goals. What could be more DISEMPOWERING than to turn a human being into an eternal patient, who has to visit an expensive shrink every three to six months of their lives, in order to get yet another expensive prescription for a drug that has nothing to do with helping one thrive, merely with helping one "get by"?

This, then, is the worst thing about the American drug war: the fact that the country that founded it has turned it into the law of the very globe, thus ensuring that folks who believe in natural law cannot access psychoactive plant medicine anywhere on the planet.

What a coup for the medical "professionals" and Big Pharma. What a loss for the mere human being. What a loss for freedom. What a loss for human potential.

Because, believe it or not, some people don't want to use "drugs" in order to behave irresponsibly: they want to use "drugs" in order to increase their creativity, in order to increase their passion for life, in order to increase their appreciation of mother nature, in order to increase their friendliness and caring for their fellow human being.

Of course, these goals won't make sense to the drug warrior, who holds the anti-scientific and counterfactual belief that illegal plant substances can cause nothing but evil. But those of us who study plant medicines (rather than demonize them) know that mother nature's psychoactive pharmacopoeia holds out the promise of changing attitudes for the better -- of inspiring creativity and helping us to come to terms with our place in the universe -- while potentially curing Alzheimer's disease and fighting depression into the bargain.

But America has a vested interest in the superstitious status quo thanks to which we turn psychoactive plant medicines into boogeymen that can't even be studied under pain of law. Just imagine such a state of affairs in America -- America, of all places! A country that prides itself on being "scientific" is actually a country in which the very scientific process is emasculated by politically motivated drug laws.

I really wish I could vote against this anti-scientific status quo with my feet and leave America, thereby evincing my disgust with the way that politicians have violated Jefferson's natural law and taken away my right to Mother Nature's bounty. But the drug war virus has taken over the entire world, buoyed by drug war propaganda, chiefly in the form of TV, movies and other media in which the positive and responsible use of criminalized substances is never ever depicted, leaving the viewer to conclude that mother nature's psychoactive substances are only used by scum bags and deviants.

Then there's the blatant lie by the Partnership for a Drug Free America, which claims that mother nature's psychoactive substances "fry the brain" the moment that they're declared illegal by politicians. This is surely the most mendacious public service advertisement in human history. The truth is exactly the opposite. Cocaine sharpened Freud's mind. Opium increased Benjamin Franklin's creativity and affability. Far from scrambling his brain, psychedelics helped Francis Crick discover the DNA helix. The Air Force itself has required its pilots to use what the drug warrior would derisively refer to as "speed" on long, crucial missions, not to scramble the pilot's brain but to sharpen it. If any drug actually 'fries' the brain, it is the modern Big Pharma antidepressant, which was never studied for long-term effects and which causes emotional flat-lining in long-term users.

And so, with such blatantly false propaganda, the drug war has succeeded beyond the wildest expectations of the corrupt and racist politicians who started it - or rather who incited it with their self-serving demagoguery. It has taken over the entire world, with its jaundiced view of mother nature.

Indeed, the future looks dim for those of us who still believe in natural law and who think of mother nature as a goddess rather than as a drug kingpin. Where can we go in order to 'be all that we can be' with the help of mother nature's psychoactive godsend meds? We have only one life, after all. How dare politicians declare that we have no right to live it to the fullest? And this in a country that guarantees the pursuit of happiness? (If we ever find life on another planet, freedom lovers better get there fast before America 'persuades' those little green men to ban psychoactive medicine there as well.)

Yet there is hope. The state of Oregon is floating an initiative that will decriminalize all drugs. Portugal has already taken that step. And Israel has abolished its Drugs Agency. Maybe those of us who still value our rights under natural law will eventually be able to vote with our feet and relocate to a state or country that takes a rational view of psychoactive substances, refusing to demonize them on behalf of racist political agendas -- someplace where a citizen is judged by how they actually behave in life rather than by the substances that they choose to ingest.

The Worst thing about the Drug War (permalink)

July 16, 2020

The Drug War Virus at the Institute of Art and Ideas

how IAI speakers limit their ideas to those that conform with drug war ideology

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Stephen Hawking has said that philosophy is dead, failing to realize, of course, that such a statement is itself philosophical in nature and therefore self-negating. It's as if Hawking had told us that, "General ideas are dead," failing to realize that the claim itself is the most general of all general ideas. Yet after scanning the subject matter of the lectures being offered at IAI, the Institute of Art and Ideas, I almost think that Hawking had a point, albeit in spite of himself.

Despite the institute's lofty-sounding claim to be challenging "the notion that our accepted wisdom is the truth," I cannot find one single IAI lecture that even acknowledges the fact that we live in a scientifically emasculated world, a world in which scientists and philosophers are forbidden to study, let alone use, thousands of psychoactive plants. We live, that is, under the science-defining limits of a drug war in the exact same way that Galileo lived under the science-defining limits of the Church.

It's amazing that this enormous government interference in science, a drug war which tells us what plants we are even allowed to study, should be all but invisible to an organization that claims to be "rescuing philosophy from technical debates... and returning it to big ideas." What idea could be bigger than the fact that the drug war is impeding scientific research that could give us a whole new outlook on human consciousness and the human being's place in the world?

But don't get me wrong. I am not criticizing a lack of IAI lectures about the drug war here. Indeed, I'd rather see no IAI lectures on the drug war at all rather than to have that subject cordoned off into its own little lecture series, as if it had nothing to do with the rest of the world, kind of like a course on basket-weaving or knitting. The problem is not our failure to talk about the drug war: it is our failure to grasp the way that war has limited our very ability to "do science."

This is why I balk at the idea of listening to many of the IAI lectures, despite having previously paid for the opportunity of doing so: the lecture descriptions make it clear that the speakers, for all their academic laurels, have never stopped to consider the role that the drug war has played in limiting their research, and hence their conclusions and outlook, on the topic on which they otherwise purport to be giving us the latest, if not the last and final, authoritative word.

Take Mike Salter's lecture on "Life without Labels: Problems with modern mental health." Surely Mike is going to be talking about the great addiction crisis of our time, the fact that the drug war has limited psychiatry to using highly addictive synthetic drugs from Big Pharma, thanks to which 1 in 4 American women have to take an SSRI or SNRI every day of their life, until death do they part from the psychiatric pill mill. Surely Mike is going to blow the lid off this travesty and call for immediate change.

But the brief course description and bio gives us no sign that Mike Salter is even aware of such a problem. His focus, instead, is on the stigmatization of patients through labeling, a concern that would have been cutting-edge, no doubt, in the 1970s, but seems a little recherche to a veteran 21st-century psych patient like myself, who doesn't mind how you label him if you would just give him a non-addictive psychedelic alternative to the damned expensive and mind-clouding Effexor that he'll otherwise be on for life (having been told by his own psychiatrist that the drug in question is harder to quit than heroin).

In other words, Mike Salter's lecture is meaningless to me because Mike reckons without his host: he is blind to the current situation, possibly because he is so used to the drug war status quo that he considers it to be a kind of normal scientific baseline, and one that therefore does not need to be mentioned when discussing the state of affairs in the real world.

But Mike is not the only IAI speaker who "reckons without his host," who ignores the role that the drug war plays in limiting the scope of his or her presentation on their subject of choice.

To illustrate this fact, I end with a list of three more currently advertised IAI lectures, followed by a brief note explaining how the speaker in question is ignoring the role that the drug war plays in shaping and limiting his or her observations on the topic under consideration.

"How to Help Your Body Help Your Mind," by David Fuller of Rebel Wisdom

David might take exception to me classifying him as a self-help author, but if he is one, then he is in good company when it comes to self-censoring viz the drug war. For the last 50 years, self-help authors have done everything in their power to describe positive feelings and attitudes under the dubious assumption that folks can adopt feelings and attitudes merely by hearing them described in minute and extensive detail. Such authors never point out that the informed use of various psychoactive plant medicines can help one achieve those feelings and attitudes in a few hours. Why not? Because we've all learned our drug war propaganda well: we know that the use of illegal substances can only lead to sorrow and heartbreak, right? (the Vedic religion and the Eleusinian Mysteries not withstanding). And so, like most self-help authors, David ignores such substances as a matter of course, probably not even aware of the fact that he's censoring himself on the topic.

(That's why no one even thinks to protest drug war restrictions in this area because all the authors write as if mother nature's meds have nothing to offer us when it comes to self-help, anyway: in other words, they all write as obedient members of a drug war society, with a jaundiced Christian Science view of mother nature's plant medicines, enforced by regular drug war propaganda on TV and movies, in which illegal plants are never used for anything except evil.)

"Mechanisms of the Mind by Margaret Boden

Again, the course intro gives no indication that Margaret is going to deal with the role of the drug war in impeding our study of human consciousness and the mind. This is particularly worrying in an AI-obsessed culture, where we are excited about implanting electronic devices into our brain as soon as possible (a la Elon Musk) while completely ignoring the fact that we've been forbidden by law to improve that same brain by nourishing it with psychoactive plant medicine. I don't begrudge today's nerd the option of modifying their brain with electronics, but it speaks volumes about the modern disdain for mother nature when we're willing to take those kinds of risks at the same time that we shrink in horror from the idea of improving our brain with plant-based "brain medicines," many of which are non-addictive and almost all of which are far less addictive than Big Pharma antidepressants.

"The Case Against Reality" by Donald Hoffmann

As one familiar with the profound insights to be gained from psychedelic experience, at least under the right conditions, I find it presumptuous for any scientist to draw conclusions on the nature of reality without any reference whatsoever to what mother nature's plant medicines seem to want to tell us on this subject. Plato's whole philosophy of the soul was inspired by the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries (which lasted for alomst 2,000 consecutive years until tellingly banned by Christian Emperor Theodosius II) and one of the world's earliest religions was founded to praise the metaphysical insights provided by a psychedelic plant. Of course, if Hoffmann truly believes that there's no "there there" when it comes to psychedelic experience, that's fine, but let him say so in order that folks like myself can challenge any misunderstandings which might have led him to that conclusion. Maybe he's fallen for the drug warrior lie par excellence, namely that psychoactive substances somehow start frying the brain the minute that they've been criminalized by politicians (notwithstanding the fact that cocaine sharpened Freud's mind and psychedelics helped Francis Crick identify the DNA helix). We could then suggest to Hoffmann that if any substances "fry the brain," they are the antidepressants mentioned above to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted, those "meds" which were never intended for long-term use and which now appear to conduce to anhedonia in veteran users.

The point is not what Hoffmann thinks about mother nature's psychoactive substances: the point is that he ignores the subject entirely, apparently in an act of subconscious censorship, forcing his readers to speculate on how his views of "reality" might have been modified or changed had the author lived in a free world wherein the metaphysical hints from psychoactive substances could have been freely followed up and investigated without the threat of government interference and possible arrest.

No, Stephen Hawking, philosophy is not dead, though you wouldn't know it from checking out the courses at IAI. That said, philosophy is indeed in the thrall of the drug war, which tells modern thinkers both how and how much they are allowed to think on any given subject:

Meditate until you burn a whole in the rug to find the truth, says the drug warrior, but don't use those evil things called drugs to achieve peace and insight. Speculate about the power of metallic implants to turn us all into bionic superhumans, but don't talk about improving human beings with plant medicines. Speculate as wildly as you please about reality, to the point of saying that this very sentence does not exist, but don't you so much as hint that plant medicines can give us insight into the true nature of the world, those plants being pure evil, as we all know, right? Right?

Philosophy is Dead, Stephen? It almost seems like it might be, but I trust it will be revivified once great thinkers (including those speakers featured on IAI) start owning up to their reliance on hidden drug war prejudices about mother nature's plant medicines.

Until then, we can say that Hawking was right, albeit for the wrong reason. Or, to paraphrase a line from HP Lovecraft (an author who refused to shun the creative inspiration provided by plant-based medicines):

"I perceive that comic irony has justified Stephen Hawking's words while secretly confuting their flippant meaning."

The Drug War Virus at the Institute of Art and Ideas (permalink)

July 15, 2020

Ten Reasons why the Drug War is Nonsense

dream big, work hard, and urinate upon demand - from AbolishTheDEA.com

  1. It prevents Americans from accessing the plants that grow at their very feet, in clear violation of the Natural Law upon which America was founded.

  2. It makes "drugs" a red herring for all social problems, thereby ignoring the real social problems (including substandard education and the drug war itself) that give rise to counterproductive substance use in the first place.

  3. It ignores the obvious lesson that prohibition leads to violence, and thus the Drug War leads to the daily death of grade-schoolers in inner cities and the constant fomenting and re-fomenting of civil wars abroad.

  4. It turns Americans into arch-colonialists who hypocritically go overseas to burn plants that have been used responsibly for millennia by other cultures, all in the name of preventing addiction in the States (by which reasoning, the Islamic world should be free to come stateside and burn our grape vines).

  5. It leaves the depressed and anxious with nothing but highly addictive Big Pharma meds to treat their condition, when hundreds of far less addictive remedies (many not addictive at all) could be harnessed from plant medicines that the Drug War has criminalized.

  6. It turns these sufferers into eternal patients (the exact opposite of empowerment) by requiring them to visit an expensive psychiatrist in person every three months of their life in order to receive yet another expensive prescription, since the DEA has such an absurd fixation on "controlling" this thing called "drugs" that they don't even trust a patient of 40-years standing to use them wisely. (If the DEA has its way, the psychiatric patient will be the last person in the world to be able to telecommute.)

  7. It militarizes police forces and encourages police to consider suspects as "scumbags," especially those who dare to sell natural substances that our politicians have been at such pains to demonize.

  8. It willfully ignores all inconvenient historical truths, like the fact that the Vedic religion was founded to worship a psychoactive plant and that psychedelics featured prominently in the Eleusinian mysteries, which lasted 2,000 years until it was tellingly banned by Christian Emperor Theodosius II as a threat to Christianity.

  9. It willfully ignores the historical fact that "drugs" have been used responsibly by such western luminaries as Sigmund Freud, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Marcus Aurelius, Francis Crick, Meriwether Lewis, Samuel Johnson, Frederic Chopin, Plato, Plutarch, Cicero, Aristotle... and even Thomas Jefferson, who surely flipped in his grave when the jackbooted DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants.

  10. It seeks to make the world forget these inconvenient truths by cranking out TV shows, books, and movies in which "drugs" are always used by scumbags, and so we see a badly dressed lowlife snorting cocaine in a dimly lit backroom, instead of seeing the debonair Sigmund Freud, proudly and confidently using cocaine to increase his endurance and ensure the prolific output whereby he achieved self-actualization in life.

Ten Reasons why the Drug War is Nonsense (permalink)

July 12, 2020

There is no drug problem

It is an invention of politicians to take our minds off of real problems

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
The Drug War represents a superstitious fetishization of psychoactive substances as the root of all evil. When poverty and ignorance combine with the black market to addict the poor inside inner cities, does America focus on the poverty, the ignorance or the black market? Of course not. Each of those approaches would require policy changes and real action. Instead, we bring out the red herring of "drugs" and start raising a hue and cry for the criminalization of the same, thereby turning the "drug dealer" into the scapegoat for all of America's social problems. The drug dealer is thus demonized as a scumbag worthy of immediate death, even though he or she is just meeting the demands of the black market that we ourselves created by outlawing nature's psychoactive plant medicines in the first place, in violation of the natural law upon which the American republic was founded.

This is why both conservatives and liberals believe in the drug war, because they both find it convenient to demonize substances as a scapegoat for social problems. In this way, conservatives can avoid having to shell out money for social reform while still being able to demonize the hated underclasses as mere drug users and delinquents. And so the drug war is the best of all worlds for conservatives. Liberals, on the other hand, can medicalize the "drug" problem (the problem that exists only by default because we have given a free pass to the causal factors of poverty, ignorance and the black market) and urge the sinner to come home: that is, urge the illegal substance user to submit him or herself to the power and authority of the medical establishment. What medical establishment? The one that has already addicted 1 in 4 American women to Big Pharma antidepressants, an addiction crisis that even the so-called addiction "expert" Gabor Mate ignores in his best-selling book on the topic, even though many SSRIs and SNRIs are harder to "kick" than heroin.

Both liberals and conservatives seem ignorant of the fact that our currently illegal substances have ever been used by anyone other than juvenile delinquents. The entire Vedic religion was founded around the worship of the psychoactive powers of a plant medicine. The time-honored Eleusinian mysteries, in which such western luminaries as Plato and Plutarch took part, centered around a ritual that involved the ingestion of a natural psychedelic substance. Meanwhile, these bipartisan drug warriors completely ignore the fact that Benjamin Franklin used opium responsibly, that Sigmund Freud used cocaine responsibly, and that psychedelics helped Francis Crick discover the DNA helix.

There is no drug problem in America, just because some people misuse drugs. There is no car problem, either, just because some people drive poorly. That problem is not with cars, it's with those who are not properly trained to drive them.

There was no drug problem in Ancient Egypt. There was no drug problem in the Persian Empire. There was no drug problem in Ancient Greece. There was no drug problem in Ancient Rome. There was no drug problem in the Mongol Empire.

Why not? Because back then, folks still had the sense to judge people by how they actually behaved, without looking into the natural substances of which they chose to partake.

The only drug problem that ever existed was caused by government. That was when the British government purposefully attempted to get the Chinese to misuse an especially addictive brand of opium in order for British trade to prosper. The problem was not "drugs," it was immoral government attempting to get human beings to misuse substances.

But Americans distort the lesson learned from that incident. Instead of demonizing corrupt governments, we demonize the substances that the government was attempting to get the Chinese to misuse.

The lesson should have been: keep the government and the profit motive out of the business of selling drugs.

The message that the drug warriors took home was: we must give government a monopoly on mother nature's psychoactive substances and create a profit motive for selling those plants by instituting prohibition.

And so America ensures by law (and by diplomatic blackmail) that no one in the entire world can even study literally thousands of psychoactive plants, many of which hold the promise of potentially ending cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and depression. Why? Because we'd much rather demonize mother nature's psychoactive substances than understand them and use them to improve both our health and our attitude toward life, let alone expand our consciousness and find a more tolerant way of living, which seems obligatory to some of us who recognize the fact that nuclear Armageddon is still only an ignition fuse away, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Only psychoactive plant medicines hold the promise of instituting the change of heart that can save "other hating" humanity from itself.

I am no radical because I don't believe in the existence of a "drug problem" (as opposed to a social problem, such as lack of education and so forth). Such a view as mine would have been common sense over the entire course of human history -- until 1914, that is, when the American government (of all governments) first usurped the right of human beings to the medical bounty of Mother Nature with the Harrison Narcotics Act, championed by anti-Chinese racists. Thus the one country that was founded on natural law turned out to be the country that took away one of a human being's most basic rights under such law: their right to the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.

Unfortunately, the online world is an echo chamber for this idiocy. And so folks like myself who argue for the time-honored status quo are instantly banned from the discussion by Reddit moderators, who seem determined to hide the truth. And that's no surprise. There are many beneficiaries of America's unique and deadly attitude about plant medicines -- deadly because they cause a drug war that kills inner-city Americans every day and causes civil war abroad. This overseas violence provides a weekend gladiator show for complacent Americans who flock to theaters to see drug war propaganda films in which intolerant DEA agents travel overseas to torture and murder foreigners. Why? Because they were selling plants that have been used responsibly by non-western cultures for millennia.

Drug war beneficiaries include:

Big Pharma (who have a monopoly on "mood medicine" when a drug war is in force), Psychiatrists (who have a monopoly on dispensing that medicine), Law Enforcement (whose workload and bottom line rise dramatically in a drug war, with lucrative "drug property forfeitures"), the Corrections Industry (who profit from the caging of Americans for the crime of possessing mere plants), and Big Liquor (who are given a monopoly on providing human transcendence -- a shabby transcendence indeed compared to the insightful dreams provided by the responsible use of many banned plant medicines).

And so truth cries out in the wilderness while America listens to psychiatrists appearing on Oprah under the pay of Big Pharma to remind us all why we must "take our meds."

There's the REAL drug problem in America: that plus the fact that the drug war has inspired us to deliberately ignore godsend medicines that hold great promise for curing everything that ails us. But, no. In drug war America, scientists cannot be allowed to practice their trade as usual, lest they thereby debunk the superstitions of the drug warrior, according to which criminalized plant medicines must be seen as nothing else but evil.

There is no drug problem (permalink)

July 11, 2020

10 Idiots who helped spread drug war propaganda on Listverse

in response to the listverse article entitled 10 historical figures who were dependent on opium

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
It's hard to be a good writer when fighting America's insane drug war because it's just so irritating and dispiriting to do the research. I guess I'm thin-skinned, but I get truly pissed when I see how much wrong-headed thinking there is on this subject, probably because I know that it's this kind of anti-philosophical thinking that has resulted in laws that keep me from accessing plant medicines that should be mine as a birthright under natural law.

Thanks to drug law, I not only go without those medicinal godsends but I'm shunted off onto highly addictive Big Pharma meds that I'm forced to take for life -- drugs with which no one in America seems to have a problem even though they're harder to quit than heroin.

One website that really rattled my cage this morning featured a Listverse page entitled "10 Historical Figures Who Were Dependent on Opium."

The title itself betrays the hypocritical drug warrior habit of denouncing supposed "dependence" to natural plant medicines while remaining silent about full-blown addiction to Big Pharma meds. In the minds of the modern American, it is almost a moral duty for a depressed or anxious person to "take their meds." Why then do we consider it a moral fault when historical figures "took their meds" in order to achieve self-actualization in the world? (Probably because America wants to medicalize human behavior, and so the doctors get upset when the use of such meds leaves the medical establishment out of the loop, financially speaking.)

Of course, the truly irritating part of the page is the comments section. Since DISQUS's algorithms are all about "getting eyeballs," they place the most idiotic comments at the very top of the comments page. Check out the following gem from a certain Chaos, an anonymous member of the Cult of the American Drug War. It currently appears at the very top of the comments section for the Listverse page about opium users, ahead of 75 other entries.

I think that taking, drinking, eating, smoking or injecting drugs is like someone blowing his brains off in an extreme slow-motion sequence.

(Personally, I think that reading drug war propaganda of this kind is like blowing one's brains off in an extreme slow-motion sequence.)

Meanwhile I tried to approach the matter rationally, and where do my comments appear? At the bottom of the page, separated by at least 30 inane comments from Chaos's musings, the interval between us being filled with such enlightening observations as: "quit bogarting the joint" and "the bust of Aurelius is obviously stone(d)" ha ha.

The good thing is, such chop logic motivates me to write comments like the following, when my depression might otherwise prevent me from doing so -- that depression that logic-challenged drug warriors will not let me treat effectively thanks to their ungrateful demonization of mother nature's plant medicines.

Author's comment in response to "10 Historical Figures Who Were Dependent on Opium," Listverse, September 25, 2015, Gordon Gora.

The drug war has fried American brains by convincing them that they can't even say the word 'opium' without raising eyebrows. Do you know how many TV shows and movies portray opium and cocaine use in a positive light? Zero. It's drug war censorship at work.

There's nothing moral or scientific about renouncing our right to medical godsends of mother nature. But the drug warrior spouts lies that make us think otherwise. The "frying pan" ad by the Partnership for a Drug Free America is the biggest lie in advertising history. Drugs like cocaine focus the brain -- as Sigmund Freud knew. Opium conduces to creativity -- as Benjamin Franklin knew. Psychedelics inspired Francis Crick to visualize the DNA helix.

But we've been taught in the west to think of Mother Nature as a drug kingpin rather than as a dispenser of godsend medicines. The drug war is Christian Science, telling us that we must not treat our conscious mind with "drugs".

Until 1914, we judged people on their actual behavior. Now we judge them on what they have in their digestive systems. It's all a sick and superstitious way of looking at the world. And it's hypocritical. If any drugs "fry" the brain, it's modern antidepressants, to which 1 in 4 American women are addicted. Many SSRIs and SNRIs are harder to quit than heroin. (source: Julie Holland).

I "take" Effexor -- paying dearly for it every month of my life, helping finance Maseratis for Big Pharma execs -- and my shrink says not to bother trying to get off it since its recidivism rate is so high. Yet America's drug war cult refuses to even RECOGNIZE that addiction. Because the drug war has nothing to do with America's health -- it's all about fomenting violence via prohibition and thus empowering the police and the military to crack heads -- and to take America's mind off of social problems (like the drug war itself) that lead to drug abuse.

It's sad to see so many comments here panning "drugs" when drugs are nothing but the plant medicines that grow at our very feet. Those plant medicines are ours by birth under natural law. Only America decided in 1914 that the government would determine what plants we can have access to.

That's tyranny. It's a clear violation of the natural law on which America was founded.

The drug war is just a nature-hating Christian Science cult. It is the establishment of a religion. Drug law enforcement is Christian Science Sharia.

Even the title of this page demonstrates drug warrior bias. It hypocritically uses the word "dependence" as if it was some kind of character flaw. How many of us are "dependent" on coffee, sugar and salt? How about alcohol and tobacco? And how many of us are "dependent" on Big Pharma meds? Why not create a page showing all the famous Americans who are "dependent" on antidepressants?

America wants to moralize and medicalize the subject of substance use rather than judging people like everyone in the world did before 1914: by HOW THEY ACTUALLY BEHAVED and by what they actually accomplished in the world.

In America, we no longer judge a person by the color of their skin, we judge them by the contents of their digestive system.

And so the anemic epitaph of the drug warrior reads: "May not have accomplished much... but gladly gave up his/her right to all of mother nature's godsend plant medicines!"

I hope that one day, when America has outgrown its superstitions about naturally occurring substances, there will be a Listverse page entitled "10 idiots who helped spread drug war propaganda on Listverse." The author of such a post will certainly have a wide field to choose from, judging by all the logic-challenged comments that drugs-related pages attract on that Web resource.

10 Idiots who helped spread drug war propaganda on Listverse (permalink)

July 8, 2020

Silence equals Death
in America's Drug War

Psst! Prohibition causes violence. Pass it on! Silence equals deth in the drug war
I recently contacted the Chair of the Botany Department at the University of Hawaii to complain about the appearance of drug-war propaganda in some of his department's online material. I felt a little guilty at first because I planned to publish my lengthy letter to him on my website, and I thought that it might be unfair to single his department out for having fallen prey to drug war propaganda. (The offending subject matter, apparently written by a UoH professor, claimed that LSD was outlawed because it was being abused, whereas Richard Nixon actually outlawed all psychedelics in order to throw his opponents into jail and charge them with felonies, thereby removing them from the voting rolls.)

I stopped feeling guilty at once, however, when the Botany Department chairman responded with a terse email, complaining about the length of my message and suggesting that I contact instead the author of the material that I found objectionable. Of course, the whole reason I had contacted the chair in the first place was that the offending material appeared online without an author's credit and with hyperlinks to missing pages. But, resolving to remain civil, I replied as follows:

Dear Professor Kasey:

The page is not credited and the links are invalid. But I'll investigate and see if I can deduce who might have written the text in question. Thanks.

My email is lengthy because I'm trying to combat the wrong-headed thinking of an anti-scientific drug war that keeps botanists from doing their job.

Sorry if I overwhelmed you.

If you're ever open to persuasion on this topic -- and the need for American botanists to protest governmental restrictions on what they can and cannot research -- I invite you to visit my website devoted to such topics at abolishthedea.com.

Then I started thinking. Why am I feeling guilty for bothering Professor Kasey? Grade-schoolers are being shot down in inner cities every day of the week thanks to the drug war, which single-handedly created gangs and cartels to profit from American prohibition. Mexicans are dying around the clock. Why? Because the drug war lingers like an unwelcome guest, blithely accepted by the American public, who feel free to repeat drug war propaganda as gospel truth, even in college courses.

Maybe America has become far too polite on this subject. America's movers-and-shakers did little or nothing to stop sexual harassment until feminists started "outing" them for their silence on that topic. The powers-that-be were also generally silent about race relations until Black Lives Matter shamed them into speaking up.

Maybe it's time to start shaming the many stealth collaborators of the drug war whose silence (and lies) on this topic keep the bullets flying.

There is a lot of blame to go around.

Take TV producers, for instance. Cop shows are full of drug war propaganda: in fact, the whole genre could scarcely exist in a world where natural plant medicines were considered the birth right of every citizen, as they had been throughout world history until the racially motivated Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. But show producers have email addresses and website contact forms. If you're opposed to America's drug war -- or simply dislike the unnecessary slaughter of grade-schoolers that the drug war brings about -- why not contact these producers via email and encourage them to stop spreading drug war propaganda? Every time their show episodes demonize cocaine, these producers are supporting drug war prohibition and the violence that it creates (meanwhile ignoring the fact that medicines from the coca plant have been used responsibly by non-western cultures for millennia).

Psychiatrists are drug-war collaborators as well whenever they fail to speak up about the drug war. If the government told doctors that they could no longer use aspirin, they would scream bloody murder: but when the government tells psychiatrists that they can't use natural therapeutic godsends, such doctors merely shrug and then start browsing through the slick and glossy catalog of highly addictive pills that the pharmaceutical salesperson left outside their office door. It's time that we start publicly pestering psychiatrists to do their part by speaking out against the anti-patient status quo of the drug war.

Even authors are drug-war collaborators. Think of the thousands of non-fiction books that have been written about creativity and relaxation over the past half-century, with scarcely any of them even mentioning the power of psychoactive plants to bring about these very states. And what about books on consciousness? How many weighty philosophical tomes (using 50-cent words like "qualia" and "neurofeedback") have completely ignored the role that psychoactive plants have played in altering (and elucidating the nature of) consciousness over the ages, not just for village shaman under the influence of "the food of the gods," but for western luminaries such as Plato and Aristotle, under the influence of the psychedelic kykeon at Eleusis. It's about time that we "outed" such authors for this self-censorship whereby they toe the drug war party line, thereby giving the green light to the drug-war prohibition that kills.

The botanist's complicity in the drug war is especially culpable, however, since the DEA's "drug scheduling" system limits their very ability to practice their profession. The DEA places thousands of plants and fungi off-limits to research, despite the fact that such flora could include godsends for ending cancer, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Surely any self-respecting botanist should be outraged by this emasculating drug warrior interference in their work, just as they would profess outrage at the way that the Church stymied the research of Galileo in the 17th century. But, like the authors and psychiatrists mentioned above, it looks like America's botanists need to be politely reminded of their duty to be outraged, since their silence on this topic supports the drug-war status quo: a status quo that not only kills grade-schoolers, but leads to the miserable and totally unnecessary suffering of the elderly and the depressed, who must go without god-send medications which, in the absence of drug war restrictions, could be provided for them.

Yes, we should be polite when outing the many drug-war collaborators mentioned above, since many of them are silent about the drug war for fear of being ostracized -- financially and otherwise -- should they speak out. That's unfortunately a very realistic concern. I myself can only speak truthfully here since I am self-employed. But one goal in "outing" these folks is to start normalizing the process of speaking plain truth about drugs, first and foremost by reminding Americans that the term "drugs" is really just a drug warrior pejorative for "mother nature's plant medicines."

Because what was true of the AIDS crisis 30 years ago is true about the Drug War today: Silence equals Death: the daily death of inner-city children, as well as the wholesale massacre of Mexicans and other nationalities, in countries where the American Empire has blackmailed the local government into accepting our jaundiced view of psychoactive plant medicine as the law of the land, entirely heedless of a fact long proven through endless bloodshed, namely that prohibition creates violence out of whole cloth.

Silence equals Death
in America's Drug War

July 7, 2020

Bamboozled Botanists fall for drug war propaganda

at the University of Hawaii - Manoa

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
You'd think that American botanists would be the first to see through the lies of the drug warrior, since the drug war places legal restrictions on which plants they are even allowed to study. Surely, such academics would take umbrage at this government interference and push back, loudly and clearly, in the name of free scientific research.

Not necessarily. When I visit the home pages of certain mycologists, for instance, I get the feeling that they are DEA agents first and mycologists second. These "scientists" make it very clear that they will have nothing to do with the psychoactive mushrooms of which their government disapproves and even imply that it is a civic duty to report such plants to the DEA should they be encountered in one's work-related perambulations (this in keeping with the government viewpoint that Mother Nature is a drug kingpin rather than a source of godsend medications).

In reality, of course, botanists can become just as bamboozled by drug war propaganda as anybody else, and there is, alas, little online evidence to suggest that they are taking the lead, as a group, in denouncing America's jaundiced attitude toward psychoactive plant medicines. I encountered the latest evidence of this sad fact when browsing the Web to discover the psychoactive properties of ergot, aka Claviceps purpurea, a fungus affecting the rye plant. It is known to human beings mainly as an agricultural poison, but it is also the substance from which LSD was isolated -- and may have even had a role in creating the psychedelic potion employed during the yearly rites at Eleusis, rites which lasted almost 2,000 consecutive years and proved philosophically enlightening to such western luminaries as Plato, Aristotle and Plutarch.

This evidence of "bamboozled thinking" appears on an online study page for a course entitled Botany 135 at the University of Hawaii Manoa, wherein the anonymous professor/author states that LSD "was eventually made illegal due to abuse."

Of course, this is just a drug warrior lie. LSD was criminalized simply because it was the drug of choice for the political opponents of Richard M. Nixon. But since the uncredited study page appears dated and seems to have no functioning hyperlinks, I could not point this fact out to the original professor-author, being unable to identify that no-doubt-distinguished botanist. I therefore addressed the following "gentle remonstrance" to Dr. Kasey Barton, Chair of the Department of Botany at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. My goal in so doing was not simply to urge the Department Chair to correct a misleading Web page, but to encourage his whole department to start doing its part to denounce the anti-scientific viewpoints upon which the entire drug war is based.

Hello, Professor Barton.

I hope you do not mind if I point out an error in a botanical course syllabus at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.

In the page entitled "Ergot of Rye History," the author states that LSD was outlawed because it was being abused. This is simply false. President Richard Nixon outlawed LSD because it was the drug of choice of his political opponents. If he had outlawed LSD for public health reasons, he would have also outlawed cigarettes and alcohol. Instead, he outlawed a whole raft of psychedelic plants, about which he knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He simply wanted to make sure that he criminalized every possible substance that his opponents might use in order to help them "think outside the box," politically speaking. In the 50 years since LSD was outlawed, there have been tens of thousands of deaths due to alcohol and cigarettes, with only a handful of deaths reported that might have been due (albeit indirectly) to LSD use.

Alcohol was certainly being abused in the late '60s and '70s, leading to daily deaths. But that was an abuse that the Richard Nixons of the world did not want the world to acknowledge and therefore it was never highlighted in lurid TV news stories.

If Nixon had been truly interested in the health of young people, he would not have made LSD use a felony. Rather, he would have educated these "drug users" and sent them on their way. But Nixon's goal was not education: his goal was to remove his opponents from the voting rolls: that's why he made drug use a felony: because felons could be prohibited from voting in US elections. Nixon's enemies were not drug abusers: they were vote abusers, young people who routinely failed to cast votes for Richard Nixon and his fellow narrow-minded political cronies.

I hope you will correct this and any similar errors in your botanical websites, since errors like these help promulgate America's disastrous drug war thanks to which, even as I speak, hundreds are dying daily in Mexico alone. I can't even keep up with the list of grade-schoolers being killed by drug-war-related gunfire in America's inner cities: on today's WTOP website alone I see that a 4-year-old girl has been killed by errant gunfire in Washington, D.C., and an 8-year-old boy has met the same fate in San Francisco, both killed by errant gunfire from urban zones that became militarized as a natural consequence of drug war prohibition. Do these urban victims have to be white before America's hypocritical drug warriors will reconsider their disastrous policy of criminalizing mother nature's plant medicines?

Why are these grade-schoolers dying? Because the United States, unlike any country in the past history of the world, has decided that botanical substances should be held responsible for evil and therefore criminalized, thereby creating a violent black market to be run by drug cartels around the world, cartels that were created, as it were, out of whole cloth by the drug war itself. Not only does this unprecedented attitude toward plants violate the natural law on which America was founded (by denying Americans the right to the botanical bounty that grows unbidden at their very feet) but it allows politicians to ignore the real cause of bad behavior (whether that bad behavior takes the form of substance abuse or not), and that is a lack of proper education and a lack of access to the full range of medicinal cures that Mother Nature offers, forcing citizens to rely instead on a small range of highly addictive synthesized substances, most of them far more addictive than anything Mother Nature has ever grown. (Even as I type, 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to "kick" than heroin.)

In an ideal world, botanical experts would be making these points loudly and clearly to the laity while calling for an end to all governmental strictures regarding which plants can and cannot be studied. Indeed, all academics would be doing this ideally, since the government control of research should be anathema to a supposedly free people. Unfortunately, drug war propaganda has been so successful in quashing dissent (with flat-out lies like the "frying pan" ad) that the laity is forced to remind the experts of the fact that they are living under the thumb of the DEA and that they practice their science only to the extent that scheming politicians will allow them to do so.

And so, as a botanical expert yourself, I urge you to join the fight against America's unprecedented war on plants by reminding America of what Paracelsus stated explicitly over 500 years ago:

Sola dosis facit venenum.

Only the dose makes the poison.

In other words, there are no bad substances. Substances are morally neutral.

This is a truth that wise men and women have understood implicitly for over two millennia. That's why there was no drug problem in Ancient Egypt, Greece, Persia, Rome or even in the Mongol Empire. Those societies punished actual bad behavior, not the pre-crime of substance consumption. For there were no such things as bad plant substances. True, substances could be misused, but the blame for that has, in the past, always rested entirely with the substance user and/or with the society that he or she lived in, never with the substance itself - until scheming American politicians realized in 1914 that they could marginalize their political opponents by outlawing their drugs of choice.

Sincerely Yours,
Ballard Quass

Follow-up: Professor Kasey wrote back, essentially saying my email was too long for him to read and that I should contact the author of the text to which I took exception. Here was my response to that latter email:

Dear Professor Kasey:

The page is not credited and the links are invalid. But I'll investigate and see if I can deduce who might have written the text in question. Thanks.

My email is lengthy because I'm trying to combat the wrong-headed thinking of an anti-scientific drug war that keeps botanists from doing their job.

Sorry if I overwhelmed you.

If you're ever open to persuasion on this topic -- and the need for American botanists to protest governmental restrictions on what they can and cannot research -- I invite you to visit my website devoted to such topics at abolishthedea.com.

Bamboozled Botanists fall for drug war propaganda (permalink)

July 6, 2020

How the drug war promotes drug abuse

The drug war represents a superstitious way of thinking about plant substances, that they are either good or bad, whereas substances a morally neutral
In his Great Courses lectures on "How Ideas Spread," Professor Jonah Berger points out that ad campaigns to combat drug use have been shown to actually increase drug use in the general population. This is not surprising when we consider that such ads encourage the viewer to look upon psychoactive substances in a superstitious way, as powerful entities in and of themselves, capable of wreaking damage without regard for the way that they are used, or by whom, or for what reason, etc. Drug warriors thereby increase our interest in this politically created category called "drugs" by elevating such inherently neutral substances as the poppy and the coca plant to near mythical status, as devilish substances in and of themselves, and then turning this childish attitude toward psychoactive substances into the law of the land by blocking scientific analysis of such plants with draconian drug laws. The Drug War thereby makes all these "devilish substances" deeply interesting and fascinating - they are, after all, the root of all evil in the jaundiced eyes of the drug warrior - when, in the absence of drug war propaganda, such plants are... simply plants: they are neither good nor bad, except with respect to the way that they are actually used by real people in the real world.

If "drugs" are misused, therefore, there is no "drug problem": only a social problem. But the politicians behind the drug war don't want to hear that because that would force them to deal with real-world problems, including inequitable arrangements for education and business opportunities whereby inner-city minorities have very little chance to make it in the world. And so, instead of facing up to their abnegation of duty on this front, the politicians flip the script and blame the victims of their policies for ingesting and dealing in these "devilish substances." Thus "drugs," as strategically defined by disingenuous politicians, become the universal scapegoat for all social problems, thereby allowing the drug warrior to blame the victim of those problems while steering the conversation away from any liberal reforms that might actually improve the lives of all parties concerned.

Fortunately for conservatives, they have duped the left into believing in this thing called "drugs," when all that really exists are plant medicines that can be used for good or ill. Thus Jesse Jackson Sr. talks as if drugs are the root of all evil, not realizing that "drugs" is a fictional term, created and defined by politicians as a way for them to neglect and blame (and ultimately arrest) the very marginalized classes that Jackson Sr. purports to be helping. And so, instead of loudly pushing for equal education for all, the message that Jackson spreads is: harsher penalties for drug dealing - "drug dealing" being the drug warrior's way of describing "those who dare to sell plant medicines of which American politicians disapprove." Like most liberals, Jackson has been persuaded by Drug Warriors to take his eye off the prize and to focus on so-called "drug" abuse rather than the social problems (such as lack of education and the outlawing of safer substances) that give rise to misguided substance use in the first place.

Even most opponents of the drug war are in agreement with the conservative and racist lie that there are these things called "drugs" that we need to combat, substances which can have no legitimate uses and are employed only by irresponsible hedonists. Of course, these are all drug warrior lies, that are just plain counterfactual from an historical point of view, but it's no wonder that liberals "fall" for these lies, given the drug war censorship that keeps Americans from ever seeing any positive use of the plant medicines that politicians have criminalized. When was the last time that you saw a magazine article or movie depict a studious intellectual using cocaine strategically to increase his vocational output (as was the case with Sigmund Freud) or a renaissance man partaking of opium to increase his creativity (as was the case with Benjamin Franklin)? No. All we see are blood-stained dollar bills and handguns sitting next to little baggies full of white powder on a dimly lit card table in a windowless back room. It's little wonder then that the left has been bamboozled by the propaganda of drug warriors, since the laws that they enact effectively block any objective scientific analysis of "drugs' while causing us to censor any beneficial use of such substances from the American memory.

So I'll repeat the statement that got me kicked out of the drugs Reddit: namely, there is no such thing as "drugs," as that term is defined by the drug warrior. There are only plant medicines, any of which can be used for good or ill depending on the circumstances.

This whole concept of "drugs" as inherently evil substances is an American invention and, unfortunately, now America's number-one philosophical export. It represents a way of looking at the world that would have been utterly foreign to Herodotus or Marco Polo - or Thomas Jefferson, for that matter.

That's why anti-drug ad campaigns lead to more drug use, because they draw attention to a non-problem, the supposed existence of plant substances that are pure evil. By thus turning mere plants into demonic threats to sanity and health, the drug war drastically increases our interest in these substances. Using a plant medicine, after all, sounds mundane and boring. But when we describe that medicine as a demonic threat to sanity and health, we give it a sort of perverse attraction to inquiring minds, which can't help but ask themselves: "What's all this fuss about? Why are scheming politicians so determined to keep me from using these things they call 'drugs'? These substances must be powerful, indeed! I wonder what these so-called 'demonic threats' could actually do for me!"

How the drug war promotes drug abuse (permalink)

July 5, 2020

Cop shows as drug war propaganda

How the TV cop show genre promulgates drug warrior lies about mother nature's plant medicines

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
I just ran across a 2014 article on HuffPost.com reporting that the Canadian cop-related show entitled "Republic of Doyle" had been canceled. Of course, this is old news in 2020, but it reminded me of my whole-hearted belief that almost all cop shows should be canceled -- and not even broadcast as re-runs, except perhaps with frequent disclaimers about their status as drug war propaganda. Why? Because the whole genre of cop shows helps to propagate drug war lies like the following:

1) Drugs are inherently evil substances that cannot be used responsibly. (Wrong. What we call "drugs" are simply morally neutral plant medicines that, like any substances, can be used for good or ill.)

2) Drugs are always associated with violence and despair. (Wrong. To the extent that this is true, it is true because of the drug war itself and not the plant medicines that it criminalizes and demonizes.)

3) Drug dealers are evil incarnate. (Wrong. They're entrepreneurs who sell criminalized plant medicines to their fellow human beings, having been incentivized to do so by the drug war itself.)

In light of these simple truths, we can see that the drug war is nothing but a make-work program for law enforcement. It is your local police, setting out and literally asking for trouble. How? By wasting their time worrying about what substances you may be ingesting, when they should be focusing (like law enforcement has for the last 2,000 years) on how people are actually behaving.

I posted my comments to this effect at the bottom of the article about the Canadian cop show -- but given the drug warrior's aversion to simple truth, I bet that post will be taken down before you can say "Give me a urine sample!"

And so I end this essay, first by calling for the immediate cancellation of all cop shows, not just the Newfoundland series with Allan Hawco - and second by pasting the comments below that HuffPost is surely deleting from their servers even as we speak, lest Americans hear the truth about the folly of their unprecedented war on mother nature's plant medicines:

Like all cop-related shows, Republic of Doyle is full of drug war propaganda (I call it copaganda). All the drug-war violence they fight is custom-created by Richard Nixon's drug wars and the unprecedented outlawing of Mother Nature's plants, which created a vicious black market. Meanwhile, like all cop-related shows, they give the impression that Mother Nature's psychoactive plant medicines can cause nothing but horror and addiction -- all lies: ask Ben Franklin and Sigmund Freud -- this in a continent in which 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to "kick" than heroin. All cop-related shows should be canceled, since 90% of their plots exist because of Nixon's drug war -- the drug war that is a make-work program for law enforcement.

Propaganda from Republic of Doyle

Jake speaking to Mayor. QUOTE: Yeah, you indulge in one little vice, what? Next thing you know you got a hooker in your lap and three grams of coke on your plate. It's a classic tale.

COMMENT: Yeah, a classic drug war propaganda tale, designed to associate the coca plant with all things evil, ignoring the fact that it was Freud's go-to medicine, not for partying but for accomplishing a prodigious amount of work -- and that the coca plant has been used responsibly for millennia by non-western cultures.

QUOTE: She flipped on you because you are a piece of dog turd. (spoken by an inmate, Logan, who's been asked to help out with a kidnapping investigation. He's speaking to a suspected drug dealer.)

COMMENT: This is how Richard Nixon's drug war has encouraged law enforcement to talk about suspected drug dealers. Nixon succeeded beyond his wildest dreams in forcing the world to take a jaundiced view of mother nature's plant medicines, to the point where we consider suspected "drug dealers" as non-human. Then we are startled by police murders of blacks -- when the police have been taught to demonize and dehumanize suspects -- and for bigoted officers, they're happy to extend that dehumanization to cases in which "drugs" are not even involved.

Jake's brother Christian, to Malachy, who has a bad back: QUOTE: Oh, you need some painkillers? I know a guy if you're lookin'.

COMMENT: Malachy and Jake respond to this facetious offer with goggle-eyed contempt, which can be loosely translated into English as follows: "What? You would dare infringe upon the holy monopoly of our esteemed medical profession to dispense with pain killers only as they see fit?" The presumption here is that modern medical establishment has all the answers. Really? Modern medicine has addicted 1 in 4 American women to antidepressants that are harder to kick than heroin, which were never intended for long term use, and which dull the senses rather than help the user achieve their goals in life. Yet we are supposed to rely on their absurdly limited pharmacy to treat what ails us, when we have a right to those plant medicines that they criminalized in violation of the natural law upon which America was founded?

Cop shows as drug war propaganda (permalink)

July 2, 2020

Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA

dea blocks even research on plant medicines that fight Alzheimer's, depression and cancer, yet poisons Americans with weed killer when they use marijuana
Please tell the DEA to stop criminalizing research into godsend medicines. My mother has symptoms of dementia, and so many psychoactive plants show great promise in treating and even reversing it. Yet the CRIMINAL DEA criminalizes research on almost all such psychoactive substances. This is the same agency that poisoned Americans in the 1980s with Paraquat sprayed on marijuana. Paraquat has since been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. So the DEA not only lies about substances that could possibly cure Alzheimer's disease, but they purposefully poison their own people (Americans) with CHEMICAL WEAPONS. ABOLISH the hateful DEA -- the anti-minority DEA -- the anti-nature DEA -- the anti-RESEARCH DEA -- and let my mother have peace in her final years. AND PUT FORMER DEA CHIEF JOHN C LAWN ON TRIAL for crimes against humanity for using chemical weapons against his own people.

Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA (permalink)

June 30, 2020

Why the Drug War is Christian Science Sharia

In the Drug War, the police enforce Christian Science Sharia, making Christian Science the state religion in the western world
One of my many shortcomings as a writer is that I assume that my readers know what the hell I'm talking about when they actually do not. I thus have a tendency to write tersely in cases where a little prolixity "would go a long way," so to speak. With this in mind, I would like to devote this entire post to the task of "fleshing out" what I mean when I say that America's Drug War represents a kind of Christian Science Sharia, a claim that I have made "in passing" in at least 10 of my essays over the last year, assuming that I was merely stating a commonplace, until a friend of mine politely pointed out to me that some of my readers might not be familiar with the theology of Christian Science, or even with the politically charged connotations of the word "sharia" as used in the 21st century by a westerner. This task of clarification is crucial because once one understands the statement that "the drug war is Christian Science Sharia," the evil of that quixotic project becomes apparent and we develop an immunity to the drug war propaganda that pervades western society (not least in the form of cop shows and drug war movies, both of which promote the once uniquely western view that mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines can bring about nothing but madness and despair).

Briefly then (though hopefully not TERSELY): Christian Science is a religion founded in late 19-century America by Mary Baker (aka Mary Baker Eddy), after she discovered what she took to be the overlooked healing power of spirituality as demonstrated by Jesus in the New Testament. She came to believe that physical suffering was an illusion, that it had no objective reality, and that it could be overcome by faith alone. Given this theological understanding, many modern-day Christian Scientists, like Baker herself before them, feel no need for modern medical intervention and seek to do without its various ministrations (including prescriptions and surgery), sometimes with tragic results, as was demonstrated by a number of sensational cases in the media in the 1980s in which Christian Scientists were charged with child abuse for allowing their children to die of treatable diseases due to the parents' religious conviction that healing could come about through spiritual intervention alone.

Having thus briefly explained the Christian Science outlook on suffering, I trust that it is apparent why the drug war represents the enforcement of Christian Science precepts. The drug war says, in effect, that human beings should not -- and indeed must not - use mother nature's medicines in an attempt to improve their psychological well-being. And this is simply the doctrine of Mary Baker herself with respect to illness. It is a religious belief, especially as many drug warriors suggest that the proper alternative to so-called drug use is to believe in the Christian God. Yet there is no scientific reason why we should not use the plants and fungi of our choice to improve and expand our cognition - there is only the conviction of the drug warrior that it is somehow wrong to do so. Of course drug warriors who hold this faith have to work constantly to censor history in order to delete counterfactual examples from the past. Thus we read of Benjamin Franklin's creativity, without being told how he used opium to stimulate that creativity. Thus we read of Sigmund Freud's highly prolific work output, without being told how cocaine helped drive him to produce that output. Thus we learn of Francis Crick's great insight in discovering the DNA helix, without being told how he used psychedelics to help achieve that insight.

Having thus established that the drug war represents the enforcement of Christian Science precepts, I will end my efforts at clarification by defining the word "sharia," both in its original sense and in its generally pejorative modern connotation in the west. We read in Webster's, that "sharia" is:

"the body of formally established sacred law... governing in theory not only religious matters but regulating as well political, economic, civil, criminal, ethical, social, and domestic affairs in Muslim countries."

More to our purpose here is the modern connotation of the word "sharia" in the west, where it conjures images of a police state run by a theocratic government that will brook no dissent and whose laws are emphatically harsh. By thus describing the drug war as "sharia" in this pejorative sense, I hope to highlight the highly ironic fact that Americans (and westerners in general) are living under the very form of government that they purport to detest, a kind of western "sharia," that subjects them to a set of ultra harsh drug laws (which may soon include the death penalty in America) should they choose to violate the Christian Science doctrine of renouncing Mother Nature's psychoactive plant medicines when it comes to treating "what ails them," psychologically speaking.

QED, the drug war is really the enforcement of Christian Science Sharia.

If enough freedom-loving westerners can "get their head around this fact," then we can stop impotently shouting "End the drug war!" to deaf politicians around the globe and start shouting "End Christian Science Sharia!" instead, thereby revealing to the drug warriors that we're "onto" their game and that we know all about their stealth efforts to make us conform with the anti-scientific moral philosophy of the religious reformer popularly known as Mary Baker Eddy.

Why the Drug War is Christian Science Sharia (permalink)

June 25, 2020

What Liberals ALWAYS get wrong about the drug war

as exemplified by Karolina Zieba's 2018 article entitled 'In case you choose not to say no to drugs'

Telling kids to say not to drugs is Christian Science indoctrination against Mother Nature's plant medicines

I have nothing against liberals. I consider myself to be one. But they never seem to really understand the full problem with the drug war. If you want to read a typical liberal article on this subject, check out Karolina Zieba's article entitled "In case you choose not to say no to drugs, kids," published September 10, 2018, in The Student Newspaper.

She seems to mean well and she argues against harsh penalties for drug possession, etc., but like almost every other liberal on the planet, she fails to grasp the full evil of the drug war, writing instead as if the drug war was a good idea which cannot work or which needs to be tweaked significantly in order to be fair. To which I say, no: the drug war needs to be eliminated root and branch. It has no right to succeed. Points that I attempt to make in the comment that I have posted below.

Karolina appears to say the following: yes, drugs are bad, but people are going to use them anyway. But what are drugs? They are often just "plant medicines," albeit ones that politicians dislike and have criminalized in order to punish their opponents and remove them from the voting rolls (as was the case with the fiercest drug warrior of all time, former President Richard Nixon).

And why is it morally good for me to avoid plant medicines? Those who think that I should do so are just asserting their Christian Science prejudice on this topic. There is nothing moral about avoiding mother nature's godsends, no matter how hard government tries to demonize them - especially when that same government wilfully overlooks the fact that 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to "kick" than heroin (source: Julie Holland).

Moreover, Karolina seems to assume that the only possible use of mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines is to get a cheap high, but that is just drug warrior propaganda. Freud used plenty of cocaine to keep alert. Benjamin Franklin used opium to increase productivity. Francis Crick used plenty of psychedelics to help him figure out the DNA helix. And the age-old Vedic religion was founded to worship the psychedelic insights provided by a plant-based medicine known as soma.

Liberals don't realize that 'drugs' is a pejorative term for 'mother nature's plant medicine' and that the drug war is therefore Christian Science Sharia

It is therefore simply Christian Science indoctrination for adults to tell kids that plant medicines have nothing to offer them as adults. The government can force us to say that to kids, but that's not science at work, it's politics - politics inspired by a Christian Science contempt for the value of mother nature's plant medicines. If we're going to warn kids about psychoactive snares, we should be telling them about the great antidepressant addiction of our time - but we are hypocritically silent about that, and ignore it completely, while yet criminalizing mother nature's bounty.

I appreciate that Karolina dislikes harsh drug laws, but I think she could do more to attack them if she realized that the word "drugs" is often just a pejorative political term for "mother nature's plants."

Why should we recognize that? Because Donald Trump is getting ready to start executing folks for selling "drugs." The best way to stop him is to point out that they're not selling drugs: in many cases they're simply selling "mother nature's plant medicines" - albeit the ones that politicians have decided to criminalize, usually for cynical political motives.

What Liberals ALWAYS get wrong about the drug war (permalink)

June 24, 2020

'Good Chemistry' is a good Covid read

Though the author is showing symptoms of the Drug War Virus

The lies of the drug war have biased almost every author who writes on the subject. I have yet to read one single pundit on this topic (with the notable exception of the much maligned Thomas Szasz) who, in my view, has not been duped into believing at least one major drug warrior lie, no matter how reasonable the rest of their argumentation may seem when it comes to castigating the many sins of the so-called drug war. One drug war lie that the leftists always seem to "swallow whole" is the idea that there is this bad thing out there called "drugs" which must be stopped, since these substances are only used by psychologically flawed people as crutches. This is certainly the tone that Julie Holland strikes in the opening to her new book entitled "Good Chemistry: the science of connection from soul to psychedelics," though she obviously does not class psychedelics as drugs in this strictly negative sense.

Holland points out, correctly enough, that human beings are obliged to be gregarious by their very nature. But she then proceeds to imply that people who use these, quote unquote, "drugs" are simply trying to get the "high" that comes from social interaction without actually interacting, thereby avoiding real life and the full emotions that it can bring.

Now, don't get me wrong: there are many people who commit the mistake highlighted by Holland, especially when we class excessive cell phone use as a kind of "drug abuse," as the author does.

Holland's mistake is to suggest that this is the only possible use of these substances that we call "drugs." The author would certainly agree that cell phones can be used responsibly, but she implies that there is a class of drugs whose use is prima facie evidence of pathology. This is plain wrong. Gabor Mate makes the same mistake. In this way, both of these authors turn one particular problem into "the" problem par excellence, thereby confirming the drug warrior's superstitious creation of a bugaboo known as "drugs" that is all-powerful in creating suffering and mischief - meanwhile jettisoning the previous scientific understanding that good and bad must be attributed to people, not to substances.

Sigmund Freud relied heavily on cocaine to help him achieve self-actualization, both by publishing prolifically and interacting regularly with the folks around him. To imply therefore that cocaine use and responsible living are somehow mutually exclusive is just a drug warrior lie, one to which leftists frequently succumb in their unthinking desire to pathologize all human behavior and thus render it amenable to their professional medical ministrations.

Benjamin Franklin was a regular user of opium, but no one ever suspected that socialite par excellence of attempting to avoid social encounters. Franklin's use of opium seems particularly odd to drug war Americans, who diligently censor that use from Franklin's bio, because they have forgotten that there was a time when Americans still judged people by how they actually behaved, rather than by the substances that they may or may not have had in their bloodstream.

It is really just a kind of Christian Science slander to say that certain of mother nature's substances can be evil without regard for the way that they are used, or else to imply that such substances can only be used in one way, and that is irresponsibly. This lying drug warrior mentality reached its apotheosis in the 1980s with the highly mendacious ad claiming that "drugs" fry your brain, an anti-nature piece of propaganda that is actually the opposite of the truth in the case of most so-called "drugs." Cocaine sharpened Freud's brain, it did not fry it. Opium increased Benjamin Franklin's creativity, it did not dull it. Richard Feynman kept alert with what the drug warrior might today deride as "speed," but today he is considered the very type of genius, not some druggie who "wasted his talents," as the drug warrior likes to say in moralizing about those Americans who dare to use substances of which politicians do not approve.

Both the left and the right have fallen for the drug war lie that certain plant medicines can only be regarded as "crutches." This idea can be maintained only by purposefully ignoring the facts. I'm not just talking about the fact that great people in history "used drugs," but that whole religions were founded based on the worship of psychoactive plants and the insights that they provided. The Vedic religion was founded in order to worship the highly psychoactive natural medicine known as soma. The Eleusinian mysteries involved the use of psychoactive medicine and inspired such Western luminaries as Plato and Aristotle. The MesoAmericans claimed great insights from the ritual use of plant medicines prior to the devastating arrival of the Conquistadors (who, unlike today's disingenuous drug warrior, made no secret of their contempt for what they considered quite literally to be devil plants and fungi). The idea, therefore, that most psychoactive substances are "crutches" is merely a provincial bias of American authors, authors who have been duped into thinking that America's peculiar and socially determined attitudes toward drugs tells us something about the drugs themselves, when all they tell us about is American society in the time that it is under observation.

That's the problem with the drug war, in general: it leads us to ignore pathological social arrangements when diagnosing problems and to focus instead on the one-size-fits-all cause known as "drugs". Thus social arrangements never get fixed - cities lie forever in disrepair and children fail to get properly educated -- much to the glee of conservatives and to the consternation of liberals.

The fact is that there is no such thing as "drugs," as defined by the drug warrior, just as there were never any "devil plants" in MesoAmerica, despite the Conquistadors religious belief to the contrary. There are no plant medicines that are bad in and of themselves, without regard for the way that they are used: by whom, and when, under what circumstances, for what reasons, etc.

When authors imply otherwise, they pave the way for despots and officious do-gooders to punish Americans, not based on how they actually behave, but on what plant medicines they choose to use, thereby violating the natural law upon which America was founded and simultaneously establishing Christian Science as the state religion, insomuch as the theology of that sect insists that its votaries use prayer rather than "drugs" to combat whatever ails them.

Unfortunately, Julie Holland ignores this despotism in the opening of her new book by falsely claiming that a whole raft of psychoactive drugs were criminalized in the early 1970s because they were being misused by young people. That's just plain wrong. Richard Nixon criminalized those drugs in order to destroy his enemies, period, full stop. That's why the drug war did not simply educate or remonstrate with substance abusers, as it would surely have done if it was interested in public health: it removed those "abusers" from the voting rolls by charging them with a felony. The antics of the anti-war Flower Children were just an excuse for this vicious and anti-scientific crackdown on so many therapeutic godsends of mother nature. Had Nixon cared about the country's health, he would have launched a war on tobacco and alcohol, two drugs which kill thousands every year-- unlike the so-called epidemic of drug abuse in the late 1960s and early 70s, which injured very few but committed the much greater sin of unnerving the political establishment.

The evidence is clear: the term "drugs" is a political term, designed to cast infamy on plant medicines of which politicians disapprove, often for sinister strategic reasons, as in the case of Richard Nixon. So we're bound to go wrong when we write books in which we imply that these evil "drug" substances really exist, just waiting to snare the unwary American -- especially when we claim that these thoroughly evil bugaboos exist as an evil category in contradistinction to a group of emphatically blessed substances known as "medicines," meaning drugs from big pharma that we're obliged to take daily for a lifetime if we're good Americans and obedient patients: substances which are somehow immune from the moral censure of the drug warrior. It's this make-believe distinction between evil drugs and blessed medicines that dupes today's drug warrior (and indeed the vast majority of the American population) into totally ignoring the great American addiction crisis of our time: the fact that 1 in 8 American men and 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants.

To do her credit, this is one drug war injustice of which Julie Holland is clearly aware, as revealed by her discussion on this topic with Dr. Richard Louis Miller in the book "Psychedelic Medicine." That's why I purchased "Good Chemistry" in the first place, because the former book had revealed Julie Holland to be one of the rare psychiatrists who had both acknowledged and denounced the addictive status quo of her profession. I'm still hoping that the author's new book will provide useful insights on how the psychiatric pill-mill can be shut down and replaced with psychedelic therapy, even though her opening pages, in my opinion, doffed one too many hats in the direction of drug warrior sensibilities and presumptions. Still, as Julie herself acknowledges, psychedelic therapy seems to be on the way in America now, even sooner than later, which is not only fantastic, but amazing considering the extent to which the drug warrior virus has spread across America, causing muddled thinking everywhere it goes.

'Good Chemistry' is a good Covid read (permalink)

June 23, 2020

There are no such things as drugs

the post that got me banned for life from the DRUGS subReddit

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This post got me banished for life from the Drugs Sub Reddit. Apparently even those who oppose the drug war have been snookered into believing in "drugs" as an objective term, when it's really just a political pejorative for substances that politicians have chosen to demonize, often for strategic political reasons. This is unfortunate, because by calling substances "drugs," demagogues like Donald Trump can call for the execution of those who sell them -- whereas if we referred to "drugs" more honestly as "plant medicines from Mother Nature," the callousness of Trump's proposal would be obvious to us all. (I've actually received feedback from this post claiming that "drugs" is "already a neutral term." Well, yes, it should be, but it certainly is not in drug war USA.)

There are no such things as "drugs," the way that the drug warrior defines that term. There are no substances that are bad in and of themselves. There are only morally neutral substances: substances that can be used for good or bad purposes, at good or bad times, in good or bad doses, by good or bad people. That's why the whole crackdown on "drugs" is madness. It's not just that the drug war is wrong, but that it represents a whole wrong way of looking at the world, where we see evil in a substance by itself without regard for the way that the substance is actually used by any given human being. It's a way of thinking that Thomas Jefferson would not have even understood. If someone were to have told him that some of his garden plants were somehow criminal by nature, he would have considered that person to be a fool. And the idea that you could stomp onto his property in jackboots and confiscate such plants (as the DEA did in 1987) would have struck him as common law tyranny, blatantly at odds with the natural law upon which Jefferson himself had founded the American republic.

The word "drugs" as used today is a linguistic red herring invented by bigots and politicians so that they can crack down on their enemies without appearing to be bigoted when doing so. Under the banner of fighting this custom-made bugaboo of evil "drugs," politicians can throw their opponents in jail for mere possession of plant medicines while claiming to be fighting for public health and safety while they do so. That's nonsense, of course, because most full-time drug warriors are vehemently opposed to a so-called nanny state and vote down any efforts on the part of government to enforce public health through laws. Their interest in public health only arises when there are political opponents who require silencing. Then public health suddenly becomes priority number one for them (the government can never spend enough money on it, buying guns and building prisons) since a healthy populace, in the drug warrior's mind, is one in which their political enemies are no longer free to walk the streets. The answer: criminalize the plant medicines that are popular among the despised populations that you wish to disempower and (if possible) remove that population from the voting rolls entirely (by charging them with felonies under your new seemingly disinterested law against "drug abuse").

Thus the war on opium originally targeted the Chinese, the war on cocaine originally targeted Blacks, and the war on marijuana originally targeted Hispanics.

Of course, if this superstitious belief in the existence of evil substances known as "drugs" was held only by the right, there would probably be no drug war. But the left also finds the pejorative "drugs" label useful as well, not because they want to punish drug users but because they want to treat them, chiefly by bringing the whole vast medical establishment into the picture and giving them a cut of the "drugs" pie. But both the left and right are coming from the same place, philosophically speaking: they both assume that there must be something wrong with a person who uses plant medicines of which the government disapproves. The left wants to "help" those people, the right wants to "punish" them. But it never occurred to either side that there was no problem in the first place: or rather that there are many "drug-related" problems, but they are all actually caused either by the drug war itself, or by a combination of that drug war and bad social policies.

Why is the drug user's drug supply uncertain both as to quality and quantity?

Because of the drug war: it works tirelessly to disrupt such merchandise both as to quality and quantity.

Why is the drug user limited to purchasing only a small fraction of the vast psychoactive pharmacopoeia of mother nature's godsends, often including synthesized substances that are far more addictive than what nature has to offer?

Because of the drug war: its prohibitions create a profit motive that incentivizes the sale of highly addictive substances.

Why does the user lack statistical information about the actual observed results of psychoactive substance use, knowledge whereby he or she could choose wisely?

Because of the drug war: it produces lying propaganda stating falsely that all drugs fry the brain. Such whole-sale demonization of nature's plant medicines leaves the user with no objective information with which to choose the substance of their choice, thereby increasing the likelihood that they'll choose unwisely.

Why do some folks get addicted?

Because of the drug war: the profit motive that it creates ensures that dealers will be selling highly addictive synthesized versions of mother nature's psychoactive plant medicines. Meanwhile, many less addictive (and totally non-addictive) plant medicines are unavailable because the research-quashing drug war ensures that most people will never even hear of them, let alone get a chance to use them to improve their life, spiritually and emotionally.

Why is addiction treatment in America barbaric, consisting of three days of cold turkey on a cot, followed by monthly doses of Naltrexone, all for a price tag of around $3,000?

Because of the drug war: it outlaws all psychoactive drugs (especially psychedelics) that can be used to change attitudes and thus make withdrawal easier.

Why is the great addiction of our time completely ignored by the drug warrior (i.e., the fact that 1 in 8 American men are addicted to antidepressants and 1 in 4 American women)?

Because of the drug war: In addition to demonizing illegal "drugs," the drug war also canonizes legal "medicines," so much so that those latter substances can do all the damage in the world yet we're completely blind to it.

Why are there vast empires selling drugs and fomenting violence in countries around the world? Why have America's inner cities been turned into shooting galleries?

Because of the drug war: prohibition causes violence from the dueling profit-seekers that it empowers. It's a lesson that we should have learned from liquor prohibition but that politicians decided to ignore when they realized how they could turn the drug war to their political advantage by using it to disempower their enemies.

Why do formerly freedom loving Americans now believe that extrajudicial murder and torture is good public policy, at least when it comes to fighting "drugs"?

Because of the drug war and the drug war propaganda films put out by Hollywood, which turn torturers and murderers into American Heroes. Example: the movie "Running with the DEA" from 2019, in which Natalie Reyes plays a DEA agent who tortures one drug suspect and shoots another at point-blank range. Why? Because they had the nerve to sell mother nature's plant medicine, the coca leaf, which had been used responsibly by non-western cultures for millennia. As if to rub our freedom-loving noses in the injustice, Natalie Reyes is hypocritically smoking tobacco while she shoots the movie's plant-selling "bad guy." In fact, she does all but hold up a banner saying: "This has nothing to do with health and safety: this is all about raw power."

But what can we expect when America launches a drug war based on the false and superstitious notion that there are such things as "bad substances," i.e. "drugs"?

For psychoactive substances are just as morally neutral as any rock or tree. If we are looking for good and evil, we have to start talking about human behavior, and that includes the human-guided social policies that lead to bad outcomes. But this is exactly why the drug war hangs on like an unwelcome guest: because politicians know that once the whipping boy of "drug abuse" is taken from them, they will have to actually address the vast inequities in American society that lead to misbehavior. They'll have to stop punishing the pre-crime of drug use and start dealing with bad behavior only. Bigots and overzealous do-gooders both prefer to believe in "evil drugs" because it gives them a mission: one to punish and one to rescue. But if they really wanted to help Americans and advance the cause of freedom, they would give up on their superstitious belief in evil substances and stop demonizing this thing they call "drugs."

Of course what politicians really mean when they use the word "drugs" is: "psychoactive plant medicines of which politicians disapprove." But they'll never use that language, because to do so would reveal the hidden Christian Science assumptions of America's drug war, according to which there's something metaphysically wrong about using plant medicine to alter, adjust and improve cognition. That, however, is a religious point of view, not a scientific one, and should not inform public policy, let alone become the law of the land, as it has ever since the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, when the US government first took the fateful step of criminalizing a mere plant. Since then, the drug war has stood in stark contravention of at least two of the basic tenets upon which America was founded: the supremacy of natural law over common law and the separation of church and state as called for in our Bill of Rights.

Drug War Jeopardy! And the answer is... abolish the DEA!

There are no such things as drugs (permalink)

June 21, 2020

Defund the DEA

in response to a black DEA agent's complaints about agency bias

Defund the DEA, stop the war on plant medicine launched against blacks by the police
Why are black agents in the DEA in the first place? The DEA was founded by a racist politician in the early '70s, at which time it popularized the notion of treating drug suspects like dirt. Suddenly suspects were openly referred to by the police as "scumbags," as any fans of old-school cop shows can attest. And why? Because they were simply selling the natural plants that politicians had criminalized in order to punish members of their political opposition. In fact the entire drug war began as a racist attempt to punish the Chinese, with whom American bigots associated the use of opium.

Although Floyd was not detained for a drug violation, his assailants actually joked about the drug war during the murder, taunting the onlookers with the hackneyed phrase: "Just say no to drugs." In other words, the officers were taking full advantage of the drug warrior tendency to dehumanize and mock minorities, even in cases that had nothing to do with illegal substances. The officers knew that, from their own point of view, the drug war was nothing but a good excuse to beat up on non-whites, especially those who did not reverence and fear the police in the way that a slave feared a harsh task master in slavery days.

The solution to this systemic disregard for human life is not to abolish the police, we need to abolish the DEA and everything that it stands for: like bullying and incarcerating minorities, blocking drug research, lying about psychoactive plants, and outlawing mother nature's medicines that are the birth right of all human beings. We should then hold the DEA responsible for past outrages as well. How many Americans know that DEA Chief John C Lawn poisoned Americans in the 1980s by spraying marijuana plants with Paraquat, a weed killer that has since been found to cause Parkinson's Disease? If we're in a war on drugs, then Lawn is a war criminal -- one who used chemical weapons on his own people. Yet he's still feted today by that corrupt agency.

It's a mystery to me, therefore, why blacks - or freedom-loving members of any other racial group - would want to work for this thoroughly corrupt agency, one that is responsible for turning inner cities into shooting galleries, thanks to the violence that naturally arises when one criminalizes mother nature's plant medicine.

For the drug war is merely Christian Science Sharia, a religious war against those who dare attempt to heal or improve themselves, psychologically speaking, with the help of mother nature's medicines. It is thus doubly unconstitutional, first because it represents the de facto establishment of a religion, and second because it was a violation of natural law to criminalize mother nature's bounty in the first place, since John Locke himself declared that the citizen of a free republic has "the right to the use of the land and all that lies therein." There's no doubt therefore that the garden-loving Thomas Jefferson flipped in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in jackboots in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants.

Meanwhile millions go without psychoactive godsends because the DEA blatantly LIES about mother nature's plants. saying (in the teeth of reams of evidence to the contrary) that they have no potential therapeutic uses whatsoever. Blatant lies -- that no one in Congress has yet had the guts to "call them" on. Of course, the drug war does have its fans, however: starting with Russian President Putin, whose own drug czar is a former dealer who is currently in charge of making sure that drug dealers in Russia keep paying off the right people in order to keep the government looking the other way. Donald Trump himself is now eager to use the drug war as an excuse to murder minorities - for the "dastardly" crime of selling plant medicine, that is - plant medicine that the government had no right to outlaw in the first place.

All this while America is the MOST ADDICTED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD -- not because of opium, not because of cocaine, not because of psychedelics -- but because of Big Pharma antidepressants. ONE IN FOUR AMERICAN WOMEN are addicted to SSRIs, some of which are harder to quit than heroin because they screw around with the brain chemistry that they falsely purport to "fix."

Why this addiction? Because the DEA lies about all psychoactive plant medicines and makes it almost impossible to study them, let alone to use them - forcing the suffering to rely instead on a handful of highly addictive and expensive pharmaceuticals, which sent Big Pharma profits soaring from $80 million a year to over $40 billion a year in just a few decades.

Again, I ask, why would any freedom-loving American want to work for this corrupt organization known as the DEA - as opposed to doing everything they can to abolish it, root and branch?

Look at "Running with the Devil" - the 2019 drug-war propaganda movie in which DEA agent Natalie Reyes TORTURES her suspects -- and she's the HERO of the film, as far as the script writers were concerned. And she SHOOTS the bad guy (Nicolas Cage) in cold blood and why?... for selling the coca plant - a rainforest medicine which has been used responsibly by non-Western cultures for millennia. AND SHE'S SMOKING A CIGARETTE while she shoots him. WHAT HYPOCRISY - proving once again that America's drug war has nothing whatsoever to do with the nation's health; it's all about enforcing a Christian Science Sharia in which alcohol and Big Pharma antidepressants are given undeserved monopolies when it comes to "curing what ails ya."

You may say "It's only a movie," but I've never heard the DEA denounce it. If Donald Trump watched the flick, he was certainly cheering on Natalie when she got on her hypocritical high horse and shot her suspect point-blank through the foggy mist of toxic tobacco smoke that she was continually exhaling.

Is this really an agency that blacks -- or anybody who values American freedom -- should work for?

Not to mention the DEA's colonialist outrage of going overseas to supposedly sovereign countries in order to burn the poppy plant -- another plant that has been used responsibly for millennia by other cultures. They say we're going overseas to stop addiction at home. But under that logic, Muslims should be allowed to enter the States for the purpose of burning grape vines. (Make no mistake: the drug warrior is going overseas to extend Big Liquor's monopoly throughout the world, thus making alcohol the Christian Science go-to drug for the entire globe. Besides, it gives the US military a foothold in countries that we may need to overthrow if they start displaying symptoms of Socialism Praecox, or threaten to impede access to oil supplies.)

The DEA doesn't really mind being called "biased." That's something that they can at least pretend to fix without losing their central mission of enforcing Drug War Sharia. So if the DEA's black agents really want to bring about change, they will denounce the DEA root and branch, first and foremost by pointing out, loudly and clearly, that the DEA's drug war actually causes all of the violence that it purports to be fighting! In short, the DEA's drug war is simply a make-work program for law enforcement.

The answer therefore is to abolish the DEA, not the police.

There is precedent for this. The Israelis recently abolished their own drug agency. It's time for America to do the same.

Drug War Jeopardy! And the answer is... abolish the DEA!

Defund the DEA (permalink)

June 10, 2020

Why the Drug War is a Godsend for Conservatives

The Drug War is a godsend for conservatives. Whenever social policy results in disenfranchisement and anger in leftist and liberal quarters, conservatives can completely ignore a frank discussion of the policies that caused it by focusing instead on the illicit substance use to which the despair in question naturally gave rise. Does a failure to focus on childhood education result in semi-literate adult populations with no respect for human life? No problem. Conservatives merely focus their attention on the problematic substance use that resulted from that same abnegation of government responsibility. By thus framing the public debate in terms of substance abuse, conservatives not only avoid having to discuss the topic of equitable social arrangements, but they can blame the downsides of their selfish social policies on the victims of that policy themselves.

Why the Drug War is a Godsend for Conservatives (permalink)

June 4, 2020

The Racist Drug War killed George Floyd

One of the cops on the scene for the George Floyd murder actually had the sick sense of humor to tell the onlookers to "just say no to drugs." That's a very telling comment, because it is the drug war that first made it acceptable in America for the police to treat suspects like dirt. Just watch any cop show or movie about the drug war: the good guys are those who call the bad guys scumbags, rough them up, kick down their front door, stomp through their house like the proverbial bull in a china shop, and do everything that they can to violate their constitutional rights. Why? Because the drug war mentality tells them that it's all right to be as evil as they want to be whenever they're dealing with suspects who dare to sell mother nature's plant medicines to their fellow earthlings.

Of course, the George Floyd killing itself had nothing to do with so-called drugs, but the contempt that the officers showed for human life is precisely the kind of behavior that Americans celebrate every time they watch a cop show or a movie about the drug war. This is because drug warriors have convinced us to forget about human rights when fighting so-called drugs. It's little surprise therefore that racist police officers embrace that sick attitude toward suspects even in cases that have nothing to do with drugs.

LETTER TO Virginia Senator TIM KAINE about the murder of George Floyd by racist police officers.

Politicians need to show the link between the Drug War and George Floyd's murder. One of the accomplices taunted the crowd by saying, "Just say no to drugs." That is no coincidence, Senator. It is the Drug War that first empowered police to treat suspects like scumbags. The Drug War mentality says that all extreme measures are welcome when fighting those who trade in mother nature's plant medicines. Americans actually celebrate and "cheer on" this behavior in cop shows and drug war movies (like "Running with the Devil," in which the DEA agent freely tortures and murders drug suspects -- and yet she is the HEROINE of the film!!!)

Though the murder of George Floyd was not connected with "drugs," it was made possible by the callous attitude that cops have been taught to adopt when dealing with drug suspects. It's no surprise that racist cops would feel free to adopt that same callous attitude, drugs or no drugs, when they're dealing with suspects from racial groups that they have learned to dislike.


The Drug War taught cops to treat suspects like scumbags. No wonder that one of the accomplices in George Floyd's murder taunted the crowd by saying: 'just say no to drugs'.

The Racist Drug War killed George Floyd (permalink)

May 31, 2020

Drug War Copaganda

How cop shows reinforce drug warrior lies about Mother Nature's plants

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
EMCEE: Live from the DEA Lounge, let's give it up for comedian Johnny O'Clonnapan, brought to you tonight by Paraquat, the only weed killer recommended by America's DEA.


JOHNNY: Before I start to be funny, my lawyer has asked me to read the following FDA warning. Ahem. And I quote.

"The FDA played a randomly chosen comedy routine of mine to 2,000 lab rats and discovered that every 92nd one of them blew a gasket during the funniest parts of my material."

Personally, I think that study was flawed. First of all, how do we know for sure that my audience has the same comedic predilections as the species Rattus rattus? Be that as it may, we have replacement gaskets available at the bar tonight, just in case, for just $2 apiece, with any qualified purchase of a house cocktail worth $9 or more.

So, gaskets in the full upright position, folks. I'm about to unload.


With my humor that is.


You ever stop to wonder what television would have been like over the last 50 years if America hadn't gotten the harebrained idea of criminalizing plants? Cop shows would not exist. I kid you not. All the violence that fuels the cop show plots would be gone. What a bummer for the police. Then they could only arrest people for actual bad behavior instead of for the pre-crime of possessing plants that had been demonized by politicians.

Cops would be like: "Damn, we've just got to sit on the sidelines now and let people go about their lives as they see fit. This is no fun."

How many Drug Warriors do we have in the house? Let me see a show of dunce caps.



I mean hands. Let me see a show of hands.

You drug warriors are lucky. You've got so much working for you, propaganda-wise. Seriously. Almost every single cop show is free drug war propaganda.


Almost every single cop show is free drug war propaganda.

Think about it.

Have you finished thinking? Oh, I'm sorry.

There are several drug warriors in the back there who still haven't quite wrapped their brains around it. That's okay. No hurry. Keep thinking about it, guys.


Be nice, folks. I'm sure the drug warriors are doing their best.

When have you ever seen a debonair genius like Sigmund Freud, casually employing coke on a cop show to render themselves prolific, and thus achieve self-fulfillment in life?

Never. That's when.


That would violate drug war superstition, which says that criminalized plants can cause nothing but evil.

You only ever see coke used by greedy Wall Street prodigies and morally rudderless young people, at stag parties and the like. As for the coke itself, it generally appears in a small white mountain on a card table in a dimly lit room, alongside a pile of bloodstained money, a razor blade, and a recently fired handgun.

And the dimwit viewers are all like:

"Oh, isn't cocaine just terrible? Honestly. The bullets, the blood and the razor blades! Oh my!"

And I'm like: Hello, folks. The bullets, the blood and the razor blades (Oh my!) didn't arrive on the scene until we criminalized cocaine and thereby placed its distribution in the hands of the underworld.

Boy, I'm glad I'm not a mean person, or else I would be seriously tempted to refer to drug warriors as idiots, I mean just utter morons who have about as much philosophy in their brain pans as I have in my little toe... let's say the one on my left foot for the sake of argument.

But I'm better than that, folks. There's nothing to be gained by trashing drug warriors personally, no matter how stupid their arguments might be in favor of criminalizing God-given plants - plants which God himself said were "good," in the Book of Genesis no less.


Yes, there's no point in calling such people morons, that's for sure. Is it tempting to do so? Yes, of course it is.

But I wasn't raised that way, folks. I just wasn't raised that way.


Speaking of TV cop shows, how many fans do we have of "The Republic of Doyle" here tonight? You know, that show about the family of Irish private detectives up there in Newfoundland of all places.

I just watched an episode in which Jake was getting all self-righteous about his niece Tinny's involvement in selling some marijuana plants. Jake was like,

"I expected more from you Tinny. Tsk tsk tsk."

And of course Tinny bows her head, knowing that she has committed heresy against the Great Western religion of Christian Science when it comes to mood disorders.

[Tinny sobbing]

Of course, in the next scene, Jake is in a bar, hypocritically throwing back a brewski, with which he has no moral problems whatsoever.

[burps] "Jake, please!"


Then there's another episode where Jake self-righteously tells a drug researcher that he (Jake) is not "into" drugs.

Would somebody please tell Jake that the word "drugs" is just a code word for "mother nature's plant medicines," and he should therefore stop preening his feathers, insisting that he wants nothing to do with them. That's just plain stupid: God gives us this wonderful pharmacopoeia that's full of psychoactive plants that can help us screw our heads on straight, and the ungrateful Jake says he wants nothing to do with them.

I sincerely hope that 50 years from now, when Jake is in an old people's home and feeling blue, that his Canadian caregivers will be allowed to provide him with psychedelic plants that will help him make his peace with death and rejoice once again in the wonder and the mystery of existence.


Hopefully by that time, Jake will no longer be talking about: "I'm not into drugs."

I tell you, if I were God and I heard that, I would take it personally. I can hear God right now.

[gong sounds]

"Here I make all these wonderful medications for you that, when used wisely, can be godsends, and you tell me that you're not 'into' them? I mean, Earth to Jake: that's what some of us would call base ingratitude on your part."

How about that? God has a British accent. Who knew?


Before I go, I'd like to remind you all to pick up a bottle of Paraquat Weed Killer, located in the poison aisle of your local lawn and garden center. It's the only weed killer recommended by America's Drug Enforcement Agency. This is the exact same formula that the DEA used in the 1980s to poison pot users in the United States.


And talk about long-lasting, it's still working to this very day, causing Parkinson's Disease in the scofflaw Americans who unwittingly inhaled it four decades ago, courtesy of DEA Chief and Master Poisoner John C. Lawn.


Is John C. Lawn in the house? Why doesn't he stand up and take a bow? I'm sure that those pot users forgave him years ago for screwing up their lungs.

[dog snarls]


Although it would appear that the seeing-eye dog at table 5 still remembers the outrage like it was yesterday. I guess the details got passed down to him by some kind of oral tradition peculiar to the canine tribe.

[dog barks]

Besides, let's face it, the ones who survived are too disabled by Parkinson's Disease to think about vengeance.


What? They told me to plug Paraquat, and I plugged Paraquat.



Keep me in your prayers, folks. I'm going to get a proper tongue lashing from my agent the second that I get off this stage.

Oh, no, here she comes now!

[hysterical agent babbling]

I know, I know. Well, you're the one who told me to plug Paraquat.


EMCEE: You've been listening to Johnny O'Clonapan, live from the D E A Lounge.

Brought to you tonight by Paraquat, the only weed killer recommended by America's DEA, who reminds you to turn in your loved ones today if you discover them using any plants of which politicians disapprove. Together, we can all just say no to each and every one of Mother Nature's godsend mood medicines.

NARRATOR: For more information about America's bogus drug war, which is a violation of natural law and responsible for thousands of unnecessary deaths around the globe every year, visit AbolishTheDEA.com.

Drug War Copaganda (permalink)

May 30, 2020

So, Your Faith Votes?

Yes, and it also demonizes mother nature's plants and violates the natural law upon which America was founded

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
I recently received an e-mail from Gov Mike Huckabee, chairman of My Faith Votes, in which he lambasted "the nanny state" and asked me to help end it.

What hypocrisy! A man who is dedicated to a drug war that gives government the right to tell me which plants I can even touch, let alone use or research... and he's going to complain about the nanny state? Know-nothing politicians like Mike have created the most egregious nanny state in human history, one which, since 1914, has put Mother Nature's plants under the control of big government.

So I responded to Mike's request with the argument that follows, which surely would have been longer except for the fact that his website limited me to one full paragraph worth of dumbfounded indignation.

You outlaw mother nature's plants and call it a drug war -- plants that God said were "good" and gave to us in Genesis -- and yet you dislike a nanny state? Wake up, Mike! Since 1914, your government has violated the natural law that America was founded on by telling us what plants we can use and even research. Millions have died because of this war. Millions have gone without godsend plant medicines that can't even be researched. Meanwhile, the DEA has lied for four decades about Mother Nature's plants, thereby depriving the sad, lonely and shell-shocked hundreds of Godsend psychoactive substances that could have improved their lives. Stop complaining about a nanny state when you are responsible for the biggest nanny state in human history: a state that -- for the first time in history -- decides for its citizens which plants it can use and which it must avoid. Meanwhile, study up on your natural law. John Locke himself said that human beings have a right "to the use of the land and all that lies therein." Yet you demonize plant substances as "drugs" and ungratefully turn God into a drug kingpin with your hateful anti-patient and Christian Science demagoguery about mother nature's plants. Freud used cocaine to improve his mind, not to fry it. Benjamin Franklin used opium to increase his creativity. Francis Crick used psychedelics to help him discover the DNA helix. Drugs are neither good nor bad except for how they are used: They are medicines, not devil plants. It's your blatant hypocrisy on this subject that turns me off 100% from "MY FAITH VOTES." Because right now: YOUR FAITH creates a violent black market and blocks vital research on godsend medications.

Drug War Jeopardy! And the answer is... abolish the DEA!

So, Your Faith Votes? (permalink)

May 28, 2020

Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism

The post that got me banned for life from the Reddit Psychiatry group

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
This essay got me banned for life in the Reddit Psychiatry group. Here was my response to the cowardly anonymous moderators:

You guys are great: you addict me to your damn medicines and then ban me for life for complaining about it. Well, enjoy your "feel good" discussions about your profession, since you don't want to hear about the ways you're ruining lives and causing the biggest addiction crisis in world history -- completely off the radar of your pill-mill goldmine, bought and paid for by Big Pharma. Ah, you've got to love freedom of speech in the digital age.*

The decriminalization of drugs (or what I prefer to call the re-legalization of plants) must coincide with the de-medicalization of mood disorders. The current psychiatric system behaves under the patently absurd and scientistic illusion that every human being in the world is precisely the same when it comes to so-called illnesses like depression and anxiety, that there exists a sort of philosopher's stone in the realm of psychiatry, namely a psychiatric drug (or handful of drugs) that can cure every depressed person in the world, from a morose nonagenarian who is afraid of death to a home-coming queen who is upset about not "getting into Harvard."

And so our highly paid psychiatrists of today don three-piece suits and sit down pompously in front of elaborately hand-carved desks, only to perform a job that could be easily performed by any nurse intern. Their job today is simply to write prescription refills, after making a pro-forma check, using an insulting and outdated 10-question personality test, to "ensure" that the would-be recipient of the prescription is not contemplating suicide -- which is important to check, no doubt, since the refill procedure is so disempowering to the patient that they might well consider suicide as a way of protesting the infantilization to which they are being subjected every three to six months of their lives.

This robotic paradigm for treating "patients" has resulted in a catastrophe so great that Big Pharma and their pill-peddling psychiatrists refuse to even acknowledge it: the fact that 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are now addicted to modern antidepressants, many of which are harder to quit than heroin. This drugged-up dystopia might be at least partially excused if these medicines were found to truly end depression, but this is not the case. In fact, America is now the most depressed nation in the world in spite of this full-court press by Big Pharma to place the entire nation on their limited pharmacopoeia of highly addictive "meds."

All this in an age that claims to value "empowerment" above every other social goal. Yet what could be more disempowering than turning a depressed person into a patient for life, one who thus becomes a ward of the healthcare state and has to share his or her intimate feelings with a psychiatrist every three to six months of their life, all while paying dearly for doing so, both in time and money?

The alternative is clear: end the drug war and replace psychiatrists with pharmacologically savvy shamans, physicians who thus profit from the best medical practices in both the west and the east. Of course, this idea will seem radical to so-called "free" Americans, who have gotten used over the last 100 years to having politicians and bureaucrats decide which plant medicines can be used by whom, and when.

The drug warrior lie is that he or she is merely interested in protecting Drug Warrior Junior from evil drugs. But the effect of their legislation is to turn the average American into an addict while blocking the therapeutic use of thousands of natural godsend medicines. We all look back in shock at the way the Church impeded scientific activity in Galileo's day; but we have yet to be shocked by the way that the drug war impedes scientific activity in ours.

Why then do we not even THINK about replacing psychiatry with pharmacologically informed shamanism? It's obvious: The pill-peddling paradigm ensures that psychiatrists have high-paying jobs for a lifetime. Why? Because their patients MUST visit them every three to six months in order to get their socially approved "fixes" of Big Pharma medicine.

The frustrating thing from a philosopher's point of view is that America is closing its ears to these obvious truths, and shouting in effect: "I'm not LISTENING!!!" whenever someone raises these concerns (which, to be fair, however, happens rarely enough). American opinion on these subjects has been bought and paid for (like any other commodity) by Big Pharma through the psychiatric talking heads that they have financially suborned to spread cozy-sounding antidepressant mythology on Oprah et al.

And so we continue to treat psychiatric patients AS patients, second-rate and infantilized citizens who are forced to demonstrate their worthiness, every three to six months of their life, to receive yet another expensive prescription from an already expensive doctor.

This won't change for the better until materialists renounce their scientistic project to find a one-size-fits-all cure for depression, a project that would seem absurd on its face to any society not so infatuated with science that they have developed a Spock-like ineptness at recognizing the human side of such an enormously variegated topic. Of course, this change will also require that Drug Warrior Americans stop behaving like the Church of Galileo's time and begin allowing full scientific access to and therapeutic use of the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet, the flora to which we were all once granted access by dint of merely being human, until 1914 that is, when racist Drug Warriors first violated natural law by claiming that the government had the right to tell us which plants we could access and which we must ignore and shun on pain of arrest -- and even death, should we dare to share the plant medicines that our politicians have decided to withhold from us.

The change I'm talking about is the transformation of modern pill-pushing psychiatry into pharmacologically savvy shamanism. This is the way forward in behavioral therapy, at least for a free country that is determined to take the best from both eastern and western medical traditions. Such a transformation would be in the true interest of patients, and would even free them from being called patients in the first place, which is a disempowering designation after all. The therapy in view here would identify its votaries merely as human beings: human beings, who, like all of us, are looking to find their place in the world and gain a better understanding of the strange miraculous thing called life, and how not simply to cope with it but to thrive in it as well.

*My complaint may seem a trifle harsh, but you must remember, I wasn't slapped on any old-fashioned wrist: I was banished for life. Besides, I think that folks have to start being a little more upset about the status quo if they really want to get results in the real world. That certainly seems to be the lesson from the George Floyd murder. We should be blocking roads and occupying buildings over the way that government has usurped our natural-law right to mother nature's plants. Instead, most decriminalization advocates are cautiously mounting statistical challenges with the anemic goal of paring back the drug war here and there in order to "make it more just." Which is nonsense. If the government outlawed the freedom of the press, we wouldn't be seeking ways to make that law more just: we would be demanding that the law be repealed instantly: end of discussion. Neither should we roll over and play dead when the government takes away our right to access mother nature's plants, in clear violation of the natural law upon which America was founded.

Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism (permalink)

May 27, 2020

In Praise of Doctor Feelgood

Why psychiatry must become pharmacologically informed shamanism

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
What follows is a short sketch showing how truly effective psychiatric treatment could take place once Americans have jettisoned the ignorant mindset of the Drug Warrior.

Okay, everyone take a seat. Glad to see you guys. Now, let me describe how we're going to help you with your alcohol withdrawal. You see, a hundred years ago, back in 2020, psychiatry finally began to realize that the hardest thing about withdrawal is the bad feelings. I know what you're thinking: why did it take them so long to realize it? Well, they had realized this before, but their superstitions about treatment made it impossible for them to see the obvious answer to this. If someone's feeling horrible, you make them feel good. Am I right, or am I right?

Well, a hundred years ago, the Protestant Ethic almost demanded that alcohol withdrawal be difficult, such that the drug warrior actually felt that it was wrong to make a patient feel good. You could talk to your patient until the cows came home in a half-baked effort to cheer them up and give them courage, but if you proposed using a godsend plant medicine from Mother Nature to help them feel good, you were considered a quack or, worse yet, a "Doctor Feelgood," which was the "put-down" par excellence of the Drug Warriors back then. They never stopped to consider the crucial question: "What is actually wrong with being a Doctor Feelgood?"

You might say that it would have been wrong because such a doctor would addict their patients, but that's no argument. First of all, the default psychiatric treatments back in 2020 were as addictive as they could possibly be. Many of them were harder to quit than heroin. Doctors actually told veteran patients not to bother trying to kick SNRIs like Effexor, since the NIH had demonstrated that they had a 95% recidivism rate. Secondly, a Doctor Feelgood can so vary his ministrations to his patients as to ensure that they never become addicted to any one specific substance. So even if we grant that addiction is wrong, a substance-savvy doctor need never addict his patients to anything. Of course, this is all assuming that there is no drug war in place that will severely limit (at least as a practical matter) the pharmacopoeia to which this Doctor Feelgood of ours has access.

Fortunately, America has grown up over the last one hundred years and we now see that it's absurd and ungrateful to criminalize Mother Nature's plants and fungi (not to mention the fact that it's a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, as everyone has a right to what John Locke called "the earth and all that lies therein"). As a result, I as your humble doctor now have access to every psychoactive plant and fungi in the world. That means that I can now use this immense and varied pharmacopoeia strategically and with a view to keeping you strong in your renunciation of alcohol - while also providing you with plant-assisted insight into your relations with your fellow human being and the planet at large.

This program of weekly "altered states," if you will, will have two benefits for you: First the benefit of the insight and calm provided by each substance when it is used under the reverent and safe conditions that I will be putting into effect, with the help of my deep knowledge of the plants in question and the subtleties of their historically identified use.

But there is an important second benefit of the program, a kind of benefit that the psychiatry of the 2020s never even bothered to acknowledge: that is the value of the anticipation that these weekend sessions will generate. The reason for recidivism is not just that the withdrawal subject is feeling poorly, but rather that he or she is feeling poorly AND has no sense that these bad feelings will ever cease. That is the real hell of withdrawal, not the bad feelings themselves, but the lack of any believable prospect that things will ever get better.

You, however, will have the godsend blessing called anticipation, anticipation of an upcoming transcendent state. You will have the knowledge that you need only hold out until the weekend, at which point you will be allowed to escape from yourself. Not only that, but this escape will often help you find valuable insights about yourself and the world, which will, in turn, help you better cope with the problems that you encounter on the weekdays during the withdrawal process.

For you see, we're not going to meet here on the weekend "to get high," as the Drug Warrior would love to call it. We are going to meet here to transcend ourselves and see higher truth and relax... in such a way that we become open to self-criticism and insight about our place in the world. People who are feeling horrible have fogged minds and can get no insight. But we are not Protestant Drug Warriors who insist on you feeling poorly. We want to help you transcend your own limits for a few hours each week, and in a guided fashion that will conduce to greater understanding on your part about where you are at in the world - and where you need to go from here.

There you have it, the kind of therapy that would suggest itself to thoughtful doctors immediately, were they not living under the spell of the drug war, which urges us to self-censor our therapeutic hopes at every turn, dismissing all options that attempt to leverage the incredible latent power of Mother Nature's entheogenic plant medicines - for we "know" that drugs (i.e. plant medicines) are somehow bad while Big Pharma "medicines" are officially good. Only when we renounce that drug warrior dogma (and the anti-patient drug laws that it claims to justify) can we let psychotherapy become the pharmacologically savvy shamanism that it needs to become if we are to place the interests of the patient above those of the money-driven status quo.

In Praise of Doctor Feelgood (permalink)

May 26, 2020

Drug Warrior Lies on the Internet Movie Database

Drug War propaganda in the movie summary for The Other Side of the Mirror

Drug War morality ignores the real drug epidemic: 1 in 4 American females addicted to Big Pharma meds
It's interesting how Drug War propaganda shows up in places you least expect it. Check out this summary of the movie "The Other Side of the Mirror" on the Internet Movie Database:

In 1905, amidst the largest drug epidemic in American history, a teenage Alice has just moved to the Pacific Northwest. She follows a mysterious man down a rabbit hole, leading her into Wonderland; a dark and curious world inhabited by characters from turn-of-the-century America and the Pacific Northwest. - Anonymous

Here's my response to Anonymous, which I sent to IMDB in the hopes that they will expunge the Drug War propaganda from the movie description:

The anonymous reviewer says "In 1905, during America's largest drug epidemic..." That is Drug War propaganda. There wasn't a drug epidemic in 1905, except in the minds of racists, who associated opium use with the Chinese, marijuana use with Mexicans, and cocaine use with blacks. America's largest drug epidemic is RIGHT NOW, when 1 in 8 American males, and 1 in 4 American females, are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to kick than heroin (SOURCE: Psychiatrist-author Julie Holland). Moreover, this addiction was caused by the Drug War itself (which began in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Act) and its criminalization of far less addictive therapeutic godsends from Mother Nature.

Drug Warrior Lies on the Internet Movie Database (permalink)

May 25, 2020

End the Drug War Now

an open letter to American Senators in Washington, D.C.

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
The following is an open letter to American Senators in the US Congress.

Dear Senator:

I am a 61-year-old depression sufferer from Basye, Virginia, and I have been a victim of America's Drug War my entire life. This is because the Drug War has resulted in the outlawing of thousands of psychoactive plants that could have worked wonders in my life had they been available for me to use, particularly with the help of an empathic counselor with the know-how to use such natural medicines in the safest and most efficacious manner. Instead, thanks to the DEA's anti-scientific and self-serving "scheduling" system, the mere research of these plants has been all but impossible over the last four decades. The result: I have been forced, along with millions of sufferers like myself around the globe, to treat my depression with a handful of Big Pharma meds that have proven highly addictive and are often harder to quit than heroin. Even as I type this, 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to modern antidepressants.

This is a scandal and an outrage that would only be possible in a Drug Warrior country that has anti-scientifically concluded that Mother Nature's plant medicines are to be avoided at all costs, even if it means turning said country into the most addicted nation on Earth.

For reasons such as these, I urge you to abandon America's war on Mother Nature's plants (which we disingenuously refer to as a "drug war") and let freedom ring, so that researchers may freely investigate Mother Nature's bounty and those who are suffering can receive the plant medicine that should be their birthright merely for having been born on planet Earth.

Permit me to highlight just a few of the many reasons why the Drug War (the war on plants) must end, at least if America really considers itself to be a free country, and one that is open to unfettered scientific investigation.

1) The drug war is a violation of natural law. It seeks to deprive human beings of their birthright: namely, the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet. Please recall that the United States was founded on the notion of natural law, according to which human beings have rights upon which the government cannot justifiably encroach, and surely there is no more self-evident right than our right to the flora and fauna that grow unbidden around us. As natural-law advocate John Locke pointed out: We have the right to "the use of the land and to all that lies therein." Certainly, Thomas Jefferson would have been outraged to have the government tell him that there are plants that he cannot grow. We all know that Jefferson was spinning in his grave when the DEA stomped onto his estate in jackboots in the 1980s and confiscated his poppy plants. What a tyrannical and brazen-faced attack on the very notion of natural law, perpetrated against a president who gave those tyrant DEA agents the very rights that they were now trampling into dust, as if determined to show their utter disdain for the core principles upon which America was founded.

2) The Drug War (the war on plants) has introduced so much violence into the world that it is responsible for a whole movie genre worth of bloodshed. At least half of the TV cop shows of the last 50 years would not have been possible were it not for the bloodshed that the Drug War introduced into American life. Where was all this violence before 1914, before American politicians decided to punish minorities by outlawing what they perceived to be their drug of choice? Answer: there was no massive amount of drug-related violence until Americans decided to punish the sort of "pre-crime" of drug possession - rather than punishing the way that people actually behaved. The ever-rising death count of the last 50 years is the result of the drug war, not of drugs.

3) The DEA has an ENORMOUS conflict of interest built into their very charter. They have been charged both with punishing drug crimes and with deciding which drugs should be criminalized and to what extent. As a result, it is in their vested interest to keep as many substances as criminalized as possible. And they freely act on that interest. They have thus lied about psychedelics for the past four decades, insisting they have no therapeutic value, despite reams of evidence to the contrary. (To the extent that scientific evidence is limited on this point, it's only because the DEA has made it almost impossible to study psychedelics, even scientifically.) Thus, while Americans are giving their lives overseas in America's military, the DEA bureaucrats are holding onto their jobs in the States by criminalizing MDMA against the advice of their own counsel, thus denying war-scarred soldiers a highly promising treatment for PTSD.

4) The DEA poisons Americans. DEA Chief John Lawn used chemical weapons against pot-smoking Americans in the 1980s by lacing marijuana crops with paraquat, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. So if the war on plants really is a "drug war," then John Lawn is a war criminal. For, even if the Americans had been foreign combatants, it would have been a criminal act to poison them with weed killer. But the Drug War is so detached from reality, accountability, and sanity, that War Criminal Lawn could get away with it - and continues to get away with it to this very day, when a free country would put him on trial, or better yet send him to the Hague for punishment.

5) Drug warriors are liars. Remember that ad that says: "This is your brain on drugs." That is not just a lie, but it is the exact opposite of the truth. Cocaine sharpened the mind of Sigmund Freud. Opium gave Benjamin Franklin new ideas. Liberal doses of LSD helped Francis Crick identify the DNA helix. If any drugs actually "fry the brain," they are modern antidepressants, whose long-term use has been found to conduce to emotional-flatlining (aka anhedonia).

I could go on with this list, but in my view, the above arguments testify so powerfully against the Drug War and against the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature's plants, that I feel it's pointless to continue. I can't help but feel that anyone who is not already convinced must be championing the drug war for selfish reasons that they do not have the guts to share openly. After all, there are many parts of society that benefit handsomely from the Drug War, some of which include:

BIG PHARMA: Pharmaceutical companies have seen their profits skyrocket since the drug war began, since that war has given them a monopoly on creating medicines for depression and anxiety. Of course, the drugs in question are extremely addicting, but the beneficiaries of this monopoly just call their pills "medicines" instead of "drugs" and so the great addiction of the American people is hidden from view by a verbal trick.

PSYCHIATRY: Psychiatry has benefited handsomely from the drug war, because they have the monopoly on dispensing the Big Pharma meds. Accordingly, they have changed their business model so that modern psychiatry is little more than a pill-pushing scheme, with many psychiatrists still conveniently glossing over the fact that Big Pharma meds are often more addictive than heroin. (Heroin can be kicked in one arduous week. Antidepressants may take months or longer, because they alter brain chemistry in unpredictable ways.)

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Law enforcement also has a vested financial interest in the continuation of the drug war. They thrive on so-called drug forfeitures by means of which they inherit the property of drug offenders. Like the DEA itself, they profit precisely to the extent that mother nature's medicines are illegal, and so many sheriffs and corrections officials are all too happy to have the drug war carry on unchecked, despite its effects on the average citizen, whose choice of mood medicines is thereby enormously restricted to a handful of addictive drugs. And, of course, anyone who rejects this tyranny and seeks to access Mother Nature's plants in spite of it is branded a "drug user" by law enforcement (and a "self-medicator" by psychiatry) and promptly thrown in jail.

BIG LIQUOR: The drug war provides a lot of monopolies, as noted above. One of the biggest is the monopoly that it supplies to Big Liquor, since all drugs that provide a temporary "escape from oneself" are vigorously outlawed by the drug war - with the glaring exception of liquor, despite the fact that it provides one of the shabbiest such escapes possible, an escape which (unlike that of most other plant medicines) conduces to vomiting and headache and gives the user no insights into their own nature and identity, but to the contrary, serves to render the user's mind more egotistically clouded than ever.

I maintain for these reasons that a sane freedom-loving country must reject the drug war and let unbiased substance education and informed choice win the day at long last. To this end, we should exchange the Drug Enforcement Agency with the Drug Education Agency, whose job will be simply to report the statistics regarding both the risks and (yes) the perceived benefits of employing various plant medicines in order to alter mood, improve concentration, increase creativity, achieve insight, and so forth. After so doing, things can't be any worse than in the days prior to 1914, when all plants were still legal, at which time there was far less addiction than exists in the present day thanks to Big Pharma antidepressants. Of course, back then, they still referred to addiction with the nonjudgmental term of "habituation," because that was a time when they still judged people by how they actually behaved, not by what substances they may have, whether in their house or in their digestive system.

Yours Truly,

Ballard Quass
Basye, Virginia

PS The most monstrous thing about the Drug War is the fact that America has exported it overseas, often using financial blackmail to make its allies "play ball," although dictatorial countries have followed suit of their own accord, realizing that a "drug war" gives them a new and powerful means of keeping their own populations in check. And so it's not enough for drug warriors to deprive me of valuable mood medicine here in the States, but they have made sure that I cannot find such relief anywhere on the globe. In fact, America still travels to foreign countries to burn plants that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia. The war on opium, which started the drug war, was a racist attempt to combat a plant medicine associated with the Chinese, a medicine that had been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia. The US is no less racist when we travel overseas, not simply to burn the poppy plant but to replace the opium that it yields with the American Christian go-to drug known as alcohol.

End the Drug War Now (permalink)

May 22, 2020

Six Reasons Why Americans Are Bamboozled by the Drug War

showing why philosophy still matters and why its absence empowers tyrants

Feed a cold, starve a fever, shoot a drug dealer?
The more I write and read about the war on plants (more disingenuously known as the Drug War), the more I understand why America has "gone there," by which I mean they've essentially signed off on the Christian Science notion that Mother Nature's medicines are bad for us, at least when it comes to psychological healing.

First, consider that 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to modern antidepressants. They have their whole lives invested in the notion that these pills are miracle drugs, and they're generally not open to those who dare to say otherwise. There's a whole new social pastime in which patients gossip about their latest pill regimen and how it stacks up to the previously failed regimen that they had been following. In this sense, taking Big Pharma meds is fun. One is never at a loss for a discussion topic in our medicalized culture. When you add in the close friends of these addicts and the doctors who provide the meds in the first place, there are tens of millions out there who are biased in favor of the pill-pushing status quo.

Thus seeing Big Pharma pills as "the light and the way," we are blind to the vast rain forest of non-addictive (and or far-less-addictive) natural godsends that sit there, waiting for us to put them to use, rather than demonizing them, ostracizing them, and ultimately burning them in the name of an anti-nature drug war.

Second, as noted above, the very use of the word "drugs" in "drug war" is disingenuous and helps disguise the fact that what we're cracking down on are plant medicines, which, in the eyes of other cultures have been seen as medical and emotional godsends. Viewed in this way, one can clearly see a philosophical link between the witch hunts of the past, the colonialist outrages of the Conquistadores, and the modern drug war: in each case, the powers that be had nothing but contempt for the plants that brought about consciousness raising - and felt free to marginalize, stigmatize, and even kill those who sought expanded consciousness through plant medicine.

Third, the substitution of the word "drugs" for "plants" also has helped Americans overlook the violation of natural law that is implicit in the outlawing of Mother Nature's plants, recognizing which the whole notion of a drug war becomes both absurd and unconstitutional. The United States was founded on the notion that there are natural laws which must override common law, now and for all time, and surely one of the most obvious of rights under such law is the right of the human being to what Locke called "the use of the Earth and all that lies therein." In other words, the drug war is a violation of natural law. Sure, the drug war has been in effect since 1914, but as Thomas Paine wrote: "If the present generation or any other are disposed to be slaves, it does not lessen the right of the succeeding generation to be free. Wrongs cannot have a legal descent."

Fourth, Americans have a whole mythology built up around the idea of addiction and salvation. Gabor Mate epitomizes this viewpoint by incorrectly ascribing almost all addiction to inner pain, meanwhile ignoring the great addiction of our time, the one mentioned above whereby 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to antidepressants. Mate's refusal to even call this addiction shows the hypocrisy of the use of that word. "Addiction," it turns out, is really a pejorative epithet which we apply only to the habitual use of those drugs that we love to hate. That's why psychiatrists feel free to ignore the great addiction of our time, because their selective use of the word "addiction" blinds them to it. Meanwhile, they white-wash the psychiatric pill pushing practice by referring to it as "medication maintenance."

Fifth, Americans fail to understand that the impulse to self-medicate makes perfect sense, no matter how hard the psychiatrist tries to stigmatize that practice. Consider what happens to those who FAIL to self-medicate when it comes to tweaking their own moods for the better. What happens? Under the current psychiatric paradigm, that person becomes addicted to Big Pharma meds, turns into an eternal patient, and has to spend an enormous amount of time and money as a ward of the state. One can scarcely imagine a more disempowering process. No wonder that self-medication is considered a serious option by many, despite the self-serving moralizing of the psychiatrist on this topic.

Sixth, Americans have fallen for the notion that a drug dealer is, of necessity, a scumbag. This is an easy bias to maintain when we're talking about a "drug war," but when we correctly describe the new prohibition as a "war on plants," that hateable drug dealer becomes a far less hateable "plant dealer." Still, it's no wonder why folks like Trump want to kill such people, and why calm and sober stakeholders like psychiatrists would cry "amen" were he to do so. Just think how much psychiatry has to lose by people self-medicating. Besides, those who self-medicate are implicitly telling us that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that the pill-pushing psychiatric paradigm is anti-patient - and that's a message that the shrinks must suppress at any cost.

Six Reasons Why Americans Are Bamboozled by the Drug War (permalink)

May 19, 2020

Sending Out an SOS

For Sentara to stop disempowering the victims of the psychiatric pill mill

The following complaint was sent on May 19, 2020, to the Sentara Board of Directors: Dian Calderone - Chair, Allan Parrott - Vice Chair, Howard Kern - CEO, Bill Achenbach, John Agola, M.D., Gilbert Bland, Peter Brooks, Esq., (Eric) Frederick Coble, Edward George, M.D., Les Hall, (Sandy) Henry Harris, Ann Homan, Charles Lovell, M.D., Whitney Saunders, Esq., Jeffery Smith, EdD, Michael Smith, Carol Thomas, Marion Wall.

I am a 61-year-old client of Sentara Behavioral Health Services, writing to protest against the fact that psychiatry has turned me into an eternal patient. It has hooked me on antidepressants, which I was never told were addictive, but which I'm now told can never be stopped. In fact, when I told my Sentara psychiatrist that I wanted to quit Effexor (after 25 years of ineffective and mind-fogging treatment with the pills), he said that I shouldn't even bother, because an NIH study shows that the drug has a 95% recidivism rate. I have since learned, from folks like Julie Holland and Richard Whitaker, that antidepressants cause the very chemical imbalance that they purport to fix and that some of them are harder to quit than heroin, because they muck around with a neurochemical baseline that may take months to restore.

If psychiatric outfits like Sentara can't bring themselves to apologize for turning folks like myself into eternal patients, the least they can do is to make it easier for us to get our "meds" without having to undergo the time-wasting indignity of visiting the Behavioral Health office. What business is it of your young psychiatrists to know my innermost thoughts every three months? Even granting that it's a necessary formality, a virtual visit should suffice for us pill-mill veterans - at least if you'd be so magnanimous as to accept the "patient's" word about their weight, height and blood pressure, rather than checking these in person.

I wouldn't be surprised if there are legal reasons why you cannot give veteran patients this small degree of freedom - but that would only go to show that we pill-mill veterans are being disempowered by the psychiatric establishment and treated like children.

I urge you therefore to consider ways in which the system can change to empower anti-depressant addicts - because we seem to be the one group in America that it's still OK to oppress.

Your forms always ask patients if they've contemplated suicide: The ironic thing is that there is only one thing that makes me sick of life these days, and that is the fact that psychiatry has turned me into an eternal patient, one who has to humiliate himself every few months by telling his innermost feelings to strangers - and paying for that "privilege" too - all in order to merely be eligible to spend still more money on ineffective pills to which he's become addicted.

Talk about disempowerment, what about the pharmacy nonsense that Sentara puts me through? If I have any trouble with my prescription refills on a weekend, your staff seems to be under orders to ignore me completely until Monday - even if I've run out of meds whose abrupt cessation is medically contraindicated. Your rather useless answering service insists that nobody on your staff can be contacted on the weekend for any reason - to the point where I had to falsely threaten suicide once merely to have someone call me. (If Sentara is going to hugely inconvenience me, I feel no compunction in forcing them merely to "take my call.")

In my opinion, your power to prescribe medicines involves responsibilities as well as rights. If you're not going to be around on the weekend in the case of refill emergencies involving addictive drugs, then you have no business prescribing so-called medicines in the first place.

Now that I've had my say, here's what I ask you to do: Please consider any and all ways to empower veteran patients like myself so that we don't have to think of ourselves as eternal patients. For starters, please implement virtual counseling for veteran patients, if the legal system will let you.

Given the Covid crisis, you'd think that Sentara would be asking ME to have my next "counseling session" via WiFi, but no. Even during a pandemic, Sentara does not want to untie the apron strings that keep me in my lowly place as a "patient."

I write not merely for myself but for the increasing numbers of disempowered veteran patients of the psychiatric pill mill.

Sincerely Yours,
Ballard Quass

PS If you really want to help the disempowered, rather than just maximize Sentara profits, please use what clout you may have to call for the end of the War on Plants (which we disingenuously call a "drug war"), so that folks like myself can have the same access to Mother Nature's powerful mood medicines that folks had prior to the racist Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

Sending Out an SOS (permalink)

May 16, 2020

The Whistle Blower that NOBODY wants to hear

How the drug war turned me into an eternal patient… and why nobody cares

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
One of the reasons why the anti-patient drug war has survived for over a century now (whereas liquor prohibition died a relatively quick death) is that Americans fail to see the connection between the drug war and the sad state of modern psychiatry.

Worse yet, Americans fail to even see the sad state of modern psychiatry, thanks to a full court PR press by Big Pharma, which foots the bill for prominent and popular doctors to go on shows like Oprah and make addiction to antidepressants seem like a civic duty to be undertaken by any God-fearing American who cares about his or her psychological health. Lately, we even see such well-paid opinion-shapers urging us to get our kids started on a regimen of highly addictive pills if we see any excessive signs of moonshine or hijinx in their childhood spirits. (That could be the deadly ADHD, don't ya know?) Such pill-pushing messages are reinforced at night during prime-time television, as Big Pharma goes directly to their potential client, urging them to pester their doctor into supplying them with a starter kit of highly addictive antidepressants and similarly addictive drugs for anxiety and bipolar illness, etc.

The result? One in eight American males, and one in four American females, are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, many of which are harder to kick than heroin.

That's why nobody wants to hear it when I complain about the psychiatric status quo and point out that the emperor is wearing no clothes: Nobody wants to hear it because Americans have too much invested in the status quo: too much money, too much time, and too much blind faith in the honesty and good intentions of psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry.

Indeed, belief in the pill-mill paradigm has become the American religion, to the extent that America has a religion. Despite clinical and statistical proof to the contrary, Americans have become convinced that we now have a scientific "fix" for depression and that sad Americans are stupid - perhaps even selfish - to ignore it and go without this supposedly vital "scientific" assistance. After all, depression is a "disease," so the credo goes, and so what could be more natural than to take a one-size-fits-all pill for that disease and to thus be done with it once and for all (albeit the pill in question has to be taken every day of one's life for the rest of one's life)?

What Americans fail to realize is that the rain forest is full of therapeutic psychoactive medicines, which, if used responsibly, could fix depression organically, by helping the sufferer to see the world in a new light and to creatively work around their mental roadblocks, using medicines that are either non-addictive, or at least far less addictive than the pills on which 1 in 6 Americans have been hooked by Big Pharma. And why do Americans fail to realize this? Because of drug war propaganda, which brazenly lies about Mother Nature's mood medicines , claiming that they "fry the brain," when the truth is the exact opposite, namely that substances like cocaine, opium and natural psychedelics actually strengthen and increase neuronal connections and help the user accomplish more in life.

Sigmund Freud didn't use cocaine to fry his brain, he used it to increase his mental capacity and stamina. Benjamin Franklin didn't use opium to fry his brain, he used it to increase his creative capacity and to ensure his overall affability. Francis Crick didn't use psychedelics to fry his brain, he used them to open his mind to the true nature of DNA.

That's why my plight as an eternal patient goes unnoticed, even though there are millions like me suffering the same disempowering and humiliating effects of the drug war. Drug War propaganda has been accepted as gospel truth by our bamboozled American populace.

Worse yet, if I write about these things, I get blacklisted on Reddit and lose my job as a commentator on Sociodelic.com. Folks just don't want to hear it: they believe in the one and only true Church , "Our Lady of the One-Size-Fits-All Depression Pill," and they don't want to hear from heretics who are unhappy with the pill-pushing paradigm, let alone one who suggests that there's an infinitely better approach that Drug War America is stubbornly overlooking - and ignoring on purpose, in fact, in the interests of the many drug war stakeholders (including, but not limited to, psychiatrists, pharmacists, law enforcement and Big Liquor).

But what exactly is this humiliating plight to which I refer?

Imagine that, like myself, you are a 61-year-old depression "sufferer" who has been "on" Big Pharma antidepressant meds for 40 years (drugs that are so addictive, even your psychiatrist tells you there's no point in attempting to get off them). You still suffer from depression, of course, as evidenced by your ongoing inability to follow through on the goals that are most important to you in life, never mind the fact that the drugs you're taking are supposed to be scientific godsends, (but apparently your brain never got that memo). And so the drug war turns you into the Ancient Mariner of psychiatry, forced to dock at Mental Health Harbor every three months and tell the scientistic landlubbers how you've been feeling over the last 90 days, so that they have the legal cover to write you yet another prescription for the pharmaceutical concoctions that your drug-warped body chemistry can no longer do without. Are you happy? Are you sad? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you consider suicide? You have to tell the "good doctor" everything, every three months of your life.

Hello? What business is it of theirs after 40 long and patronizing years?

Here's a good answer to one such question, however:

Psychiatrist's question: Do you consider suicide?

Answer: Only when I consider the fact that psychiatry has humiliated and disempowered me by turning me into an eternal patient.

Just yesterday I called my shrink's office to request a refill on my addictive meds. They refused to approve the refill until I had made another appointment to see my doctor. Why? Because my existing psychiatrist was no longer employed there and I had to start over with a new one. And since the new one doesn't know me from Adam, he or she cannot prescribe medicine for me.

Right. So the fact that I've been running in this pill-mill hamster cage for 40 years means nothing. I still have to be treated like a new mental health patient and come in and confess all my weaknesses and inner concerns to a complete stranger. I'm still the Ancient Mariner, but now there's a new wedding guest to whom I have to recite the story of my life.

It's funny that this status quo is acceptable to Americans, given that it is the exact opposite of what we call "empowerment" these days, which folks normally consider to be the ne plus ultra of psychological health.

And so it is that America is literally the most addicted country in the world, and yet nobody wants to hear the whistle blowers who say so. Instead, we rationalize, saying that SSRI users are habituated to their pills, not addicted to them, a shallow drug war equivocation that can be easily devastated by anyone who performs a close reading of the definition of "addiction" in Webster's.

So I can blow my whistle all I want, but I won't be heard as long as Americans remain in denial about the great addiction of our times. That's not the opiate addiction, but the fact that 1 in 6 Americans are addicted to Big Pharma "meds" - an addiction that would be unimaginable except in a world where health-care choices have been starkly limited by an anti-patient Drug War.


The Whistle Blower that NOBODY wants to hear (permalink)

May 13, 2020

Comedian Adderall Zoloft Riffs on the Drug War

the only comedian whose stand-up routine is listed as Schedule One by the DEA

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
EMCEE: Introducing the man who has passed more drugs tests than any other comedian on the planet.

ADDERALL: On Planet Mars, that is.


EMCEE: Let's hear it for Adderall Zoloft.

ADDERALL: Hey, use me only as directed, folks.


ADDERALL: Here's a little riddle to warm you guys up. What do you get when you cross banisteriopsis caapi with psychotria viridis?

PAXIL: I don't know. What do you get when you cross banisteriopsis caapi with psychotria viridis?

ADDERALL: Ten to twenty years in the state penitentiary.



No, seriously. You actually get ayahuasca if you're lucky.

PAXIL: Ayahuasca?

ADDERALL: That's right. Ayahuasca. Speaking of which, did you know that there's actually a church in America that has won the legal right to use ayahuasca in its religious rituals?


I kid you not. Needless to say, the DEA fought that one all the way to the Supreme Court.

PAXIL: That figures.

ADDERALL: I'm happy to report however that they lost that final case, 9 to freakin' zero.



I don't like to gloat, but when I heard that outcome, I was like, "In your face, with a can of mace!"


PAXIL: I know what you mean, Adderall.


PAXIL: Yeah. I myself was like, "Up your nose with a garden hose!"


ADDERALL: Paxil Busspar, ladies and gentlemen, my loyal sidekick. How are you tonight, Paxil?


PAXIL: I'm doing great, Adderall.

ADDERALL: Oh, really?

PAXIL: Yes, I just passed my drug test to work at Taco Bell.


ADDERALL: Your parents must be so proud of you.

PAXIL: I know, right?

ADDERALL: But I'm a little puzzled.

PAXIL: Oh, really? How so?

ADDERALL: I thought you agreed with me that drug testing was so much Christian Science bull [bleep].

PAXIL: Yes, I usually do, but this drug test was actually fair for a change.

ADDERALL: The drug test was fair? What do you mean?

PAXIL: Well, after the test was over, the lab guys actually congratulated me for the drug that I had in my system. They said I had chosen well.

ADDERALL: That's interesting. And what drug did you have in your system, Paxil?

PAXIL: I can't tell you and give away the answer.



ADDERALL: Fair point.

PAXIL: Suffice it to say that it was a so called entheogen, and it helped sharpen my thinking and made me more friendly and compassionate. The lab guys actually said that it would help make me a valuable addition to the Taco Bell work force.


ADDERALL: Aha. I bet it was a mushroom from the genus psilocybe.

PAXIL: Tut tut Adderall. Nice try, but I'm not going to give away the answer, since you haven't taken this particular drug test yet.

ADDERALL: Fair enough, Paxil. Fair enough. I'm actually waiting for someone to create a church around the ritual use of psilocybin.


PAXIL: Good for you.

ADDERALL: Say, Paxil, is it legal to murder a ghost?

PAXIL: I don't know. There's precious little case law in that area. Why do you ask?

ADDERALL: I was thinking of summoning the ghost of Francis Burton Harrison via Ouija Board and then beating the crap out of him, for outlawing opium in 1914.

PAXIL: I'm afraid that would never work, Adderall.

ADDERALL: Why not, Paxil?

PAXIL: Because Francis's ghost would realize that the seance was a set-up job, and so he would never appear.


ADDERALL: Well, I'm still mighty sore at that bonehead.

PAXIL: Me too, Adderall.

ADDERALL: That man up-ended American democracy with his so-called Narcotics Act which, for the first time in American history, criminalized a freakin' plant.


PAXIL: Now, Adderall, watch your blood pressure.

ADDERALL: I know, Paxil, but the man succeeded single-handedly in replacing the natural law on which America was founded with common law, criminalizing plants, which are the birth right of anyone who is born on planet earth.


PAXIL: Well, I'm sure he meant well, Paxil.

ADDERALL: Meant well? The man is responsible for millions of unnecessary deaths.

PAXIL: Remember your blood pressure.

ADDERALL: And he single-handedly created a violent movie genre in which sanctimonious Americans go south to intervene in supposedly sovereign countries in order to shoot Latinos.



And why? Because they're selling plant-based medicines that have been used responsibly for millennia by non-western cultures.

PAXIL: We've talked about this, Adderall. Your audiences don't like it when you get on your high horse.

ADDERALL: It's just pops my buttons, that's all.

PAXIL: I know.

ADDERALL: I mean, stop the god [bleep] war on mother nature's [bleep] plants already.

PAXIL: It sounds like somebody didn't get a nap this afternoon.

[baby cries]


ADDERALL: Sorry about that, Paxil. Now then, where were we?

PAXIL: I think we were just getting to the part where everything that we say is hilarious and elicits hearty guffaws from the audience.

ADDERALL: You hear that, audience? Watch for your cue now.


PAXIL: I know, why don't you tell a joke?

ADDERALL: Good idea. Okay, let's see. What do you get when you cross an anti-Chinese electorate with WASP Americans who have a jaundiced view of mother nature's plants and fungi?

PAXIL: I don't know. What do you get when you cross an anti-Chinese electorate with WASP Americans who have a jaundiced view of mother nature's plants and fungi?

ADDERALL: You get the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, that's what you get.



PAXIL: Oh, there you go again!



EMCEE: Let's hear it for the only comedian whose stand-up routine is listed as schedule one by the DEA.

ADDERALL: That's right folks. They can't even study me in laboratories without an act of Congress.

EMCEE: Adderall Zoloft!

Comedian Adderall Zoloft Riffs on the Drug War (permalink)

May 12, 2020

Unscientific American

How the authors at Scientific American self-censor their articles in deference to America's Drug War

Night of the Addicted Americans brought to you by the Drug War, Big Pharma, and the American Psychiatric Association
I sent the following message to the editors of Scientific American today, on May 12, 2020:

Attention Editors: please start acknowledging the drug war's role in limiting scientific inquiry

Good afternoon.

Could you please pass this along to your staff and management? The following is written in response to a May 2018 article by Dana G. Smith entitled "At What Age Does Our Ability to Learn a New Language Like a Native Speaker Disappear?"

My topic is not so much the article itself as the fact that, like many SA articles, the author has left out a whole angle to the story in deference and obedience to America's anti-scientific drug war, as if the drug war prohibitions somehow provided a rational baseline for scientific inquiry. The fact is that the drug war provides anti-scientific obstacles to research on many subjects about which Scientific American authors write, and I believe it's about time that SA started acknowledging that fact in the articles themselves, thereby shaming the drug warriors for impeding scientific progress in a supposed free country.

Thanks for your consideration,

Ballard Quass.


Thanks for the fascinating article about language acquisition ("At What Age Does Our Ability to Learn a New Language Like a Native Speaker Disappear?")

I'd like to suggest however that you've limited your inquiry, albeit unwittingly, in deference to America's drug war.

If science were free to investigate and research all the products of Mother Nature (and not just the ones of which politicians approve), it would discover something that psychedelic rebels have known for half a century now: namely, that psychedelic plant medicines can create fascinating and useful new connections in the brain that provide the substance user with whole new ways of looking at the world and whole new ways to process previously unintelligible information about that world.

In other words, there is every reason to believe that one day, when America has finally cast off the anti-scientific slough of drug war prohibitions, we will find ways to vastly improve the language learning abilities of older human beings through the strategic use of psychedelic substances that grow around us in the natural world. Right now, however, scientists who even broach such a topic must keep an eye over their shoulder lest their colleagues eye them askance for invoking the names of plants about which we are not even supposed to speak in so-called scientific America - let alone to speak positively.

I realize that this assertion is speculative, but it is a tantalizing hypothesis indeed, considering not only the anecdotal evidence of psychedelic-inspired mind expansion over the past 50 years, but the fact that there are hundreds - perhaps thousands - of promising plant medicines of this kind that are completely off limits to scientific investigation thanks to the DEA's mendacious and self-serving drug scheduling system, plants which a human being can be jailed for merely possessing, never mind that the substances in question grow unbidden at their very feet.

In short, I think that there is a whole angle to this story that scientists are ignoring thanks to drug war sensibilities, and which they must ignore, since they are currently forbidden to even study the kind of plants that we're talking about here.

Yours in the name of true scientific freedom...

Ballard Quass


PS If I may make a suggestion: One way to change this anti-scientific status quo is for Scientific American's authors to start thinking about how their articles might change were the drug war not in force with respect to psychoactive plants and their ability to change the mind (to better process new kinds of information, to ease depression, to help one make their peace with death, etc.). Then, once an SA author has determined that their story has angles that scientists cannot adequately pursue thanks to drug war prohibitions, those authors should state this fact clearly and matter-of-factly in their articles, with a comment such as: "Note: Topic X will not be pursued further in this article thanks to American drug war prohibitions which prevent scientists from studying such hypotheses in detail."

By thus acknowledging the censorship function of the drug war viz scientific inquiry, the author can help bring about legal reforms by shaming the drug warriors who have shackled scientific investigation in this way.

PPS I will be publishing this letter on my website (abolishthedea.com) as an open letter to Scientific American, probably under the title (or at least subtitle) of: "How scientists self-censor in deference to America's drug war." I realize that this self-censorship is not conscious, but that really just makes it all the more insidious.

Unscientific American (permalink)

May 11, 2020

In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors

How the Drug War has blinded Gabor Maté to the great addiction crisis of our time

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com

I began reading Gabor Maté's popular book on addiction yesterday ("In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts") but gave it up in disappointment after the first 20 pages convinced me that the author was in the thrall of not only drug war propaganda, but also of the propaganda of Big Pharma as well. My original interest in the book was prompted by the story of his use of ayahuasca to treat addicts and the predictable state suppression that it brought about as Canada attempts to keep in lockstep with America's anti-patient war on mother nature's plants, more commonly (and misleadingly) referred to as the drug war. But if we want countries like Canada to change their policies on these topics, we have to see through the drug warrior lies and assumptions to what's really going on, and Maté seems to be just as blinded on this topic as virtually everyone else in mainstream Western society.

First of all, the very use of the term "addiction" invites us to moralize and pry into a user's past to investigate their inner demons. But this judgmental word, "addiction," only came into fashion with the drug war itself, before which opium enthusiasts, for instance, were merely designated neutrally as "habitues" when they used the drug with a frequency that rendered withdrawal difficult. The judgemental term "addiction" is attractive to Westerners because it helps us Medicalize what we consider to be "the drug problem" - but Gabor's notion that virtually all addiction (i.e. habituation) can be traced to inner pain is just plain wrong. Was Benjamin Franklin dealing with inner pain when he liberally availed himself of opium? Was Sigmund Freud dealing with inner pain when he used massive amounts of cocaine? Was Richard Feynman dealing with inner pain when he casually popped pills that we would derisively refer to today as "speed"? Is a blues musician, for that matter, dealing with inner pain when he or she uses daily marijuana in order to "keep in the groove"?

Let's be honest: the real crime of folks like Franklin, Freud and Feynman is that they self-medicated. They had the gall to bypass the medical establishment which claims to have a monopoly on deciding when and how a human being should adjust their mood.

So this is the first mistake that Gabor makes: he is simply wrong that all (or even most) addiction can be explained by a person's inner pain.

But Gabor compounds this error by his apparent blindness to the great addiction crisis of our time. I say "apparent blindness" because the first 20 pages of his highly praised book on addiction says absolutely NOTHING about this massive addiction: namely, the fact that one in eight American males (and one in four American females) are addicted to Big Pharma medications, antidepressants and benzodiazepines (and I'm sure there are comparably egregious statistics among Maté's fellow Canadians). Is the take-home message from this stealth drug crisis merely that large segments of the American population are dealing with inner pain? No. The take-home message is that Big Pharma is cranking out highly addictive medications while simultaneously suborning the medical world into remaining silent about the overmedicated dystopia that it is thereby creating.

On the disingenuous distinction between addiction and chemical dependency.

The problem is that Maté, like most Western academics, seems to think that there's a meaningful difference between "addiction" and "chemical dependency." According to this line of reasoning, substances like heroin truly addict you and are therefore "drugs," while substances like antidepressants merely render you chemically dependent and are therefore "medications." But the supposed differences here are largely illusory, especially from a user point of view. To see why, let's examine Webster's definition of the term "addiction":

Addiction: The compulsive uncontrolled use of habit-forming drugs beyond the period of medical need or under conditions harmful to society.

One could argue that the antidepressant user is not compulsive and does not behave in an uncontrolled fashion. Yes, but why is that so? That is so because the supply of medication is always forthcoming. A patient in need of an SSRI is never told by the pharmacist that the supply will be delayed due to the recent arrest of a drug runner. Nor does a pharmacist ever "top off" the contents of an SSRI capsule with boric acid or baby powder as a cost-saving measure. And so we're unlikely to see ragged-out white collar workers, sweating and puking on the streets because they're going cold turkey on an anti-depressant or have consumed tainted product. The safe and pristine supply of their go-to drug is guaranteed and, as they're admonished by their own doctor to take the drug for life, withdrawal symptoms never have a chance to occur, least of all in public venues where we can see the cramping and vomiting and think to ourselves, as we do of the strung-out heroin addict: "Tsk-tsk, that poor SSRI addict!"

And so SSRIs do not meet the criterion of "addiction" according to which they must be used "beyond the period of medical need," but this is only because the doctors who prescribe them claim that the period of medical need never ends, which is a very convenient claim indeed, considering that these drugs, which were originally meant for short-term use only, have since proven to be highly habit-forming.

And so, nit-picking aside, the daily use of antidepressants seems to qualify as an addiction according to Webster's Dictionary - until, that is, we read the final subjective criterion of the definition, namely that addiction occurs "under conditions harmful to society."

Here we come to the truth about addiction: it's a pejorative and subjective term, used only in connection with substances that we as a drug-warrior society have decided to denigrate and demonize as harmful. There is therefore a kind of political agenda behind the use of the term "addiction," that is, to implicitly demonize certain plant medicines (namely the illegal ones) while implicitly canonizing others (legally synthesized antidepressants and benzodiazepines). A society that is free of drug-war presuppositions, however, would simply class all psychoactive substances as psychoactive substances and treat them all equally according to the objective and statistical threats that they pose to an unwary user. Instead, we give Big Pharma a free pass to wreak damage with its "medicines," while we wave a disapprobatory finger in the face of those who use "drugs" like heroin. Meanwhile, we fail to register the fact that many of the latter "drug" users could live just as happily in society as their antidepressant-using neighbors, were their drug supply rendered as safe and reliable as that of their law-abiding fellows.

Of course, many people are fed up with being dependent on a given psychoactive substance, precisely because of the dependency itself. But here we encounter another drug-war bias in the way that we think about such topics. Drug Warriors will loudly decry the mere potential of addiction that certain illegal substances might seem to pose, but, like Maté himself in the opening of his book on this subject, they say absolutely nothing about the great dependency of our time: the fact that 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to legal antidepressants, with similar numbers around the globe, at least in Western countries.

For my part, I've always thought that the worst part about an addiction was that it forced me to rely on other people. Yet I find that almost no one -- neither drug warriors nor psychiatrists - has a problem with the fact that my addiction to Effexor has made me reliant on prescribing psychiatrists and has thus turned me into an eternal patient and a ward of the state. Talk about disempowering. I have to travel 40 miles every three months to meet with a psychiatrist in a mental health clinic for a half-hour in order to tell him how I feel. God, I've been a patient for 40 years, what business is it of his???

This is why I make the following otherwise unheard-of claim: that not only can a so-called "drug user" be said to be "self-medicating," but he or she is often right to do so. Consider the options, after all, for someone who desires psychological healing. They can...

One: take the legal route, and become addicted for life to a drug that conduces to anhedonia, for which they will have to make regular pilgrimages to a mental health clinic, in order to receive a three-month drug supply for which they will have to pay dearly, all the time being reminded by this time-consuming rigamarole that they are an eternal patient and a ward of the state...

Or they can...

Two: Buy a psychoactive plant medicine on the black market and, if they've done their research and been lucky, get their head screwed back on straight inexpensively and without having been turned into an eternal patient by doing so.

Ironically, under the drug war's starkly limited psychoactive pharmacopoeia of addictive pills, it almost seems like going the legal route would itself be a sign of mental illness, or at least of pathologically poor judgment.

My goal here is not to slam talk therapy per se, nor to deny that Gabor makes great progress with his patients. But the fact that he's been stymied in that goal by the Drug War itself means that it's imperative for him and other professionals like him to start seeing through the mist of drug warrior lies (the hypocrisy, the newspeak, and the hidden premises) and see clearly what is going on in the world with respect to psychoactive substances, their regulation, and the dilemmas that these legal circumstances pose for well-intentioned people who just want peace of mind without being treated like criminals by law enforcement (or being derisively dismissed as self-medicators by psychiatrists). Only by divining and then shunning the many false drug war assumptions can we disenchant the world from the spell of that anti-patient and violence-causing crusade.

Meanwhile, we should stop imputing pathology to drug users merely because they have chosen to buy plant medicines that have been unjustly proscribed by politicians, and in violation of natural law at that, especially when the drug user's alternative was to turn his or herself into an eternal patient, forced to visit a therapist every three months of their life and, like the Ancient Mariner, recite the same old personal narrative on every demoralizing visit.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Of course, Gabor has grabbed onto part of the truth. The Drug War does stop us from dealing with the underlying conditions that often lead to dysfunctional behavior. This makes it a godsend for conservatives, because if we weren't seeing everything through the lens of the drug war, we'd have to deal with the great inequities of modern social life in terms of education and opportunities. And the drug war has worked incredibly well for conservatives in this regard. It's no coincidence that the death of '60s idealism coincided with the creation of the DEA and the ascendancy of drug war conservatives like Ronald Reagan, folks who wanted guns and business to be as unregulated as possible while they yet prosecuted an unprecedented crack down on mere possession of psychoactive plants. They wanted capitalism that was unfettered by the idealistic visions that tended to arise from expanded consciousness. So they simply made expanded consciousness a felony, to ensure their political hegemony by force of law.

Nor do I scorn Gabor's psychotherapeutic approach, an approach which I trust will be infinitely more fruitful in the future when it is aided by some of the psychoactive plant medicines that modern psychiatrists have dutifully ignored to date in deference to the Christian Science imperative of the Drug War.

Gabor's mistake, I believe, is to automatically associate illicit drug use with pathology -- when, as I've attempted to show above, there are many rational reasons why a thoughtful human being in search of mood medicine would seek a black-market alternative to the psychiatric status quo, a status quo that would otherwise turn him or her into an eternal patient and thus a ward of the health care state, destined to spend a life-time being emotionally catechized by strangers in order to receive yet another "fix" from Big Pharma's expensive, limited, and highly addictive pharmacopoeia. Indeed, if Gabor is in search of pathology, he may well find more of it in Americans who placidly submit themselves to such a life-sapping and disempowering status quo, since the ready acceptance of such a scheme, as legal as it might be, would seem to signal a poor self-image and masochism -- or at very least an inability to clearly see how the drug war is depriving him or her of chemical godsends that might otherwise have afforded emotional salvation.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors (permalink)

May 9, 2020

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe

Drug Warrior censorship at work in American classrooms

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
If you want to see drug-war self-censorship at work, watch any grade-school teacher speaking about Edgar Allan Poe. Or, better yet, check out which Poe stories they assign their students and which they always seem to avoid assigning. For when it comes to Poe's view on what we would dramatically refer to as "drugs," he had the temerity to describe them unemotionally, as substances that can do both great ill and great good, depending on how they were used.

Poe does not praise drugs, of course, but he understood something about psychoactive substances that the drug warrior has long since forgotten: that no substance is good or bad in and of itself, but only with regard to how it is used: in what dosage, for what reason, by which person, under which conditions, at what time and place - etc. etc.

This contrasts sharply with the simplistic drug warrior mentality today according to which politically ostracized substances can bring about nothing but heartache. Of course, this often turns out to be true in a drug-warrior society, but only as a self-fulfilling prophecy brought about by our own draconian drug laws, laws that create a violent black market which in turn sells products that are unreliable both as to quality and quantity. Such negative outcomes are rendered even more likely thanks to the lack of objective information about substances that is a natural result of the aforesaid simplistic thinking. When we make blanket statements such as "drugs are all bad," we thereby obscure a world of crucial objective nuances which, if known, could be the basis for an adult's mature decision-making about which substances they can safely use to their own satisfaction in order to accomplish their own priorities in life.

This is why an American Literature instructor will rarely assign Poe's "Tale of the Ragged Mountains," for in it Poe dares to write about a morphine "habitue" who strategically uses his poison of choice, not in order to seduce women and ridicule existing social norms, but in order to enjoy nature with a surreal clarity that most of us can only imagine. The sober American is so tired by the workaday world that he or she may well have trouble distinguishing a maple tree from an oak. But in Poe's subversive story, the mysterious anti-hero, one Augustus Bedloe, finds that his morphine use endues the external world "with an intensity of interest":

In the quivering of a leaf—in the hue of a blade of grass—in the shape of a trefoil—in the humming of a bee—in the gleaming of a dew-drop—in the breathing of the wind—in the faint odors that came from the forest—there came a whole universe of suggestion—a gay and motley train of rhapsodical and immethodical thought.

One can just feel the drug warriors squirming in their seats as they read these lines. Not only does the drug in this story fail to "fry one's brain" (as the blatantly mendacious drug warrior insists that it should), but it actually focuses the mind, giving it incomparable clarity. Of course, Poe understood that the drug itself was not sufficient to bring about this clarity - the user must bring something to the party, too, especially humility and a willingness to learn. At the same time, however, Poe saw clearly that the drug was what philosophers call a "necessary condition" for this surreal clarity, at least for the individual named Augustus Bedloe in this story. There may well be folks in this world whose innate chemistry permits them to see Mother Nature just as sharply without the use of morphine. But that doesn't mean we should lie about or discount the blatant evidence before our eyes: namely, that morphine, in certain situations, does provide this marvellous sharpening of the senses.

The censoring of Poe on this topic by our teachers of American Literature is "all of a piece" with the way psychologists downplay or ignore Freud's heavy use of cocaine or the way that biographers downplay or ignore Benjamin Franklin's enthusiastic use of opium. None of these stories fit with the drug warrior's Christian Science view that we are somehow morally obliged to shun mother nature's psychoactive plants as a means of improving our mood, our cognition or our creativity.

Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe (permalink)

May 7, 2020

Without Philosophy, Science becomes Scientism

Big Pharma thrives by selling addictive antidepressnts that treat human beings as machine a la the materialist paradigm, when outlawed drugs could run rings around antidepressants, therapeutically speaking
When Stephen Hawking observed that philosophy is dead (which itself is a philosophical statement, of course, being insusceptible of inductive proof), he was saying so triumphantly, as if this were a good thing. The reality however is that when science ignores philosophy it becomes mere scientism.

Take the search for modern anti-depressants. The logic behind this venture is roughly as follows: find a chemical trait that is held in common by the maximum number of depressed individuals and then seek to change that trait by targeted chemical intervention.

To a materialist scientist, this statement sounds like pure science, but the fact is that it makes sense only if the scientist who affirms it is holding at least one major philosophical assumption about psychopharmacological intervention, namely that we can chemically intervene at some precise point in the causal process of a psychological condition without regard for the larger picture, i.e. without any proof that this similarity that we are thereby treating is a real cause of pathology as opposed to a mere symptom of it.

Many people suffering from headache are known to wrinkle their eyebrows. We do not know why, exactly, but we have noticed that almost all headache sufferers do this. We could come up with an intervention that keeps the patients' eyebrows straight, will they or nil they, but that intervention is based on an assumption: namely, that we are actually intervening at a meaningful and relevant location in a causal chain. Likewise, we can notice that many depression sufferers have a similar type of brain chemistry. We can intervene at this level too and attempt to correct the patient's brain chemistry, but as with the headache, we can only do this by assuming that we are intervening in response to a germane causative factor viz the patient's depression. If we intervene chemically to change a non-causative factor, we are doing no more than straightening eyebrows. In the case of the depressed patient, we are actually causing harm however because we are playing around with brain chemistry that had no need of adjustment in the first place, the anomalous chemistry being a mere symptom of a far more relevant upstream causal factor (or factors) of which we are ignorant.

Of course, in the case of depression, Robert Whitaker has already documented how the anti-depressants of Big Pharma actually cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to treat. But even if we accept that depressed people share a specific brain chemistry, it does not follow that we should intervene by brute force, as it were, to change that specific chemistry. And if we do so, we are not proceeding by the mere dictates of science, but rather we are proceeding under the philosophical assumptions of materialist reductionism.

This is why psychedelic therapy for depression is generally scorned by the scientific community, not because such treatment is non-scientific but because its success would pose an implicit challenge to modern materialism, according to which psychopharmacological interventions are "scientific" (and therefore valid and potentially useful) only to the extent that they are chemically pinpointed and quantifiable.

When modern scientists say that "philosophy is dead," they're essentially saying: "We believe so strongly in the materialist approach that we will no longer even acknowledge that it is based on premises that are susceptible of debate." In other words, to say that "philosophy is dead" is to declare victory in the war of approaches to healing. It's an intolerant statement, to put it mildly, because it says to its opponents (those, for instance, who wish to use psychedelics for psychological healing): "There's no more debate allowed. Materialism is ontologically true and therefore we will proceed according to that understanding, straightening as many eyebrows as we need to in order to make our point!"

This would be funny but for the fact that materialist reductionism already has a body count: It is responsible for the fact that 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to Big Pharma meds -- substances that were created and justified under the materialist assumption that depression sufferers are basically identical clones who are amenable to a one-size-fits-all therapy that involves intervening at the most microscopic level possible.

Such an approach has been a colossal failure, of course, since during its ascendancy over the last 50 years, America has become the most depressed and addicted country in the world. But scientists will never learn from these mistakes if they believe, like Hawking, that materialist reductionism is above criticism, that it is no longer just a way of seeing the world but THE way of seeing it.

There is a word for this kind of arrogant materialist belief that willfully ignores its own debatable premises: that word is "scientism."

Without Philosophy, Science becomes Scientism (permalink)

May 6, 2020

America's Invisible Addiction Crisis

And what it tells us about drug war hypocrisy

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
I've been hooked now for three decades on a drug that I hate, an expensive drug that I must take every single morning of my life even though it stifles my creativity and flattens my so-called emotional "affect." And I have been hooked good. The NIH itself has determined that the drug I'm on has a 95% recidivism rate after three years for those who attempt to "kick it." Meanwhile prominent psychiatrists report that the drug in question is harder to quit than heroin. In fact, the guy who's currently giving me the pills told me frankly that I might as well not even bother to quit the drug since it has such lousy relapse rates.

Speaking of the guy who gives me the pills, you'd think he'd be at least a little embarrassed, tell me that he's sorry about my addiction, but nothing could be further from the truth. He has never once suggested that he feels any blame whatsoever for my fate. Meanwhile this guy is prospering financially and is a veritable pillar of the community. Nor do the police have the slightest interest in disrupting his activities, even though he's still hooking new clients on the same addictive substances to this very day. You see, he belongs to a huge organization whose job is to convince the world that this pill-pushing arrangement of his is actually a good thing, and that the folks who are not yet on the pill mill could very well be missing out on living a full life.

Nor am I alone in my addiction. As I type this, 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 females are addicted to the same sort of expensive pills that I'm forced to take every day of my life.

I know what you're thinking: the drug warriors must be "up in arms" about this scandalous situation. The DEA must be declaring a national emergency. Donald Trump must be drawing up long lists of pushers (like my own staunchly unapologetic supplier) whom he's going to execute the very moment that Congress gives him the green light to do so.

Unfortunately not. For the drug that I'm addicted to is Effexor, a Big Pharma blockbuster pill, and we all know that Big Pharma pills are exempt from drug warrior criticism. The Drug Warriors couldn't care less, even though the sorts of drugs that we're talking about here are precisely the ones that can really "fry your brain" in the way that the otherwise bogus drug war propaganda suggests.

The result: not only is the drug warrior blind to my own personal addiction, but they are blind to the great mass-addiction of our time. And so they go on demonizing the poppy and the coca leaf and psychedelics, plants that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia, blissfully unaware that these plants, even when legal, never caused anything close to the wholesale addiction that has been perpetrated on Americans in modern times by Big Pharma and their psychiatric handmaidens.

How much more proof do reasonable people need that our attitude toward "drugs" (by which we Americans really mean "psychoactive plants") is a social construct, as malleable as clay, and that what passes for drug policy today is really just a hodgepodge of laws and attitudes designed to maintain the economic interests of the status quo and the institutions that represent it (including but not limited to: Big Pharma, Big Liquor, psychiatry, the corrections industry, and law enforcement)?

Of course, if addiction doesn't really matter to drug warriors, as the status quo would suggest, then the question asks itself: why am I not allowed to choose my own "poison" from among the flora that God freely gave us all in the Book of Genesis? After all, the plants that we have since outlawed from thence are far less addictive than the SSRIs that have fogged my mind and turned me into an eternal patient for the last 30 years.

Why not? Because empowering patients like myself in this way would leave stakeholders such as Big Pharma and the healthcare industry out of the economic loop. Why would I want to pay for their expensive and highly addictive pills, pills that dull my emotions and bring me no pleasant dreams, when there are plant medicines growing at my feet that are far less addictive and can actually bring me psychological insight?

Thus I am destined to die as an unacknowledged addict, taking my expensive pills every morning of my life until the end, never to hear so much as one compassionating sigh from the socially respectable pushers who addicted me.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

America's Invisible Addiction Crisis (permalink)

May 1, 2020

Don't Worry, Be Satisfied

the feeble ambitions of modern psychiatry

Thomas Jefferson & the Poppies 'Mine by Birth' on Monticello Records '76 RPM
As a veteran addict of mind-fogging anti-depressants, I sometimes ask myself why so many of my fellow addicts seem to be happy (or at least satisfied) with the psychiatric status quo. Why would they be satisfied with a psychiatric pill mill that shunts them off onto a handful of highly addictive synthetic medicines when Mother Nature has already grown for them a large store of psychoactive medicines that can work psychotherapeutic wonders when administered thoughtfully?

Of course, there's the obvious answer to this question, namely that said addicts are not permitted to access Mother Nature's medicines thanks to the drug war and so the question is moot -- but that still doesn't explain why these depression sufferers don't view this situation as an intolerable obstacle to their mental health and do not protest the drug war accordingly. For the vast majority of such sufferers never connect the dots between the drug war and their own personal lack of treatment options. Instead, they make a virtue of necessity and turn the Big Pharma pill-choosing game into a lifelong quest to find the addictive golden grail that works best for them, a quest to be discussed at social get-togethers, where fellow depressives mingle and share their own idiosyncratic list of the Big Pharma pills (and pill combinations) that seem to be "working" for them.

I have recently concluded that this blase acceptance by patients of the anti-patient status quo has at least the following three causes:

1) Just as we can't know what we can't know, we can't feel what we can't feel. I unwittingly ingested a psychedelic at age 19. The result was so mind opening that I began crying: I began crying because I saw that the world was so full of possibilities that I had hitherto overlooked. Now, the point is this: Had you asked me if I was depressed before the "trip," I might well have said no -- but after that trip, my depression was so obvious to me that it made me cry for the lost hours and years that I had spent failing to take advantage of the opportunities right in front of me. In other words, one can be depressed as hell but not realize the fact until they clearly SEE what that depression has been hiding from them: namely hope and possibility.

2) Psychological health surveys ask the wrong questions. They rely on self-reporting about mood. But if a person has never experienced true happiness and understanding (see point one above), they cannot report their mood objectively. They are prone to report their mood as satisfactory merely because they do not have any idea what it's like to experience true psychological happiness. They're like a car buyer thinking that a beat-up car is in great shape, merely because he or she has never seen a car in perfect condition. A far better question to ask in a psychological examination would be: "How many of your important goals have you accomplished in the last year?" That's how I first realized through rational introspection that my own depression was bad: not by thinking "oh, I feel sad," but by reckoning up the myriad "brilliant ideas" that I had come up with over time but failed to follow through on despite having had plenty of time to do so. My depression, it turned out, was bad indeed, because it had stopped me from taking the actions that I needed to take in order to realize my most important goals in life. To paraphrase the book of Matthew: "You will know them by their LACK of works," at least when it comes to the depressed.

3) Psychiatric nostrums are designed to help us survive, not to thrive. Anyone who reads the horror story of psychiatry's early years in America will realize that the psychiatric goal, for well over a century, has been to render patients "docile," not to render them happy or fulfilled. This is why treatments like insulin shock therapy and frontal lobe lobotomy were both hailed as miracle cures in their time. The raves were not coming from patients: they were coming from the psychiatric establishment itself, whose staff were finding their jobs easier once their psychiatric patients were rendered peaceable. As author Richard Whitaker points out, there is an eerie continuity in this philosophy when it comes to the modern psychiatric go-to drugs of benzodiazepines and anti-depressants. Benzodiazepines were never meant to help one solve a problem or find insight: they were meant to induce satisfaction with (or at least tolerance for) the status quo. The same can be said for modern anti-depressants. This brings to mind "The Stepford Wives" by Ira Levin. Westerners think of that story as a satire about women's place in society, but today it reads more like non-fiction. One in 4 American women are addicted to mind-fogging Big Pharma antidepressants, medications that conduce to exactly the sort of emotional flat-lining and bland acceptance of life that Levin skewers in his book.

Don't Worry, Be Satisfied (permalink)

April 27, 2020

America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam

television commercial: ask your doctor if big pharma's addictive brain-fogging anti-depressant effects are right for you
I generally avoid watching network television (or any so-called "free" television, for that matter) because I've grown allergic in my old age to the condescending and manipulative power of product advertisements. However, I occasionally watch (or at least hear) one of these sales pitches in spite of myself as I attempt to remain updated on a breaking catastrophic news story such as the Coronavirus.

Last night, for instance, I was messing about in the kitchen when I overheard a commercial for some new medicine that combatted some gnarly-sounding side effects of anti-depressants and bipolar "medicines." The commercial was hugely "telling" when it comes to the way that the media and Big Pharma literally dictate through words how society will think of any given psychoactive substance. Will we think of them as horrid "drugs" or will we think of them as blessed "medicines"? Answer: We'll think of them the way that Big Pharma and its advertising agencies want us to think about them, especially after said pharmaceutical companies have staffed the morning news shows with affable guns-for-hire from the medical industry who will reinforce in general terms the product-specific message of the multi-million-dollar advertisements in question.

I don't recall which notorious anti-depressant side effect last night's advertised medicine was intended to combat (sexual dysfunction, the risk of suicide, severe addiction, emotional flat-lining, weight gain), but what floored me was the fact that the dulcet-toned female narrator referred to the admittedly harmful anti-depressant as an "important medicine." In other words, the fact that anti-depressants caused devastating side effects was not the point of the commercial: the point was that some company was helping you stay on "your important medicine" despite these acknowledged side effects.

Conclusion: anti-depressants are "the drugs that can do no wrong."

If we were talking about any other psychoactive substance - especially one that was produced only by Mother Nature, such as psychedelics - its creation of the gnarly side effects mentioned above would turn it into a "drug" in the worst sense of that word, and it would quickly become a punching bag for outraged medical pundits across the country to trash in professional journals and public media. There would be front-page stories in the New York Times warning us how psychedelic X was the drug from hell. But when it comes to the horrible side effects of anti-depressants, the exact same kind of enormous shortcomings are seen merely as a whole new business opportunity for the marketing of anti-depressant "adjuncts." And so Big Pharma takes advantage of the psychological fact that folks don't like to be wrong in their choices: they have become persuaded of the long-debunked lie that anti-depressants are miracle drugs that fix chemical imbalances, and so the public will readily welcome any new medicines that help them hang onto that "faith," even in the face of increasingly obvious evidence to the contrary.

This is why a war on plants, once started, is so difficult to end in a capitalist society. Naturally occurring psychoactive substances are handicapped from the beginning. They merely have to be responsible for (or indeed associated with) one eye-catching horror story viz. side effects and we suddenly consider the "drug" in question to come from hell. Meanwhile, a synthesized drug from Big Pharma can blatantly addict 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females, and we will still consider it to be a miracle cure, in fact a "medicine" that it is our duty as health-conscious Americans to take daily, every day of our life!

What further proof do we need that the drug war is about politics, not health, politics designed to keep Mother Nature's godsend plants from competing with Big Pharma? The scam works something like this, by the way: first the DEA outlaws scientific research on natural products that might prove to be competitors to Big Pharma. Then Big Pharma runs prime-time ads that turn their own addictive synthesized substances into apple pie in the minds of the American public. Mother Nature is thus silenced from the beginning while Big Pharma runs advertisements on prime-time television: which one do YOU think is going to win the hearts and minds of the American people?

Of course, in hindsight, it was a telling moment when Congress began allowing pharmaceutical companies to start advertising on television: that was a tacit admission that the world of personal health in America had nothing to do with science and fact, but rather with salesmanship and hucksterism - a fact which any long-term psychiatric patient like myself can readily believe, having frequently shared their doctor's waiting room with an antsy suitcase-carrying sales rep from Big Pharma.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam (permalink)

April 25, 2020

How Fretting Drug Warriors Block Medical Progress

while causing inner-city violence and creating drug cartels around the world

drug warriors fret about addiction of whites while causing violence around the world to non-whites and placing godsend psychoactive plant medicines out of reach to the suffering
It's easy to slam law-and-order conservatives for their part in fomenting the anti-nature drug war. They're hypocritical for starters. They want to keep the taps flowing at their local bar while they hand out life sentences for those who choose to relax using other naturally sourced substances, many of which have been used responsibly by other cultures for thousands of years. They're so bent on making alcohol the drug of choice, that they even have the nationalistic arrogance to send troops overseas and burn plants that pose a threat to the liquor industry. And then we wonder why the US is hated overseas. Imagine an Islamic country entering the United States with the express purpose of shutting down our alcohol producers and burning the plants that constitute their raw materials. That is precisely what the US does, morally speaking, when it enters other countries to shut down plants that process the coca leaf and the poppy.

But conservatives are only half the problem. The tyrannous drug war is fomented equally by the worried parents of America, who fret that their children will become slaves to "drugs" should the drug war be abandoned. This fear is so misplaced that one scarcely knows where to begin in addressing it. But address it we must, since the laws that are promulgated by these Chicken Little parents have a body count: starting with the thousands killed every day in the name of a brutal drug war overseas, and the endless stream of innocent bystanders killed in inner cities -- all because America has elevated common law over natural law and criminalized plants, a step that would have made the garden-loving Thomas Jefferson spin in his grave, just as he surely did, in fact, in 1987 when the DEA stomped onto Monticello and confiscated his poppy plants.

First of all, let's be honest and use the term "psychoactive plants" for "drugs," since "drugs" is really just a pejorative epithet for the medicinal bounty of Mother Nature.

Secondly, there was no epidemic of childhood addictions prior to the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. A law against opium was enacted in that year, not because it would protect youngsters, but rather because it gave racist politicians a socially acceptable way to express their disdain for the Chinese with whom they associated the poppy plant, just as they associated Mexicans with marijuana and blacks with cocaine. Both of those latter two stereotypes would motivate future disingenuous hand-wringing about "drugs" by sixties and seventies racists, culminating in the creation of Richard Nixon's corrupt DEA in 1973, by a president whose drug policy was overtly designed to punish his political opponents, Timothy Leary first and foremost, and then anyone who might so much as give such a rebel the time of day.

And so Americans were expelled from the psychotherapeutic Garden of Eden in the twentieth century, as the American government claimed the unprecedented right to dole out or withhold the psychoactive plant medicines of Mother Nature as it saw fit, a power grab that even God Himself had never contemplated, being happy for his own part to outlaw only one solitary tree from among the myriad plants of his worldwide nursery.

The result is that we now childishly see threats everywhere we turn in Mother Nature, failing to realize that the problem -- to the extent that there is a problem other than in the scheming minds of racists -- is behavior, not plants.

Thirdly, it is enormously selfish, and even racist, to criminalize plants based on a merely theoretical threat that they pose to young people. Why? First, because it ignores the fate of those young people who are already being killed in inner cities around the world thanks to the violence that naturally arises under prohibition. Secondly because our draconian drug laws force millions of Americans (and billions worldwide) to go without powerful psychoactive plant medicines, given that such heavy-handed legislation outlaws mere research of cancer- and depression-fighting godsends, let alone the actual use of such medicine, all out of a fear that white young people might become addicted to some plant medicine or other.

Wake up, white America: 1 out of 4 women, mainly Caucasian, are addicted to Big Pharma meds even as we speak. Why not wring your hands over that grim fact and re-legalize nature's bounty, none of which is more habit-forming than the SSRIs that are being popped like candy everywhere you look.

In the name of the sick and suffering around the world, and in the name of inner city minorities and racial justice, we must return to the days when we cracked down on bad behavior alone - rather than manufacturing violence out of whole cloth by punishing Americans for the pre-crime of merely possessing plant medicines of which our scheming politicians disapprove.

How Fretting Drug Warriors Block Medical Progress (permalink)

April 24, 2020

A Goliath that even David is afraid of

The ongoing failure of drug reformers to attack the DEA

david bribed to let goliath dea win battle  so the agency can keep criminalizing godsend substances in america's anti-scientific drug war
Imagine there was a government agency that everybody agreed was telling lies. Not only that, but everyone knew that these lies had caused millions of depressed patients and wounded soldiers to go without godsend medicines for almost half a century. Now imagine that the agency in question was also known to have deliberately poisoned American citizens with weed killer, and that this weed killer was subsequently found to cause Parkinson's Disease.

Now, imagine that this all occurred in a supposedly free democratic country and yet no one complained. To the contrary, movie studios cranked out propaganda in which this same lying and murderous agency was portrayed as a hero, a hero that clandestinely uses torture and murder to achieve its goals.

Sounds like fiction, huh?

Well, unfortunately, this is not an imaginary scenario. The agency described above is Richard Nixon's Drug Enforcement Agency, and even the most vocal drug policy reformers have been loath to criticize it. Sure, they may point out in passing that the agency is lying about psychoactive substances through their politically motivated drug scheduling system, but they never take the obvious next step and call loudly and clearly for the agency's abolition, let alone for a criminal trial that would hold its leaders responsible for the great unnecessary suffering that they have knowingly caused over the last four and a half decades.

That's the reason why I created the website AbolishTheDEA.com just over a year ago: to finally speak truth to power and tell the DEA in the words of Shakespeare's Laertes: "Thus diddest thou!"

That's also why I fret over the MAPS' organizations approach of "working through the system" to decriminalize psychedelics, since it obliges them to cooperate with the DEA, thereby granting that agency a kind of moral street cred that it does not deserve. This, after all, is the agency that is fighting tooth and nail to keep godsend medications out of the hands of suffering Americans, and why? Merely in order to preserve its own jobs - which brings up another problem with the DEA about which Americans remain mostly silent: the fact that it has a glaringly obvious conflict of interest in establishing the legality of substances, since their whole raison d'etre is to crack down on illegal drugs. And they freely act on that interest, as was demonstrated in 1985 when the agency went against the advice of its own legal counsel and criminalized MDMA, thus throwing thousands of soldiers under the bus by denying them a godsend therapy for PTSD.

For those who need more reasons to hate the DEA, consider that former DEA Chief John C. Lawn poisoned marijuana with paraquat back in the 1980s, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. That's the moral equivalent of genocide to punish an unpopular law. This is a ruthless agency that has no one's interests at heart but their own, an absurd nature-hating agency that requires researchers to protect supplies of drugs like psilocybin as if they were fissionable nuclear material rather than Godsend plant medicines from Mother Nature.

Such an agency should be a laughable dinosaur in 21st-century America and treated accordingly. The Israelis got rid of their Anti-Drug Agency. Now it's time for the United States to do the same, preferably replacing it with the Drug EDUCATION Agency, an organization tasked with presenting the objective statistical facts about all psychoactive substances, including alcohol and Big Pharma anti-depressants, including both their pros and cons.

But Goliath is still defiantly loitering in the Valley of Elah, taunting free-spirited Americans with his contempt for constitutional niceties and his disdain for human life, practically daring some modern David to come forth and topple him.

Are we going to rise to the challenge and set out, slingshot in hand, or is the DEA a modern-day Stasi that even rebel spirits are afraid to challenge head on?

A Goliath that even David is afraid of (permalink)

April 23, 2020

How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities

Open letter to Sean McAllister, drug policy reform lawyer

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Dear Sean Mcallister,

I just watched your presentation on the MAPS Webinar and enjoyed it greatly. When you have a moment, I have some ideas for you about the strategy of drug decriminalization.

You say that it's difficult to find a single unifying motive around which a variety of folks can come together to fight in favor of psychedelic decriminalization. I think there are two main reasons why that problem exists.

1) Drug-law reformers fail to understand (and therefore to adequately publicize) the enormous shortcomings of the current pill-mill approach to modern psychiatry. Those who really understand these shortcomings (especially those, like myself, who have been victims of them) consider psychedelic legalization to be a moral imperative! What shortcomings? Well, one in eight male Americans are addicted to anti-depressant SSRIs and one in four females - an addiction problem that the hypocritical drug warrior ignores, as do most psychiatrists. And, as Julie Holland reports, many of these antidepressants are harder to kick than heroin. These Big Pharma meds turn the individual user into a lifelong patient who has to take these pills every day of their life, which is expensive and demoralizing - but results in just so many annuities for uber-rich Big Pharma. What's more, Robert Whitaker has shown that these drugs actually cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix! And now they're being marketed to toddlers!!!

The failure of decrim advocates to point these things out makes me fear that they're afraid to criticize Big Pharma and the American Psychiatric Association. But if these things were known and publicized - along with the psychotherapeutic promise of psychedelics and the fact that they're non-addictive - then there should be a vast community of interested parties lined up to push through psychedelic legalization in order to unhook America and empower folks who are otherwise being turned into "eternal patients." But first someone's got to speak up to the American public and tell them that the psychiatric emperor is wearing no clothes - despite the fact that many doctors have appeared on shows like Oprah over the years (under the pay of Big Pharma) to suggest otherwise. But if we pretend that psychiatry as it exists now is just fine, then few people are going to get excited about legalizing exotic-sounding drugs that can replace the status quo.

2) There is another reason why the psychedelic decriminalization project does not attract more benefactors. That is because this approach ignores the root problem behind ALL drug laws, both in regard to psychedelics, cocaine and opium, etc. The original sin of the drug war is that, beginning in 1914, it began criminalizing Mother Nature's plants. I believe that this can and must be construed as a violation of the natural law upon which this nation was founded. Surely, Thomas Jefferson never for a moment thought that government had the right to give or withhold access to specific plants based on political considerations. I can think of no more obvious fundamental right than our right to what John Locke referred to as "the use of the earth and all that lies therein." By failing to make this point, and arguing for piecemeal legalization of certain plants instead, we are basically conceding that government does have the right to interfere with our access to Mother Nature's plants in the first place. We just want to carve out a few exceptions to that rule. But if we wish to unite all reformers with a common goal, we need to argue for the re-legalization of Mother Nature's plants, period, full stop - for which I've even created a bumper sticker on my website, AbolishTheDEA.com: "END DRUG WAR SHARIA - RE-LEGALIZE PLANTS."

Besides violating natural law, the drug war is a violation of the separation of church and state. Why? Because laws that prohibit the use of plant medicines represent the enforcement of Christian Science with respect to emotional healing. Again, this line of argument is one that can be advanced in regard to both psychedelics and cocaine, etc., and thus it is an approach that could bring together the otherwise culturally separated parties. Once we recognize the common denominator in all drug-war problems - the original sin of criminalizing plants - we reformers can all come together under one banner to denounce the DEA with one synchronized voice.

A comment about peyote and justice. I am sympathetic with those Native Americans who fear for the peyote supply. That said, as I understand it, their interest is in peyote that comes from specific traditional locations, such as southern Texas - and I do not believe that they would be materially injured if peyote were grown elsewhere and then used by non-Native Americans. In any case, I trust and hope that there is a way to respect all parties without using the icky expedient of embracing the intolerant and racist drug law itself. That's kind of like "finding some good" in the "three-fifths law" and embracing it for specific cases. In my opinion, we should be ending drug laws (which are really "plant laws"), rather than seeing how we can accommodate them to our own purposes, whatever our end goals might be.

In ending, I would like to share with you my number-one strategy for deconstructing the propaganda of the drug warrior: simply take drug war statements and replace the word "drugs" with "plants." For instance, when Trump says that he wants to execute drug dealers (a statement that sadly seems to resonate with many Americans) re-write the sentence as: "Trump wants to execute those who deal in Mother Nature's plants." That sounds a lot less reasonable, yet that's what the drug war really is: it's a war on plants (complete with philosophical links to the burning of plant-using witches and the Conquistadors' disdain for plant-centric religion). But the drug warrior knows that sounds silly. That's why they always replace the word "plants" with the pejorative and baggage-laden term "drugs."

Meanwhile, I invite you to visit my website, abolishthedea.com, and spread the word about its existence, if you believe in what I'm doing. I have about zero visitors per day because I neither advertise nor accept advertisements! But I am hoping to publish a book with my content later this year!

Best wishes, thanks, and stay well....
Ballard Quass

PS I believe the drug war in the west dates back to Emperor Theodosius in 392 CE when he abolished the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian Mysteries (after almost 2,000 consecutive years of overawing participants such as Plato, Cicero and Plutarch). Why? Because the Emperor (quite tellingly) considered the obviously compelling ritual to be a threat to Christianity. I believe that the modern drug war is waged for the same philosophical reason, to protect Christianity from a perceived metaphysical threat - and also for financial reasons: to support the Corrections Industry, Big Pharma, psychiatry, Big Liquor, and law enforcement - and finally to win elections for conservatives by removing leftists from the voting rolls (after arresting them for felony drug charges). Incidentally, that's another grievance on which all drug reformers can unite: the recognition that the drug war strategically steals elections for drug warriors by removing thousands of drug war opponents from the voting rolls.

PPS Better yet, put the Drug Warriors on the defensive for once. Demand that the DEA not simply be abolished, but call for a trial to prosecute those who have knowingly lied about medical godsends for 40+ years, along with DEA Chiefs like John C. Lawn, who have knowingly poisoned marijuana users with Paraquat, a weed killer that has been found to cause Parkinson's Disease. If the drug war is an actual war, then John C. Lawn is a war criminal, who knowingly poisoned Americans, knowingly endangering their lives and ultimately punishing a misdemeanor with the potential infliction of a catastrophic illness.

NOTE: Another way to interest a wider audience in psychedelics: Highlight their ability to facilitate the growth of neurons and then perform intense clinical trials with them on Alzheimer's patients. Impoverished ethnicities may think of psychedelic "trips" as a luxury, but surely they don't feel that way about preserving and restoring the memory capacity of their elderly parents.

NOTE 2: When Americans encounter unjust laws, they never do the right thing: seek to change the law in question. Instead, they seek to amend the law in order to help out certain interest groups. That's why the tax system in the US is such a mess. No one has the guts or energy to change the worse-than-byzantine nightmare that it's become. And so homeowners demand changes that will help them, investors request changes that will help them, corporations request changes that will help them -- and so the system becomes more byzantine every year.

This is why we hear talk of inequity in the fight against the drug war. One group wants to focus on this drug, the other on that. But just like in the tax example, both sides ignore the one unifying approach that the situation cries out for. Only by rejecting the drug war itself on first principles, as a violation of natural law, can we bring about a strategy that will unite all the stakeholders: including that often overlooked and totally "unleveraged" demographic: those who go without adequate medical treatment thanks to the DEA's lies about Mother Nature's medicines.

So the anti-drug war movement shoots itself in the foot. Its lack unity is all down to the fact that they are not focusing on the principal evil of the drug war, namely the fact that it unjustly criminalizes mother nature's plants and is thus a violation of natural law. Once you rule out fighting back on this the principal ground of complaint, you're left with only piecemeal protests that attack facets of the drug war based on parochial interests. This go-slow, selfish approach to fighting injustice is a recipe for overall failure. Until all parties recognize that the drug war is flawed root and branch, they will remain divided and achieve only partial victories.

How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities (permalink)

April 22, 2020

The Church of the Most Holy and Righteous Drug War

Got said, let there be a most righteous and holy drug war for my church and ban those evil plants that I made by mistake
.....And there went out from Judaea, a commandment forbidding the possession of psychoactive plants, for the King was sore enraged that his people might thence derive thoughts that did not conduce to the seamless governance of his dominion. And among these dangerously enlightening flora, hence to be stigmatized evermore with the epithet of 'drugs', were, in no particular order: the kava-kava root of the South Pacific Isles, the bark of the Virola tree of South America, the roots of Tabernanthe ibigoa of equatorial Africa, the Psilocybe cyanescens mushroom of the Pacific Northwest, and all manner of "sacred fungi" from Central America.

May the anti-drug lord give his blessings to today's scripture reading.

Looks like we have some newcomers in the pews today. Welcome one and all. Please remember to sign the register in the narthex as you leave later this morning. For those who would like to become a full member of the church, it's a simple process. Just bring a notarized urine sample to our mini lab located in the Sunday School building on the second floor. Once we verify that you are free of plant substances created by the devil, we will send you a formal invitation to join the Most Holy and Righteous Church of the Drug War on the Hill.

I know, I know. That name is a little confusing. It makes it sound like the drug war itself is on the hill, whereas, as we all know, the drug war is a universal struggle against evil plant medicines and thus is omnipresent. But the church had spent a small fortune on signs before someone brought these ambiguous connotations to the attention of the budget committee. And if I haven't confused you already, how about this? The true name of the church is not just the Most Holy and Righteous Church of the Drug War on the Hill. It is the Most Holy and Righteous Church of the Drug War on the Hill, Cathedral, Tabernacle, and Church Agape Fellowship and Daycare Center and Pillar and Ground of the Truth.

What can I say? That name was decided by committee during a very lengthy and acrimonious brainstorming session.

OK, get your hymnals out folks. We are now going to sing Rock of Ages, hymn number 295 in the New Drug War Edition of your songbook.

Just as sober as a judge
Through this wretched world I trudge
Full of sadness unalloyed
Leaving nature unemployed
But for my addictive pills
I renounce all hippie thrills.

Though my parents groan in death
Pot is never on their breath
Nor do mushrooms grow their brain
Nor the sacred ibogaine
Monkey see and monkey do
I am sober, how 'bout you?

Comes the sad man to a rope
When he gives up all his hope
But he could do worse than die
By deciding to get high
Let him go with drug-less breath
There are worser things than death.

"Worser things than death"? Oh, dear. Well, it's the first edition of the New Drug War Hymnal. I'm sure they will be making improvements as time goes on.

You guys may be seated, by the way.

(Whenever you're ready.)

Turning to church notices. The Royal Order of Self-Righteous Buffaloes will be holding free drug testing from 9:00 to 5:00 at the old firehouse on Stubbins Road from Monday through Friday of this coming week. Names of those who pass the test will be featured prominently in next week's bulletin. Remember, folks, if you pass ten certified drugs tests during a calendar year, you are eligible for our church sainthood program, which confers posthumous sainthood upon any congregation member who passes a minimum of 75 notarized drug tests during their lifetime.

I should mention, there is a nominal registration fee for the program: $50 per candidate per sainthood. There's also a $50 processing fee for anyone who fails a drug test since our staff then has to go back and recalculate your morality score while taking your lapse of sobriety into account. That may sound easy, but this requires a subjective determination by our Board of Bishops, and, well, our Board of Bishops can't even agree on what brand of toilet tissue to buy for the Sunday School building rest rooms.

That's all the time we have time for. I'll ask our organist, Goodie Temperance Babcock, to take us out of here with a big 'un everybody's kind of diggin'. It's Bach's Concerto for Orchestra and Drug Warrior in D Minor. It's all yours, Goodie!

The Church of the Most Holy and Righteous Drug War (permalink)

April 21, 2020

The War on Plants

The new American Conquistadores: using flame throwers to keep the world safe for Big Liquor

America's Drug War conquistadors go overseas to eradicate time-honored plants in the interests of Big Liquor and Christian Science
If you ever want to understand how absurd the drug war is, just substitute the word "plants" for "drugs" in your mind the next time politicians start blaming "drugs" for something.

"Today," says Donald Trump, "I am calling for the execution of those who deal in drugs."


"Today, I am calling for the execution of those who deal in Mother Nature's plants."

For that's what the drug war really is: A WAR ON PLANTS, and as such it is every bit as superstitious and idiotic as the war on plant-using females of the witch-hunt days, to which the drug war is philosophically linked. For witch hunting never died out in America: it is alive and well. The Cotton Mathers of the 21st century have just replaced the word "witch" with the term "drug user" and gone on their merry way persecuting Americans who they don't understand. What was the witch's crime, after all, but the fact that she achieved "forbidden knowledge" through the ritualistic use of psychoactive plants?

To put this another way: The Drug War is just a Christian Science crack down on those who use Mother Nature's medicines for psychological healing and to achieve higher states of consciousness.

Christian Scientists, as you know, believe that we should be able to cure ourselves physically without resorting to drugs. Likewise the Christian Science drug warrior believes we should be able to control our mood and our conscious states in general without resorting to plant medicine. I need hardly add that this latter Christian Science is hypocritical, since the drug warriors have no problem with tobacco or alcohol - or even with synthetic drugs from Big Pharma to which 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted even as I type this - with many SSRI antidepressants being harder to "kick" than heroin.

But drug warriors will never use the word "plants" for "drugs" because they know it will make them sound every bit as silly, stupid, and intolerant as they actually are.

Substitute "plants" for "drugs" and then think about so-called "drug testing." That all-American business practice suddenly turns into the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science Sharia.

This, my friends, is why the drug war needs to end: not because "it does not work," as my fellow liberals are fond of saying, but because it should not work, it MUST NOT work in a free society, least of all in a country that was founded on natural law: i.e., the idea that there are some rights that the government cannot take away, even under the guise of protecting its citizens from themselves: and the most obvious natural right in the world is what John Locke called our right to the earth "and all that lies therein."

This is not rocket science. It is obviously absurd and unconstitutional to criminalize plants. But tyrants and worrywarts still get away with it. How? By strategically using the word "drugs" in place of "plants."

The War on Plants (permalink)

April 17, 2020

The Joy of Drug Testing

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
They used to laugh at him, said he'd never be a stand-up comedian. Well, they're not laughing now. Give it up, please, gang, for Johnny O'Clonapan.


Oh, I'm sorry. Was that my cue?


That's far too subtle for me to pick up on.



Thanks for coming out. I should warn you, however, that there will be a drug test at the end of my gig.


So pay attention.


Of course, I myself have already taken a drug test before coming on tonight.

WOMAN: Uh-huh.

This is the DEA Lounge, after all, where you're judged not by the color of your skin, but by the contents of your digestive system.



I'm happy to say that I passed the drug test with flying colors.


Oh, thank you very much.

Oh, my government would be so proud of me.

CROWD: Awww!

The drug-testing lab didn't find so much as one single naturally occurring godsend in my system.

ANGELS: Praise God!

That's good because according to Christian Science Sharia, I am not allowed to work in America if I use plant medicine to improve my psychological condition.

Sounds like we have some drug war heretics in the house.

MAN: Yeah.

Speaking of which, it's a good thing that Freud got his psychotherapeutic work out of the way before America's drug war began. Otherwise, he'd be smoking his trademark cigars in the San Quentin prison yard.


Freud would be like:

FREUD: Yo, homie. You're in this joint because you had a bad relationship with your father. Wanna talk about it?

And the homeboy would be like:

HOMEBOY: Do you want me to bust your head, yo?


Listen to this here cokehead, talkin' about my father? That [bleep] is whack, yo.

And then there's Ben Franklin, who used to liberally avail himself of opium. Just think: If he had lived in the age of the drug war, he would have been a mere unemployed scumbag. Benjamin Franklin would be panhandling on the street, talking about:

FRANKLIN: Hey, dude, I just invented a lightning rod.

And the guy on the street would be like:

GUY: And you know where you can PUT that lightning rod, you damn junkie.


Here's an idea for a drug war: Let's criminalize tobacco and alcohol and throw everyone in jail who partakes of them. That's a drug war that I could get behind because it would give the hypocritical drug warriors a taste of their own medicine.


We'll have drug tests, too, and anyone who has drank or smoked within the last three weeks won't be able to get so much as a job at Taco Bell.


I was about to say you've been a great audience, but I really won't know that until I've learned what you guys have got in your respective digestive systems.


So let's take a short break while you all provide urine samples to our lab technicians.


What's the matter? Are you guys anti-American or something? Drug testing is as American as... as... as invading other countries to burn plants that other cultures have been using responsibly for thousands of years.


You do realize that this is the DEA Lounge, right? I'm sure that the powers that be are taking note of your anti-American reaction to my drug-testing proposal.

MAN: Uh-oh.

Uh-oh is right. Is there not one patriot in the house who is willing to take a patriotic piss for America?

[crickets chirping]

I'll take that as a no... as well as a sign that this lounge has a serious insect problem.



I'm going to be generous, though. On behalf of the United States government, I'm going to allow you to continue seeking gainful employment in the United States despite your failure to take my drug test.


Aren't I magnanimous?

WOMAN: Ah, yes.

Just remember: if you ever happen to ingest a natural substance that promotes happiness or motivation and provides you with psychological insight, chances are you are in violation of American Sharia.


So, spit that substance out at once.


WOMAN 2: Disgusting!

And kindly report yourself to the nearest DEA office.

MAN, siren wailing: Clear the way, folks: drug scumbag coming through!

[tires squeal] [brake engages] [car door opens & closes] [feet walking on gravel] [knock on door] [door creaks open]

FEMALE AGENT: Welcome to the DEA! [agent cackling]

They will then handle all the pesky details of ruining your life by consigning you to the nearest massively overcrowded penitentiary.

[cell door clangs]

FEMALE AGENT: Sleep tight! [agent cackling]


You've been a great audience... as far as I can tell. You sure you're not gonna piss for me?


OK, relax. There's no harm in asking. That's a shame, though, because I paid a pretty penny to have these lab technicians come along.

CROWD: Awww!

I guess they'll just have to go back to their labs to continue removing marijuana users from the American workforce.


They must be real proud of themselves. NOT!


EMCEE: Let's hear it for Johnny O'Clonapan!


Be sure to piss on demand for all employers and government personnel. Drug testing: it's the new 'free.' Better yet, read more essays on this outrage:

The Joy of Drug Testing (permalink)

April 17, 2020

The Depressing Truth About SSRIs

why psychedelic therapy must REPLACE modern psychiatry rather than simply complement it

MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Therapy, researchers fighitng pill-mill psychiatry and Big Pharma with the creative use of psychedelics
Open letter to MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies:

I keep hearing MAPS researchers use the phrase "those who don't respond to regular anti-depressants" when talking about clinical trials. This gives the impression that anti-depressants usually work just fine, but that is just plain wrong - although psychiatrists have been paid millions by Big Pharma to go on shows like "Oprah" and say otherwise.

If such pills are really the silver bullets they are purported to be, why is America more depressed than ever, statistically speaking, decades after these silver bullets hit the market?

Many of these medications are highly addictive and harder to kick than heroin! Heroin can be beat in one grueling week. Anti-depressants can take months as the brain chemistry attempts to return to normal. Some of these meds can NEVER be stopped. I wanted to get off of Effexor, but my doctor told me not to bother because recidivism rates are over 95% after three years.

About one in eight men and one in four women are addicted to Big Pharma antidepressants, according to psychiatrist Julie Holland. And now the pharmaceutical companies are going after the toddler market. This is a huge but silent scandal, especially when you consider Robert Whitaker's finding that antidepressants actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.

And yet MAPS researchers are silent on these issues. I can only guess that Big Pharma's influence is keeping them from recognizing the obvious. MAPS researchers should be pushing for psychedelic therapy to REPLACE modern antidepressants, not simply to eke out therapy for those supposedly rare cases that can't be "helped" by these deliberately addictive drugs (these annuities for Big Pharma executives).

And what do we even mean when we say that an antidepressant "works"? In the book "Psychedelic Medicine," Dr. Richard Louis Miller tells the story of a reporter who wrote a first-person story about Prozac. The reporter was bullish on the drug at first, saying that the medicine was definitely making him happier. But then he went to a family funeral and found to his horror that he felt nothing at all. Was Prozac working? You might say yes, it was working all too well. (This is not a surprise, since American psychiatry has a long history of defining "cures" as "treatments that render the patient more docile," as opposed to "treatments that help the patient achieve self-fulfillment in life.")

Anti-depressants are working great for Big Pharma, of course, bringing in $40 billion a year. They are swimming in dough from monthly purchases by addicts. But those who take the drugs are turned into eternal patients and are guinea pigs for substances that were never properly trialed for lifetime use. Worse yet, such patients are ineligible for participation in most new psychedelic therapies for fear of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

MAPS researchers should start speaking truth to power and tell Big Pharma that its whole pill-mill approach to psychiatry is wrong. As a victim of the status quo, I for one would appreciate to hear someone in the field actually recognizing that "eternal patients" like myself exist. I don't expect I'll ever get an apology from the psychiatry business for addicting me for a lifetime to a mind-numbing drug (one that offers no self-insight whatsoever), but it would be nice if someone in the field would at least acknowledge that there is a problem here.

That's why I won't be fully happy with MAPS until they start promoting psychedelic therapy as a REPLACEMENT for the status quo, rather than as a mere helpful adjunct for the Big Pharma pill mill.

The Depressing Truth About SSRIs (permalink)

April 16, 2020

The DEA: Poisoning Americans since 1973

mock ad for DEA Chief John C. Lawn's Weed Killer Paraquat: extra-strength to kill dandelions and poison pot smokers, giving them Parkinson's disease as well
EMCEE: Live from the DEA Lounge, it's the man who put the "psycho" in "psychoactive."


Mr. Johnny O'Clonopan.

That's my name, use it only as directed.


Thank you. Oh, you're too kind.

I will never understand how I got this gig at the DEA Lounge here in downtown Washington, D.C.


Apparently, the Human Relations staff failed to check my politics before signing me up.

The truth be told, I believe that the drug war is...

1) Anti-patient.


2) Anti-scientific.


3) Anti-minority.


4) A violation of the natural law upon which this country was founded.


5) A way for conservatives to steal elections by locking up thousands of their political opponents.


6) A make-work program for law enforcement that is their golden goose thanks to the highly lucrative forfeiture of so-called drug property.


7) A protection racket designed to shield Big Pharma and Big Liquor from competition.


And an excuse to invade other countries, often with the goal of burning plants that have been used responsibly for millennia by the locals but which now pose an unacceptable competition to the American liquor industry.

Well, aren't you guys going to gasp?


That's more like it.



No, seriously. How many of you saw Natalie Reyes, Nicolas Cage, and Laurence Fishburne in "Running with the Devil"?


Well, that's depressing. I didn't realize it was that popular.

WOMAN: Oh, yes.

So, let me get this straight: Natalie Reyes is the DEA Chief and she gets to torture and murder mere suspects because they were dealing in....


...oh, how horrible...



Thomas Jefferson is not simply rolling in his grave, he is doing handsprings and cartwheels.


I mean, did somebody say "Whirling Dervish"?

CROWD: Whirling Dervish!

I thought so. But then the DEA never cared much for Thomas Jefferson anyway. Thirty-five years ago, they stomped onto Monticello in their jackboots and stole the man's poppy plants.


I know, right? Let me tell you something, folks. U.S. elections aren't being swayed by the Russians, they're being stolen by American movie producers, like the ones responsible for this little 90-minute bit of drug war propaganda.

MAN: That's right.


I'd better get out of here. I hear they're having a celebration for former DEA head John C. Lawn. You remember Mr Lawn. He was the guy who tried to poison American pot smokers back in the 1970s by lacing marijuana plants with paraquat, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease.


What can I say? Your tax dollars at work during America's drug war.

WOMAN: Disgusting

You took the hash right out of my bong, lady.



Here's an idea. Since he likes that stuff so much, why don't we all chip in together and get him a birthday cake laced with the weed killer of his choice?

[siren wails]

Hey, I was just kidding. I would never try to poison someone with paraquat, unlike certain former DEA chiefs that I know.



MAN: For sheezy my neezy.

It's scary, though, because 35 years later, Master Poisoner John C. Lawn remains a hero in the eyes of the DEA, and if that doesn't tell you how corrupt this agency is, then nothing will.

WOMAN: Word.


My name is Johnny O'Clonopan, and my comedy is every bit as addictive as my Big Pharma namesake, baby. I'll be here until Friday, or until the DEA finally figures out that I hate their friggin' guts.



EMCEE: Let's put some hands together, please, gang, for Johnny O'Clonopan.

The DEA: Poisoning Americans since 1973 (permalink)

April 15, 2020

In Praise of Drug Dealers

replacing the modern barbaric treatment of so-called addicts with pharmacologically informed shamanism

drug dealing psychiatrists get patients hooked and don't apologize -- empathic drug dealers can make withdrawal bearable and have drugs far less addictive than anti-depressants
Imagine a drug dealer: not just any drug dealer, but a drug dealer with a big heart, a thorough knowledge of all psychoactive plants and fungi, and free and unhindered access to every such substance in the world.

How do you think he (or she) would deal with my desire to get off of alcohol, or heroin - or worse yet, one of the modern brand-name anti-depressants, which, as Julie Holland points out, are often more difficult to quit than heroin.

Do you think this drug dealer would send me to a high-rent flophouse and plop me on a couch for three days of cold-turkey hell (in the case of heroin) or of three months of cold-turkey hell (in the case of antidepressants)?

Of course not. He or she would shun this barbaric pseudoscientific protocol and fight fire with fire. How? By prescribing drugs that shout "YOU ARE OK!" just as loudly (or louder) than my withdrawal symptoms will be shouting "YOU ARE DYING." I'm talking about substances which, in the proper setting which our hypothetical dealer will naturally provide, will give me a new appreciation of the world of nature that surrounds me, will give me new insights into my place in the cosmos, and will help me adopt mindsets hitherto unimaginable for me by dint of which I can buck up against the down sides of withdrawal and march on in spite of them.

This dealer might even do the scientifically unthinkable and creatively use his vast natural pharmacopeia to give me an occasional "high" for no reason at all - or rather for the exact same reason that most people drink alcohol these days: namely, to get a break from full-on "reality" and thus a health-inducing vacation from stress in general.

One thing you can be sure of: My "drug withdrawal" would not necessitate the continual retching and puking that our modern puritanical therapists consider to be the addict's due. Nor would it require my self-abasement in front of a crowd of fellow "addicts," where I'm encouraged to speculate-at-will on the hidden forces and motivations behind my fall from grace.

The best thing that a modern therapist can tell an addict is that there's light at the end of a tunnel, but our drug dealer knows better: he (or she) knows how to light up the tunnel itself and make one's journey through it both bearable and therapeutic.

It's not surprising then that the government has such antipathy toward drug dealers, to the point where Donald Trump even wants to execute them. The drug dealers are the ones who threaten to break modern science's puritanical stranglehold on mental health therapy by revealing that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that the bare-bones ministrations that pass as addiction therapy these days are at once barbaric and ineffective compared to what a pharmacologically savvy empath could provide. That's why the drug warrior feels compelled to keep psychoactive substances illegal, not for the benefit of addicts, but rather to ensure that the government and Big Pharma maintain their highly lucrative monopoly when it comes to treating them.

In Praise of Drug Dealers (permalink)

April 5, 2020

The Drug War as a Make-Work Program for Law Enforcement

circular reasoning of drug warrior law enforcement: create black market, punish the violence it creates, and repeat
I was just watching an old episode of "In the Heat of the Night," in which drug runners feature prominently, of course. It made me wonder, what would TV have been like over the last 40 years without the drug war? Script writers would have had to get inventive and picture their bad guys performing actual crimes - rather than hunting them down for the pre-crime offense of possessing politically ostracized substances.

The absurdity of the situation is clear when Chief Gillespie is asked how the officers should confront a newly arrived suspect at a drug dealer's house.

"How do you want to deal with him?" asks Virgil.

"I wanna know what he's got in that backpack," says the Chief.

That says it all about law enforcement during the drug war: they're not interested in how anyone actually behaves: let the individual be as peaceful as a lamb, that means nothing. The police want to see what they have in the backpack, so that the full force of drug war sharia may be brought down upon them if they dare to possess plants of which the government disapproves.

If the police go out onto a peaceful street, their job is to MAKE trouble by poking into other's business, rather than leaving well enough alone and letting peaceful citizens go about their peaceful business. And we wonder why guns proliferate and bullets fly.

In a sane world, it would be none of the Chief's damn business what anybody had in a backpack. The question would be how is the suspect behaving? What a waste of resources is thus employed in ruining American's lives based on what plant medicines they have chosen to use.

But the Drug Warrior never gets it. Their anti-scientific and draconian laws create a black market that results in crack houses popping up thanks to the profit motive. Then they point to those very crack houses as the reason why the drug war must continue!!!

It's circular reasoning thanks to which the drug war can never end - unless uprooted root and branch by folks who point out that it's all a power grab and a violation of natural law to outlaw naturally occurring substances in the first place.

Think of the cost of the drug war: in terms of deaths and ruined lives and all the powerful psychoactive therapies for which even research is blocked, the soldiers going without powerful medicines for PTSD, the elderly going without powerful medicines for depression, the young minorities wasting away in overcrowded prisons for possessing natural substances that politicians have outlawed. Then ask yourself: would there be anything near this kind of drug-related suffering in the world had America NOT chosen to begin criminalizing plant medicines in 1914?

Obviously not. There was no drug problem prior to 1914. Why? Because back then people were still judged on how they actually behaved every day of their life and not on what natural substances they may or may not have in their digestive system.

But the power-hungry politicians saw an opening in 1914 and they ran through it.

Time to rewind and re-answer the question of how America intends to deal with substances: Let's try education this time instead of law enforcement. And let's not moralize about substance use, let's present the statistical facts on every substance known to humankind, without hypocritically leaving out alcohol and prescription drugs and tobacco, but definitely including every non-addictive psychedelic substance, substances which are now thought to promote the growth of new neurons in the brain - neurons that drug warriors could certainly use, judging by the illogical and circular reasoning that they continue to employ to this very day, over 100 years after Francis Burton Harrison succeeded in overturning natural law and criminalizing the use of a mere plant.

PS Not satisfied with arresting the perps, the Sheriff Bill Gillespie in the TV story gleefully confiscates the bad guy's property, under the tyrannical legal fiction that real estate may be held responsible for drug law violations. Of course, the property owner in the TV show is not a nice guy, so it's easy for American viewers to overlook the fact that the legal system is having a tyrannical heyday while cracking down on the mere substances that humans choose to ingest. Yet this passes as entertainment in America: watching law enforcement run roughshod over natural law and common sense, all in the name of combating a drug problem that the law itself has created out of whole cloth.

And then conservatives wring their hands, wondering, "Why do so many people fear, hate, and mistrust the police?" The answer: because the police aren't the police anymore: they are the enforcement arm of the ultra-strict Christian Science Sharia, AKA the war on plants, which tyrant politicians disingenuously refer to as the Drug War.

PPS Even in episodes that are not centered around drug dealing, the show gratuitously portrays cocaine use in the most lurid light possible, something of which only bad guy "trailer trash" partake, whereas Sigmund Freud used the stimulant liberally -- not in order to beat his wife and shortchange his business partners, but rather to goad himself on to a prolific vocational output that led to his self-actualization in life and his worldwide fame (but you will never see Hollywood portray cocaine used in THAT fashion, since that runs counter to their role in cranking out drug war propaganda to keep the war on plants going strong until the end of time).

The Drug War as a Make-Work Program for Law Enforcement (permalink)

April 1, 2020

How the Drug War Punishes the Elderly

Jeopardy answer: What is the triumph of common law over natural law and politics over science? The correct question: what is the drug war?
Are the elderly depressed? America wouldn't have it any other way.

How many readers know of an elderly friend or loved one wasting away in a nursing home? Let me see a show of hands.

Now, how many people know that this is a tragedy created by the Drug War?

Mother Nature's pharmacopeia contains a world of psychoactive substances that can be used in a strategic manner by a pharmacologically savvy empath to not only elevate mood, but to give the treated individual a new perspective on life, while encouraging the growth of new neurons in the brain.

But Drug Warrior America wants none of this. Why? Because they hold a masochistic Christian Science view that says it is somehow wrong to use psychoactive substances in this fashion, a view that's supported, unfortunately, by a breed of scientism that treats the human body as an interchangeable widget (a robotically functioning Newtonian animal) for which we must find one-size-fits-all "cures" that can be marketed in pill form by any psychiatrist with a prescription pad.

The result: as much as we Americans wring our hands about the suffering of the elderly, we wouldn't have it any other way. The Drug War mentality has fostered in us a knee-jerk association between psychoactive substances and hedonism, and we use that as an excuse to willfully ignore the myriad utopian scenarios whereby such substances could, in the hands of a pharmacologically savvy shaman, give the depressed elderly new hope and even help them make their peace with death.

In this sense, drug law sharia is a godsend to modern psychiatrists because it gives them the perfect excuse for doing such a poor job in treating the elderly. If we confront these psychiatrists with the utopian possibilities inherent in nature's pharmacy, they have only to respond that all the substances that could be used in that fashion are illegal. And so drug law sharia keeps an entire new treatment paradigm at bay, leaving psychiatrists with nothing but a handful of heavily marketed addictive pharmaceuticals wherewith to treat severe emotional deficits - and then we have the gall to ask where the opioid crisis comes from. The opioid crisis results from the fact that we have outlawed all of the non-addictive substances that can powerfully affect mood, leaving those who seek self-transcendence with few choices except for the highly addictive ones offered by Big Pharma.

It should come as no surprise that the drug war leads to such hideous outcomes, since the drug war is anti-scientific by design. It represents the triumph of politics over science, propaganda over logic, common law over natural law, and if the casualties of that doctrine include the depressed elderly, then so be it. America really wouldn't have it any other way. After all, pharmacologically informed shamanism can't be neatly fit into a capitalist format that can enrich shareholders. Besides, it would involve ending the drug war, which is the goose that lays the golden eggs for law enforcement and the corrections industry. And it would keep America from intervening in the country of its choice by playing the "narcotics" card, saying in effect: "You are dealing in plants that pose a threat to Big Liquor, therefore we can remove you from office."

And so the honest Drug Warrior would stand by the side of the depressed loved one and say: "Sorry, Mama, we'd like to make you feel better by ending the drug war, but then America would no longer have an excuse to intervene in countries of whose politics we disapprove!"

How the Drug War Punishes the Elderly (permalink)

March 29, 2020

The DEA's War on Alzheimer's Research

and how philosophers completely ignore the great philosophical problem of our times

alzheimer's -- made possible by America's DEA and the drug war -- about which today's navel-obsessed philosophers have nothing to say
Funny how we all come to regret some basic decisions in our lives. Take me, for instance. I am just a trifle galled by the fact that I did not become a board-certified philosopher in my 30s when I had that chance, because now, everything that I write on the subject of drugs is merely my opinion, (lil ol' me, one among billions), and so my thoughts on these topics are just as easily ignored as the next fellow's insane musings.

That said, I will maintain until my dying day that philosophy* is studiously ignoring the great philosophical problem of our times: the way that humanity has created a problem out of linguistic whole cloth merely by referring to natural godsends pejoratively as "drugs," beginning round about 1914 when the Harrison Narcotics Act decided that the root of substance abuse was to be found, not in human behavior, amoral capitalism and social arrangements, but rather in PLANTS, the very plants that surround us, thus turning nature overnight into a great temptress rather than a great healer.

Since then, a faux morality has arisen under the battle cry of "Just say no to drugs!" -- which is clearly a political statement, since nobody ever means that statement literally (given its implied exemption for alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, Valium, and anti-depressants, etc.) : hence that statement always means: "Just say no to those substances that have been politically determined to be bad for you and which we are not allowed to study because they are too evil to even touch!"

The use of the word "drugs" these days is so loaded with false and dubious presuppositions that you'd think philosophers would have a field day ending the drug war, not with the usual statistical arguments, but by appealing to first principles, beginning with the absurdity of outlawing mother nature's plants.

Instead, they're musing about whether any of us really exist, whether we're not all victims of a Matrix conspiracy, one so clever that it actually made Martin Luther King seem like a hero to us back in the '60s when he may have well been a mere holographic projection of some great hidden alien manipulator who got a kick out of forcing us puppets to become passionate and compassionate about mere mirages. (Yeah, right.)

Just when the world needs philosophy the most, the philosophers have literally gone mad, and modern science along with it. (Even the seemingly sensible Neil deGrasse Tyson has asserted that we humans may well be mere data points that are being manipulated by some God-like computer programmer, and if that's what the sensible scientists are thinking, heaven shield us from the irrational ones.)

Some readers (assuming this stuff is eventually read, if only decades from now) might say that "drugs" are a parochial issue, since many folks get along just fine using only the politically approved substances available to us, but this is wrong. The drug war has devastating effects on everybody's health, no matter how determined a particular individual may be to avoid illegal substances.

Take Alzheimer's disease. One would assume that everyone, including the government, is in a hurry to defeat that scourge.

Wrong. The DEA has outlawed the mere research of a whole class of drugs (namely psychedelics) which show the power to regenerate memory and facilitate -- if not actually cause -- the growth of new neurons. In a sane world, these tantalizing hints would be followed up with a huge government investment in research in order to glean the therapeutic benefits of this new discovery.

We also know that stress can promote, if not cause, cancer. So when we ban substances that reduce stress, we give cancer a green light to spread in those patients who are genetically disposed to acquire it.

But the scientistic drug war logic has so blinded us to our own interests that we knowingly prevent this vital research, merely because it would involve the free use of substances that politicians have decided to demonize and ban.

This situation won't change until philosophers stop counting aliens on pinheads and finally take up the task of unveiling the illogical and disingenuous premises behind America's imperial drug war, which it maintains worldwide on threat of invasion. Is a country leaning toward socialist policies of which America disapproves? No problem. Let's invade in order to topple a "narcoterrorist." Is an eastern country growing plants that pose a threat to the liquor industry? No problem. Cut off their aid until they let us come in and burn their plants.

America is just plain screwed by the drug war, and American authors are self-censoring. Thus folks write whole books about the depression problem -- entirely ignoring the role that the drug war plays in limiting our emotionally therapeutic arsenal to a handful of addictive Big Pharma meds. Thus folks write whole books about relaxation techniques, totally ignoring the fact that the drug war outlaws all substances that could help us understand and adopt the kind of peaceful mindset that the authors are promoting.

I could go on and on -- were it not for the fact that I failed to get the above-mentioned philosophy certifications 30 years ago and thus have to go back to my day job even as we speak.

But I hope someone digs up this post after I'm gone and does me the favor of recognizing that America is on the wrong politically motivated track -- and that philosophers need to wake up and take notice: not for vague libertarian reasons but for the health of world democracy and ourselves when we grow old -- when, God forbid, we ourselves suffer from the Alzheimer's curse for which our anti-scientific drug war has blocked the cure.

*to the extent that it's currently staring at its board-certified navel, wondering if reality even exists -- and here I will mercifully refrain from naming such over-rationalizing offenders as Daniel Dennett and Donald Hoffman

The DEA's War on Alzheimer's Research (permalink)

March 26, 2020

The Educational Use of Psychoactive Plants

Music Appreciation Class in the Year 2120

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
If there's one thing that the drug warrior steadfastly ignores, it is the power of many criminalized substances to sharpen the mind and increase appreciation of the world around us. That's why Thomas De Quincey indulged before visiting the opera, not in order to "party down" but rather to delightedly devote his full mental capacities to the orchestra; that's why Edgar Allan Poe's Augustus Bedloe indulged before exploring mother nature, not to "get high" according to the drug warrior's vulgar definition of that term, but to be sure that he delighted in each and every botanical wonder that came before his eyes, rather than stumbling through a world of vague greenery, which is all that generally registers in the blurry eye of the hurried "ennuye man of the world," as Poe would have put it.

This therapeutic propensity of Mother Nature's plant medicine is often so pronounced, in fact, that I believe we can look forward to a day in which society sanctions the strategic use of such substances for the express purpose of bringing about such otherwise elusive goals as "music appreciation," even in subjects for whom a minuet by Bach (let alone a concert by Mahler) might have hitherto sounded like a mere cacophony of purposeless audio waves.

The only thing stopping us from employing such pedagogical strategy (other than drug law, of course) is the unexamined notion that there is something wrong with using Mother Nature's plants to improve our cognition and enjoyment of the world around us. This belief, however, is nothing but a matter of Christian Science faith on the part of the drug warrior. There is, in fact, no rational reason why human beings should forego the benefits of Mother Nature's pharmacy. We certainly do not adopt that prejudice when it comes to physical health; to say that we should employ it in the realms of mental health and human consciousness is mere Christian Science prejudice.

Here's where the hypocritical drug warrior will wring his or her hands about the supposed potential for addiction in such a scheme, failing to notice that America is already the most addicted country in the world, not because of cocaine, opium and magic mushrooms but because of the daily use of prescription anti-depressants by more than one-eighth of the American population, some of which "medicine" has a recidivism rate equal to that of heroin. Indeed, so many American women are addicted to these emotion-muting drugs -- a staggering one out of four -- that we have a nation full of real-life Stepford Wives courtesy of Big Pharma.

Rather than blowing the whistle on this overmedicated dystopia, drug warriors spend their time lying about Mother Nature's medicines. But despite drug war hysteria to the contrary, the fact is that opium and cocaine are not addictive when used in moderation, whereas modern antidepressants are addictive EVEN WHEN THEY ARE USED AS DIRECTED. Besides, the most powerful music appreciation drug of all is probably a psychedelic substance, and psychedelics are about the least addictive drugs in the world. At any rate, the pedagogical utopia of which I write presupposes a world in which we've exchanged the Drug Enforcement Agency with the Drug EDUCATION Agency, an organization that presents only statistical facts about substance-use outcomes for every psychoactive substance in the world - including alcohol and anti-depressants, along with a list of not only the potential drawbacks of these substances, but their potential benefits as well.

Once America stops enforcing Christian Science sharia, music appreciation class will finally truly be music APPRECIATION class.

EPILOGUE: I was recently watching a Great Courses lecture series by Professor Robert Greenberg entitled "Understand Great Music." As fabulous as his lectures are, Professor Greenberg says absolutely nothing during these lectures about the astonishing fact that many of Mother Nature's godsend plants seem custom-made to help us appreciate music, which is, after all, the very goal of the Professor's lectures. Surely he should at least mention this astonishing fact in passing. Unfortunately, Greenberg, like the rest of us, would never think of bringing up the topic. He's heard all the drug war lies about how mother nature's plants "fry the brain," never stopping to think that he was being blatantly lied to by Christian Science enemies of Mother Nature's godsends. (Freud used "coke," Benjamin Franklin used "opium," Francis Crick used psychedelics, and none of their brains were fried: to the contrary, their minds were focused and inspired by their strategic use of the substances in question.)

Nor will many of Greenberg's students "call him" on this omission (in fact, I'm the first and so far only one to even notice it, as far as I can tell). Yet I trust and hope that one day this omission will be "glaring" to all sensible people, that it will be natural to speak of using Mother Nature's plants to facilitate learning, to inspire students, and to give them a deep appreciation of the natural world around them. That day will only arrive, however, when Americans abandon the superstitious anti-nature drug war and start considering psychoactive plants objectively, and with a view toward how they can be safely used to achieve real-world educational goals, starting, first and foremost, with inspiring a love of music in formerly tin-eared students.

The Educational Use of Psychoactive Plants (permalink)

March 20, 2020

Virus Update

Keeping track of the dreaded Drug War Virus

Drug War virus continues to spread with formerly free countries blocking access to Mother Nature's plants
Just a quick message to let our readership know that we are doing everything we can to fight the drug war virus. The first and most important step is to recognize the symptoms of an infected person:

1) Pathological obstinacy. Those infected with the Drug War Virus stubbornly fail to recognize that criminalizing medicinal plants is the unconstitutional enforcement of Christian Science with respect to psychological healing.

2) Selective amnesia. Infected persons conveniently "forget" that Mother Nature's plants and fungi are the birth right of every human being under the natural law to which the American Declaration appealed in arguing against British injustice.

3) Logical confusion. The infected person also fails to realize that all the problems of drug abuse are either directly brought about or greatly exacerbated by the Drug War itself.

What can you do?

The key is to practice social distancing. Keep at least 6 feet away from every known or suspected drug warrior and their specious arguments. In so doing, you will underscore your contempt for the shoddy reasoning and fascist tendencies apparent in every carrier of the Drug War virus.

Virus Update (permalink)

March 19, 2020

The Totally Unspoken Truth About Drugs

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
America (and hence the world) will never understand substance use until it grasps the following so-far unacknowledged truths:

Besides being used in order to secure what the puritan drug warrior would call "a cheap high," many of the substances that we love to hate can be (have been and will be) used for:

This is all common sense that not only the drug warrior but modern psychology largely ignore, preferring instead to classify illegal drug use as drug abuse and therefore conveniently ascribing it to disease in the DSM manual and so not having to deal with the philosophical motivations of such use. In fact, according to popular wisdom, a personality becomes pathologically addictive precisely to the extent that they manifest a desire for the above outcomes through their substance use.

This is all drug war folly however that does not stand up to the least bit of philosophical scrutiny. Early Vedic religion was founded to celebrate the religious transcendence afforded by a psychoactive plant or fungi. Meanwhile forbidden psychoactive plants have fostered creative visions that led to the discovery of DNA and the authorship of classic literature. As for motivation, Freud was what today's puritan drug warrior would have called a "drug fiend," but it is mere Christian Science faith to suppose that his enormous vocational output would have been passed down to posterity without his frequent use of cocaine.

Psychiatry is doubly hypocritical in ignoring the philosophical ramifications of this latter case, since it begs the question: If Freud successfully combated his own self-limiting demons using the real politik of cocaine, why should his patients be forced to rely on theoretical cures and the starkly limited pharmacopeia of the drug war?*

Why is it crucial that America recognize the above-noted reasons for so-called "drug use"? Because only then will it be clear that the vicious DEA crackdown on mere possession of substances is far more than a crackdown on juvenile delinquents and other "undesirables": it is a crackdown on consciousness, transcendence, artistic possibility, and spirituality in the deepest sense of those words. It is a limitation not simply on thought, but on the very way that we are allowed to think. It is the Christian Science celebration of "sobriety" as the ultimate good, a religious stance which, like any religious stance, should be tolerated in a free country but never, as in drug warrior America, made the law of the land.

"Sobriety" itself is a philosophically fraught word, of course: we are all influenced by chemicals -- the sober individual is simply he or she who has the default chemicals in their system, including in America's case plenty of caffeine, both in coffee and in the rabidly marketed pep pills of 21st century America. So even our use of the word "sobriety" is hypocritical, for it shelters the drugs of caffeine, tobacco, alcohol (and indeed Big Pharma anti-depressants) under its linguistic wing thus shielding their use from the otherwise meticulous moral scrutiny of the hypocritical drug warrior.

By ignoring the above truths, we allow for a world full of unnecessary suffering: the depressed senior citizen moaning to themselves in homes for the elderly, the suicide who died for want of the motivation that a mere plant could have afforded but which we denied him in our self-righteous Christian Science callousness, the would-be artist whom we have shackled in their own emotional self-doubt by superstitiously denying them the motivating plant-medicine that, until 1914, had been that individual's birth right under natural law merely for having been born on planet earth.

*Note that my goal here is not to trash Freudianism, insofar as it posits subconscious motivations for seemingly inexplicable human behavior. To the contrary, Stanislav Grof has produced tantalizing evidence that psychedelic therapy can bring back otherwise inaccessible memories from birth, that can then be processed therapeutically with an empathic counselor. With this in mind, we can say that classic "talk" psychotherapy is not necessarily a bad approach: rather it is one that, in the absence of such psycho-pharmaceutical adjuncts, has proven itself to be hugely expensive, glacially slow in terms of progress, and, at best, marginally successful in helping a patient cope, let alone thrive. Once we remove political prohibitions from medicine and actually treat patients with substances that work, psychotherapy may finally come into its own, as the psychic amnesiac is powerfully reminded of emotions that have been so long repressed.

The Totally Unspoken Truth About Drugs (permalink)

March 14, 2020

Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation

a philosophical review of The Quantum Doctor by Amit Goswami

Christian Science law enforcement ahead: as Drug War cops check for outlawed plant medicines
In "The Quantum Doctor, Amit Goswami discusses the different uses of so-called alternative (or "integral") medicine versus allopathic medicine, in an effort to claim that each has its proper place in the medical world. What he fails to point out, however, is that this distinction between homeopathy and allopathy is really a creation of two related forces: the drug war and capitalism, and is not fundamentally a result of differing medical views. If there are different medical ideologies at play here, they themselves were fostered, if not created, by the drug war (its stark limitations on what may be legally prescribed) and capitalist practice (the need to find one-size-fits-all cures that will be most profitable to the doctor and pharmaceutical companies that provide them).

Amit Goswami, for all his valuable insights, makes the mistake of almost every other author when it comes to discussing these subjects: he ignores the role of the drug war in influencing the "facts on the ground," writing as if the American healthcare system existed on a level playing field when it comes to deciding what sorts of medical treatment we should value and pursue. The fact is that literally all of the most powerful and efficacious "mood medicines" of Mother Nature have been outlawed by the drug war, so that we can only guess what sorts of treatment Americans would choose if they were actually given the freedom to make such a choice.

Amit's goal seems to be to promote "alternative" therapies in a way that will not be a turn-off to allopathic doctors, by saying that each treatment style (homeopathy and allopathy) has its usefulness. A better approach would be to argue for complete medical freedom via the abolition of drug-war restrictions, after which a doctor will be encouraged to use all possible approaches, without attempting to recognize or draw a sharp line between the medicines based on the philosophical systems that their use seems (to us at least) to presuppose. As Amit himself points out, some allopathic drugs function homeopathically (in preventing illness). Amit, however, claims that "alternative" therapies do not function rapidly -- but, again, he is reckoning here without the drug war. The fact is that many natural (alternative) "mood medicines" DO function rapidly. The problem is that they are illegal and simply cannot be used.

Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation (permalink)

March 4, 2020

Surprise Drug Test!

No sharing answers -- or urine!

Drug test! Use of Mother Nature's godsend plants is fine, but those testing positive for alcohol will be promptly expelled.
Hup! Stay right where you are. This site is implementing a surprise drug test on all site visitors.

Hey, zip your zippers back up, guys! My word! This is not THAT kind of drug test -- though I see that the Drug War has already conditioned you folks to submit meekly to the unConstitutional demands of America's Christian Science Sharia, according to which no one is allowed transcendence except through alcohol, with Mother Nature's plants being completely off-limits for that purpose.

Have a seat, and please use a number two pencil -- or a mouse. Whatever.

1) I only have a true right to the plants that government has decided are politically acceptable for personal use. True or false?

2) The drug war is flawed because it can't work. True or false?

3) Opium is a drug from hell and should be eradicated at all cost. True or false?

4) Cocaine is evil because it is associated with murder, money laundering, and inner-city violence. True or false?

[five minutes later]

I see several of you are still furiously scribbling -- which is odd, first because this is not an essay test and second because you should probably be using your mouse, not your pencil.

Those of you who are finished should put your heads down on your desk top, just like in grade school.

Psych! Not really. I'm just seeing how far you guys will abase yourselves, given the fact that 99% of you would gladly give your urine to faceless corporations for them to verify that you have been a patriotic American and forsworn Mother Nature's medical bounty entirely.

Mind you, I can't blame you, since American Sharia states that you either submit to that body check or you starve, insofar as you are pushed out of the drug-testing work environment. Drug testing, indeed. Let's see them start testing to see if anyone drank alcohol in the last month. That would be REAL drug testing. Everything else is just Anheuser Busch's way of cornering the market on providing human transcendence.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes. STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jimmy, will you collect the papers, please? And zip your fly up while you're at it. For Chrissakes!

OK, here are the answers:

1) I only have a true right to the plants that government has decided are politically acceptable for personal use. True or false?

The answer is false. Our access to (and use of) plants is guaranteed by natural law, by no less an authority than John Locke. Common law (and what law is more common than the drug law) cannot justifiably rescind our right to access and use Mother Nature's plant medicines.

2) The drug war is flawed because it can't work. True or false?

False! The drug war is a violation of natural law. It is the institution of Christian Science sharia in the States and Drug War colonialism abroad. It doesn't matter whether it could "work" -- the point is that it should not and must not work. The miracle powers of mother nature's medicines are not something government has a right to dole out or withhold based on political considerations. When they try to do so, they create a violent black market and run roughshod over the rights of ancient civilizations and cultures, forcing them to turn to alcohol rather than the moderate time-honored use of opium and the coca plant. That colonialism must not succeed. The drug war is flawed, root and branch.

3) Opium is a drug from hell and should be eradicated at all cost. True or false?

False. Opium has been used in moderation by cultures for millennia. When the upstart US travels abroad to eradicate the opium poppy, they are simply forcing other countries to accept alcohol as the drug of choice. Likewise, when the DEA stomps onto Monticello in jackboots and steals Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants, they are simply insisting on the supremacy of alcohol as the one and only allowable drug of transcendence in the United States -- a shabby vomit-inducing substance when compared to the moderate use of the substances which we have decided to hate as a matter of political policy.

4) Cocaine is evil because it is associated with murder, money laundering, and inner-city violence. True or false?

False. Yes, cocaine is associated with murder, money laundering and inner-city violence, but why this connection? Answer: Because of the drug war, which creates a violent black market, as do any laws that forbid the use of a popular and prevalent substance. Was the coca plant the plant from hell when it helped Sigmund Freud attain self-fulfillment in life through incessant work? Is it a plant from hell when used ritually in South America? No, coca is from hell only in the minds of the Drug Warrior who thinks that any drug comes from hell if it dares to compete with alcohol when it comes to providing human beings with relaxation and self-transcendence.

Score Your Results

1 wrong: You are bamboozled by the drug war. Your punishment? Read Ceremonial Chemistry by Thomas Szasz.. It should clear your head of the remaining illogical cobwebs spun there by the hyperactive spider of drug war propaganda.

2 wrong: You are really confused, my child. Your penance is to read not only Ceremonial Chemistry by Thomas Szasz. but at least one other book from the Anti-DEA bookstore here at abolishthedea.com.

3 wrong: The bad news is, you have been totally bamboozled by drug war propaganda. The good news is, I've got some swamp land in New Jersey for you that I can pass on at a bargain price! Meanwhile, for your punishment, buy and read at least THREE books from the Anti-DEA bookstore here at abolishthedea.com.

4 wrong: Your name wouldn't happen to be Jesse Jackson, Sr., would it? No? How about Donald Trump? Because it's hard to know who is more screwed up by Drug War prejudice these days, the left or the right. Your punishment... Oh, never mind, you're hopeless, I'm afraid. Unless you really WANT to change, in which case I plead with you to buy and read at least FOUR (count 'em, FOUR) books from the Anti-DEA bookstore here at abolishthedea.com.

By the way, if you got them all right, congratulations! Please get in touch with me and tell me so, because I'd love to hear that I'm not the last man on earth that understands these things, now that the clear-eyed but shamefully ignored Thomas Szazs is no longer with us. If you don't think that Thomas Szazs' insights are shamefully ignored, just read pretty much any article in the mainstream (or, indeed, even fringe) media on the subject of the drug war. Every single one of them that I've read is in the thrall of one or more of the kind of nonsensical drug-war assumptions highlighted above. It's not just that they don't agree with Szasz, it's that they never even bother to address his many cogent points, let alone refute them, so convinced are they of one or more of the tacit assumptions held dear by the good old-fashioned patriotic drug warrior of 21st-century America.

What Have We Learned

It's amazing how many of my students get question number two wrong, even though they consider themselves to be solid foes of the drug war.

But the fact is that any time I hear or read someone say "The Drug War isn't working," I know that they, too, have been bamboozled by drug war propaganda.

Why, I want to ask them, SHOULD the drug war be allowed to work? That's the question.

The Drug War is an instance of the common law trumping the natural law, which should be constitutionally impossible in America. For what could be more patently obvious than that the products of Mother Nature are mine solely by dint of my having been born on planet Earth? Thus the Drug War must be opposed on first principles, without regard to its supposed efficacy in fighting a politically established whipping horse such as "drug abuse." Once we grant that government may legitimately allow or withhold access to the various plants and fungi of the world, we have already surrendered to the drug warrior ideology whereby government allows or forbids personal transcendence at will.

Why do so many otherwise sensible freedom advocates make this mistake? It's because they are under the thrall of another bit of drug war propaganda according to which natural plant medicines (such as opium, coca, and psychedelics) can have no possible use except in supplying a hedonistic "high" for morally challenged individuals.

The obvious response to this complaint, were it true, should be so what? These are still plant substances and it is not in your power to prevent me from using them in a country that is founded on natural law. Yes, you can punish me if I endanger others, but in that case you must punish me for that endangerment, not for the pre-crime offense of using plants.

But, in fact, the drug warrior is missing a whole realm of drug use which has nothing to do with hedonism: that use in which a person enters a mind-expanded state in order to improve performance (as in the case of Sigmund Freud) or to become more creative (as in the case of Poe and Lovecraft) or to commune with deity (as in the case of Native Americans and soma-worshipping Indians) or simply to lead a happy life while making others happy (as in the case of Robin Williams or Benjamin Franklin). Besides, even when substance use presents all the outward signs of a hedonistic practice, it yet provides the user with a relaxing break from pressing mortal concerns, and this relaxation can have demonstrably therapeutic results (lower blood pressure, the happiness that naturally arises in anticipation of achieving such occasional blissful states). It doesn't help matters that psychology itself typically ignores these benefits of illegal substances, insisting with the Drug Warrior that our bio-pharmacological whipping boys can have nothing but negative effects for the user.

Unfortunately, many (indeed most) enemies of the drug war commit this same mistake, insofar as they often argue as follows: "Yes, illegal drug use is irresponsible and regrettable, but it's going to happen anyway, so let's allow it."

It's tepid arguments like this that allow the drug warrior to get on a moral high horse, travel abroad, and, in an act of breathtaking imperialism, unilaterally outlaw plant medicines that compete with alcohol, where substances like coca and opium have been used responsibly for millennia, often in religious and ceremonial ways. We simply say, "Drink our alcohol instead," and threaten to punish countries militarily and/or financially should they demur.

How do we live with ourselves after committing these colonialist outrages? We tell ourselves that the substances we have banned are not good for human beings, never questioning why we should be making that determination for the entire world (in the face of millennia of history that says otherwise), especially since our actions represent the de facto promotion of liquor as the one-and-only go-to drug for achieving release and transcendence - a shabby drug whose truly hedonistic use is routinely associated with vomiting, blackout and headaches - to be contrasted starkly with the personal insight and self-awareness that the judicious use of many outlawed plants has been shown to foster.

Why don't even drug war opponents get this? Because they're in thrall to the drug war notion that the mere use of illegal substances constitutes, in and of itself, "drug abuse."

To those who think that they are somehow saving the world from addiction, please wake up. America is the most addicted country in the world, with well over 1 in 10 Americans a bounden slave to anti-depressants, some of which have a relapse rate identical to heroin, to say nothing of America's thousands of alcoholics. Which reminds us of the hypocrisy of the drug warrior, who sees alcoholism as a personal weakness or disease and considers psychiatric medicine to be scientific and thus beyond reproach. But if one has a problem with any other substance, then it is suddenly the fault of the substance, not the individual.

And so society portrays liquor use as perfectly fine if done responsibly, while ahistorically insisting that there is no such thing as responsible use of substances that our politicians have decided to ban.

Be sure to piss on demand for all employers and government personnel. Drug testing: it's the new 'free.' Better yet, read more essays on this outrage:

Surprise Drug Test! (permalink)

March 3, 2020

Drug Warriors Fiddle while Rome Gets Nuked

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
If beer-swilling Drug Warriors are fidgety and want to dedicate themselves to a cause other than drug war colonialism and the overthrow of natural law in America, they might consider channelling their hypocritical hyperactivity toward the worthy goal of preventing nuclear winter. Readers familiar with Ellsberg's "Doomsday Machine" and Schlosser's "Command and Control" know that we are sitting on a time bomb thanks to the proliferation of thermonuclear weapons - weapons for which the Hiroshima A-bomb is simply a fuse.

Yet, somehow the big enemies today are all of mother nature's godsend plants. (Huh?)

In short, our priorities are about as wrong as they can be. We ignore one ginormous problem in order to focus on a problem of our own making: namely, the violence and unrest that naturally results from outlawing naturally occurring substances (not to mention the needless suffering of billions of mortals, forced to go without medicines that have emotionally solaced humanity for millennia).

Have you ever heard of the Damascus Incident, that nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated a third of the country? How about the nuclear bomb that landed on Goldsboro, North Carolina and miraculously failed to detonate?

An intelligent people would be grateful for these narrow escapes and demonstrate that gratitude by implementing major reforms, the exact same reforms that would have been demanded by an outraged public had either of these potential catastrophes actually taken place: reforms involving the end of nuclear proliferation with the goal of outlawing such weapons universally. If America needs to flex its muscles overseas, this would give it a chance to do so in a moral cause, rather than in the colonialist folly of telling other countries which plants they are allowed to consume.

Yet America's Congress and its military have conspired to hush up the fact that we are living on borrowed time. Meanwhile, they distract us with a Quixotic scheme to prevent the use of any plant substance that poses a threat to liquor distributors.

Ironically, I believe that nature's psychoactive plants, far from being our enemies, are the only hope for humankind. I know that a number of old-school psychedelic enthusiasts now consider themselves to have been naïve for positing that LSD and such could bring about world peace. But I say to them, not so fast. How can we pronounce on the merits of an enterprise that drug-law has thus far forbidden us to meaningfully undertake? That LSD is not an answer in itself I can readily grant. But there are thousands of psychoactive plants out there, many of which could (especially in the proper "set and setting") restore to the human creature the ability to feel deep empathy for its fellows.*

Far from banning such research, we should be fast-tracking and encouraging it, with a goal of nothing less than saving the human race from its own other-hating disposition.

For, given the dicey "situation on the ground" right now viz nukes, I believe our only real hope is to pharmacologically alter human beings such that they all feel a deep natural empathy for each other. And there is every reason to believe that plant medicines, wisely chosen and wisely employed, can go far in accomplishing this task. When a human being is sick, you give it medicine; likewise when an entire species is sick.

I ask those who demur to suggest a more promising strategy to get humanity out of this booby-trapped world that we've created for ourselves.

For me, at least, the cliché is proving itself to be true: "All you need is love." That's truly all the human species needs to survive. What we've failed to realize, however, is that this love is not optional. Without sincere inner love for each other, the human race's days are numbered. And anyone who thinks that this love can be brought about without the help of mother nature's medicines is even madder than the normal human crackpot. Nor is there any reason to reject the freely offered help of mother nature in this regard, unless, like the drug warrior, we have a Christian Science disdain for the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

In which case, I ask the drug warrior to look at all of the trembling, inexperienced, lackadaisical and grumpy fingers on the nuclear trigger these days and ask yourself one question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do you, punk?

*Of course, you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. Check out this article entitled "What Would Happen If Everyone Truly Believed Everything Is One," by Scott Barry Kaufman in Scientific American.


If I were a doctor and the world came to me asking to be cured of its suicidal tendencies, I would start by prescribing it MDMA (aka Ecstasy). That drug brought together all races in the UK in the late '80s to create the peaceful feel-good music scene known as the rave.

In the words of DJ Ray Keith:

It was the first time that black-and-white people had integrated on a level, they were all popping Es, and everybody was one.

RX for E: use as needed to avoid being a jerk toward your fellow human being

Want to save the world from committing suicide through nuclear annihilation? Prescribe Ecstasy to be taken as needed -- to combat the human being's propensity to be a jerk toward his fellow human being.

Unfortunately, the drug war always ruins such things, as part of the following self-fulfilling prophecy:

Criminalization of drugs like Ecstasy makes it impossible to use those substances in the safest possible way, since even research on these substances is banned. Then when this anti-scientific situation results in a death (as when Leah Betts dies from hydration issues after taking E), the drug warriors use that as a reason to continue the drug war. Why? Because they have the drug warrior habit of blaming substances for problems rather than people, societies, and social attitudes.

The Brits at the time put up stark black billboards across the nation with the single word "Sorted" on it -- above a picture of Leah Betts as a happy-go-lucky grade schooler, beneath which in tiny print was a phrase stating that Leah had been killed by one single, solitary little E tablet. The message: the evil drug known as Ecstasy killed Leah Betts.

Nonsense. Ecstasy in this case was merely what Aristotle would call the Efficient cause of Leah's death, the cause which simply tells us how things happen but not why. The real reason for Leah's death, what Aristotle calls the Final cause, was the drug war itself. Why? Because it made it impossible to research the drug and provide information on its safe use. Instead, the drug war demonizes illegal substances, criminalizing their mere study, so that no basic safety information can be shared with users, information that in this case would have saved Leah's life.

MDMA is one of the least dangerous drugs in the world, when used properly -- but the drug war makes such substances impossible to use properly because no one is allowed to so much as study them (though happily in the case of MDMA, folks at MAPS and elsewhere have found ways around those prohibitions). Do a safety comparison between MDMA and liquor and you'll see the biggest shut-out in research history -- with liquor facilitating countless deaths compared to one or two anomalous deaths caused by MDMA, with all those latter deaths being easily avoidable in a world where drug safety information is encouraged, not suppressed.

And the result of this anti-scientific demonization? The drug of choice at raves switches from Ecstasy to crack cocaine and the ambience switches from peace and love to gangsters and gunfire. And so the UK's version of "The Summer of Love" was followed by a decade of hate and gun violence. And so the drug war is at it again, manufacturing violence out of whole cloth.

As rave security expert Adrian Saint observes:

And the problem then is... it's a different ambience. It's, all the gangsters come out. It turned from a lovely, "Ah, rave, everybody just cuddle," to actually now everyone's a gangster.

And all because of the absurd anti-scientific drug war that turns amoral substances into scapegoats for bad social policies, like the drug war itself: a policy that keeps us willfully ignorant about substances, under the absurd belief that drugs become pure evil the moment they are criminalized by politicians.

Drug Warriors Fiddle while Rome Gets Nuked (permalink)

March 3, 2020

Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser

author of 'The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous'

Drug Warriors Anonymous: you too can be cured and think straight again.  Addiction doesn't have to be a nightmare. Alcoholics can remake themselves with nature's godsend meds rather than the racist administration of naltrexone.

I hope you're open to the following honest criticism about an excellent article that you wrote for the Atlantic entitled "The Irrationality of Alcoholics Anonymous."

Yours Sincerely,

Ballard Quass


Like almost every other writer on the topic of addiction, you write as if we are living in a free country as far as scientific research is concerned and that we can therefore draw adequate generalizations from the status quo. To the contrary, we live under a drug-war sharia that strictly outlaws almost all research of psychoactive drugs, many of which could work wonders with alcoholics and other addicts. Although you don't mention this, Bill Wilson himself had great initial success in treating alcoholics with LSD. It was not science that stopped such treatment, but rather politics, when Richard Nixon decided to launch a war on Timothy Leary and hippies by outlawing their drugs of choice, namely psychedelics. And US-inspired drug law remains as anti-patient as ever, as therapist Gabor Mate was recently forced to stop his promising treatment of Canadian alcoholics with the entheogenic concoction known as ayahuasca.

So if AA is ineffective -- as I would definitely agree - it is as much the drug war's fault as it is that of Bill Wilson and his theories.

Given the existence of the unscientifically motivated drug war, it may well be true that Naltrexone is a relative godsend for alcoholics. That said, this is a huge "given." We should remember that we are choosing from a starkly limited pharmacopeia when we make that choice. There are thousands of potential psychoactive godsends out there that we are forbidden from studying, notwithstanding our pretensions at being a scientific country. By failing to acknowledge this outrage, we may be giving far more kudos to Naltrexone than it deserves. How good is it, you ask? How can we know until we compare it to the thousands of other potential therapies that we have chosen to ignore? It may well be the best thing currently "going" for alcoholics, and for that I yield to the experts - while yet pointing out that there really are no experts on addiction treatment per se since the drug war has essentially placed all the potentially valuable therapeutic substances off-limits, not merely to individuals but to addiction researchers as well. No surprise there. We'd have just as few aviation experts today if the only legally available planes were gliders.

Also there is a real irony in the use of Naltrexone to block the action of opiates, at least when used in a drug warrior country such as the USA. By waging drug-war colonialism, we have sent our military abroad to destroy opium crops that have been used in moderation in the east for millennia, forcing other countries to turn to the western drug called alcohol to achieve, in general, a far uglier form of self-transcendence and relaxation than that supplied by the judicious poppy user. Not content to destroy the poppy in the East (always against the will of the local people, who have no say in the matter), we now seek out a drug that will obviate the poppy's effects, thus ensuring the prosperity of American Big Liquor for centuries to come. This is fundamentally a racist and anti-scientific war on the poppy, one which dogmatically recognizes only evil in the plant, failing to acknowledge its role in providing human transcendence over the ages - a viewpoint that keeps Anheuser Busch heirs smiling on their way to the bank (just as they were no doubt smiling when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1985 to steal Thomas Jefferson's poppy plants).

This brings me to the other problem with the Naltrexone approach, namely that is all stick and no carrot. Yes, the substance helps to destroy the addiction but it also gets rid of the transcendence which the addict was seeking in the first place. Psychedelics, on the other hand, work by actually providing the sought-after transcendent experience and it is that very transcendent experience from which the psychedelic user often emerges with new insights into their earthly condition and a new mental flexibility in dealing with their drinking problem.

One other bone to pick: I would ask you to question your apparently strong faith in science, at least as practiced in the States.

It is the alleged "scientific" approach to psychiatry that has led to the great but unacknowledged addiction of the American people, in which 1 in 8 Americans are now chemically dependent on antidepressants, all under the discredited theory (promulgated by a full-court media press by academic talking heads under the pay of Big Pharma) that these substances fix a chemical imbalance. As Roger Whitaker demonstrates, however (in "Anatomy of an Epidemic"), this is pseudoscience, not science. These antidepressants (SSRIs and SNRIs) have been shown to CAUSE the imbalances that they purport to fix. They certainly don't work for me after decades of use, and I am now forced to take Effexor the rest of my life against my will - Effexor, a drug that has a relapse rate just as high as heroin.

But I've yet to hear of one single addiction "specialist" wringing their hands on my behalf, or on behalf of the tens of thousands of unacknowledged antidepressant addicts actively cursing modern psychiatry online even as I speak - cursing it for one's loss of empowerment, one's unsought-for life-time role as an "eternal patient," having to apply to a doctor for their monthly fixes. (Part of the professional silence is based on the convenient myth that there's a meaningful difference between addiction and chemical dependency. Tell that to an Effexor addict after he or she has gone cold turkey for three days.)

Since psychiatry has no problem with thus addicting users like myself -- and to ineffective medicines at that - they have no leg to stand on in warning me that I might become chemically dependent upon, say, opium, should I be given the same legal access to that drug that I would have had in 1913, and they have even less standing in remonstrating against my use of totally non-addictive psychedelics. If such drugs are not even considered for treating alcoholism it is thus merely for political reasons, not scientific ones. So let's not write so as to imply that these therapies have somehow been tried and found wanting, when in reality such therapies remain unthinkable to Western researchers under the thrall of drug war propaganda.

CONCLUSION: I believe we have no right to opine on the relative insolubility of addiction problems until we have re-legalized Mother Nature's medicines. Until then, any conclusions we reach on this topic should be followed by a huge footnote, both for the patient's benefit and by way of protest, stating that the addiction problem, for aught we know, could turn out to be far more soluble than we currently suppose, once the United States finally renounces its anti-patient drug war, along with its efforts to enforce that war worldwide by way of the financial blackmail of its friends and foes alike.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser (permalink)

March 2, 2020

The Myth of the Addictive Personality

Here, Mrs. Wilson, here's your addictive Big Pharma crap.  Cartoon spoofing psychiatry and anti-patient drug laws.
When I was a teenager, I was always begging the field of psychiatry to do more. It seemed to me that there must be so many medicines out there, surely something would set my mind straight.

The result of my naivete? I was promptly pronounced "an addictive personality."

I've now had 40 years to think about that diagnosis and I call bull crap.

Imagine a field like psychiatry, that limits itself to prescribing a handful of addictive medicines, suspicious of anyone who dares hanker for more. That hankering is, in reality, utterly sensible.

Suppose you walk into a jewelry store and they have only one kind of diamond. You ask for other kinds of diamonds and they label you ungrateful and greedy. That's what psychiatry does when someone dares to allude to a larger pharmacopeia that psychiatry has dogmatically forsworn, whether in conformance with drug law, scientism, and/or the interests of the pharmaceutical companies that crank out the starkly limited formulary of politically acceptable mood medicines.

How dare I want to pick and choose from among the thousands of rain forest godsends. Why can't I just go along with the modest medicine cabinet of addictive substances that chemists have created to narrow down our choices to a nice politically acceptable roster?

Of course, the true irony of this state of affairs becomes plain when we consider that well over 1 in 8 Americans are addicted to modern-day antidepressants, one out of four when it comes to women, and that many of these drugs are harder to kick than heroin. So psychiatry may have a problem with SOMETHING, but it's clearly not with addiction. My own doctor told me not even to bother trying to "get off of" Effexor, given its 95% recidivism rate. And so I become an eternal patient, with all the demoralizing emotional baggage that comes with that condition. It's pretty much the exact opposite of empowering a patient, to make them a ward of the state, forever to be defined by their so-called illness.

The so-called addictive personality is actually "on to something." They realize that there's a vast pharmacopeia out there and they want psychiatry to use it. Psychiatry, for its part, must label such individuals as pathological, lest their craving for more should serve to illuminate the niggardliness of psychiatric offerings and demonstrate all too clearly that the entire field operates in crass subservience to anti-patient drug war law and ideology.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

The Myth of the Addictive Personality (permalink)

February 25, 2020

Glenn Close but no cigar

Four Good Days full of drug war propaganda

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Shame on Glenn Close for starring in the drug war propaganda movie "Four Good Days," especially at a time when Donald Trump is threatening to use the death penalty to kill minorities who dare to use and sell the plant medicines of mother nature. For shame!

Every horror that Glenn Close's character blames on heroin is actually caused by the drug war itself:

Let's examine some of the movies illogical assumptions one at a time by considering a variety of drug-war-biased sound bites of which the movie is so full:

Deb to daughter Molly: "The deal was, you wouldn't come back until you were clean."

Clean? The mother's use of the word "clean" here exposes the puritan Christian Science metaphysics that the drug war presupposes. Psychiatry has addicted me personally to Effexor, but no one has told me that I'm dirty for using it, and it has a relapse rate every bit as high as heroin! Apparently, I'm not "dirty" as long as I settle for being hooked on the drugs that enrich pharmaceutical companies.

High school student to Molly: "I would have never allowed myself to fall that far."

Cruel but true. The fact is that the vast majority of kids do not fall as Molly did, even when the drug war does all it can to confuse them with propaganda instead of straightforward objective accounts of drug effects. Molly's irrelevant response to this challenge is simply to tearfully reiterate how hard she (Molly) has struggled and how continuously she (Molly) has resolved to go straight, but to no avail. Her goal seems to be to imply that there are devil drugs out there that will snag anyone, but smarter kids know that substances are only substances and that the terms "good" and "bad" only apply to how they are used, for what reasons, and in what doses, etc. To think otherwise is to call on government to wage a bloody war on drugs to protect fools like Molly from herself, a drug war that ironically creates the very incentives that cause drug sellers to peddle addictive meds in the first place.

Fishkill & Egbert review the patriotic movie classic from 2019 entitled Running with the Devil, in which Natalie Reyes combats Christian Science heretics with the good old-fashioned all-American expedients of torture and assassination.

Deb after seeing drug dealer: "That guy should be shot."

Great. Thanks for that, Glenn. That's all we need to hear from a cinematic representative of middle America, now that we have a president who is all-too-eager to take your suggestion literally and start murdering Americans, mainly minorities at that - and why? - for merely meeting the needs of the market that the drug war itself has created. Unless we suppose that the profit motive will someday disappear from human hearts and that human beings will renounce their desire for spiritual transcendence, a "war on drugs" can only bring about endless killing, first on inner city streets and then on the public scaffolds.

The answer is clear, Glenn: remove the profit motive by ending the drug laws that create it. Then turn the Drug Enforcement Agency into the Drug Education Agency, an organization tasked with objectively informing the public of the statistically verifiable dangers (yes, and benefits) of every psychoactive substance on earth: from Big Pharma antidepressants to cocaine, from alcohol to cigarettes.

Meanwhile, if someone needs to be shot, how about shooting those who create legislation that 1) violates natural law, 2) keeps godsend medicines from the depressed, 3) turns inner cities into shooting galleries, 4) locks up 10s of thousands of minorities, thus stealing elections for conservatives, 5) justifies drug war colonialism, 6) prevents Earthlings from accessing the plants that grow at their very feet, and 7) makes Christian Science the state religion when it comes to psychological healing. I'd rather not shoot anybody, of course, but if you think we have to, let's get our priorities right first when it comes to targeting.

Mother Deb, in reference to her detoxing daughter: "She's in hell right now."

Too true, Deb, but did you ever stop to ask WHY she's in hell? She's in hell because the drug-war has outlawed all the non-addictive substances that might otherwise be used during the withdrawal process to ease withdrawal symptoms, and/or give the patient the psychological insight to better tolerate them. For even the detox centers are in the thrall of the drug war, throwing addicts on cots and forcing them to go cold turkey when there are hundreds of psychoactive godsends that we're not even allowed to study, let alone use, medicines that can change attitudes and give addicts a new start in life.

Deb to Molly: [There's your] boyfriend Eric. Outside that flophouse.

Flophouse? Deb's referring to the bombed-out building in which Molly used to "shoot up," of course, but then what is the detox center but a flophouse, with meals included? The difference is that the rent is much higher, but otherwise they just flop you down on a cot and let you suffer, without ministering to you with any of the thousands of psychoactive balms of the rain forest, many of which, if used with reverence, can temper the mind of the addict to allow them to envision new realities and thus to make the desired changes in their life -- all without going through the hell that the Christian Science Drug Warrior insists that they must suffer.

Detox Doctor Ortiz: "Heroin has a 97% relapse rate."

What Doctor Ortiz fails to point out is that antidepressants like Effexor have almost identical relapse rates.

Speaking of the Doctor, it's rather amusing to see him puffed up with professionalism in his white coat and carefully trimmed salt-and-pepper beard, obviously in the prime of his professional life, and yet for all these customary bells and whistles, his job seems to consist merely of injecting Naltrexone and nodding gravely or cheerfully, as circumstances warrant. If appearances weren't everything in such treatments, a cost-sensitive CEO would instantly replace him with an LPN.

Dr. Ortiz has not one single weapon in his pharmacological arsenal, not one (though thousands of rain forest meds are practically crying out to be assayed for such therapeutic purposes), except for Naltrexone, which, however, for him must seem a literal godsend, since it keeps a person from "getting high," which is the absolute no-no in drug warrior parlance, even though one person's "getting high" (off of, say, a non-addictive substance such as the psilocybin mushroom) can be another person's "spiritual transcendence."

Worst of all, the heroin addict is constantly lighting up a cigarette containing tobacco -- about the worst drug on the planet -- and the clueless mother sees absolutely no irony in that fact. As long as the drug being consumed supports capitalism, Glenn Close's usually apoplectic character is as quiet as a mouse. It's only when she see someone attempt to seek transcendence without the use of a board-certified doctor that her character's hackles start to rise. The mother herself freely rushes to the refrigerator for a stiff peg whenever she becomes overwhelmed with her addict daughter's erratic behavior, blissfully ignorant of her own hypocrisy in so doing.

One can only conclude that the mother's problem is not so much with the daughter's addiction as it is with her failure to conform to the usual social norms of the coffee-swilling, cigarette-smoking, alcohol-swigging drug warrior.

Glenn Close but no cigar (permalink)

February 21, 2020

The American Stasi

putting Americans in their place since 1973

rock star singing: American Stasi, I said get away, American Stasi, well, that's the DEA-A-A-A -- down with the DEA, the anti-nature drug war agency, America's own Stasi
It's amazing. When I tell friends and family members that I'm working on a website to abolish the DEA, they generally go silent. This seems a truly taboo topic for many Americans. And this is surprising to me. These are the same Americans, after all, who express themselves so vehemently about hot-button topics such as sexual harassment and global warming, ready to lay down in the streets and demand immediate justice in these areas, yet they suddenly get stage fright when the subject turns to the drug war. Suddenly they're afraid to speak. They sometimes even look at me after I raise the topic, in a kind of mute reproach, as if to say: "Ooh, the DEA. Are we even allowed to CRITICIZE them? Better be careful there, son."

And I'm like: What happened to my big loud-mouth rebel? Which anti-democratic cat has suddenly got their tongue?

Answer: the anti-American DEA.

This is just not an agency that should exist in a free country, an agency that's armed to the teeth and ready to intimidate would-be protestors by dint of its sheer militarized existence, an agency devoted to protecting us from naturally occurring plants, an agency whose job is to enforce a harsh Christian Science sharia in a never-ending task of separating Americans from Mother Nature and separating human beings from the profit motive. Of course, neither of these tyrannies can succeed except by cruel authoritarianism, under craven leaders like Donald Trump, who are glad to take existing injustices and run with them, not simply imprisoning harmless minority Americans but executing them into the bargain.

It's about as anti-American as can be -- so much so, apparently, that Americans have learned to shut up and let the DEA have its anti-scientific (anti-patient and anti-minority) way, much as East Germans once resigned themselves to the seemingly inevitable injustices perpetrated by the Stasi.

American Stasi, stay away from me
American Stasi, mama, let me be
Don't come kicking down my door
In the name of common law
I got a right to Nature's meds
Ain't no business of the Feds

Common law can't override
The rights for which my fathers died
Plants that grow are mine by birth
Stop criminalizing Mother Earth

Thomas J was all shook up
When you dug his garden up
To steal the poppies that Nature grew
What the hell is wrong with you?

American Stasi, I said get away-ay
American Stasi, well, that's the D-E-A-A-A-A!

The American Stasi (permalink)

February 19, 2020

Calling All Philosophers

Stop counting angels on a pin and speak up against the drug war

Epictetus comments about freedom, revised for Christian Science sensibilities in the age of the anti-nature Drug War
Stephen Hawking said that philosophy is dead. I beg to differ. It may appear to be dead, but that is only because it has been hiding its head in the sand, ostrich-like, ever since the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914. That was when Congress first set the illogical and unconstitutional precedent of criminalizing plants, which had hitherto been considered our birth right as mere Earthlings under natural law. Since then, the Drug War and its anti-scientific laws have thrived in the hands of tyrants based on a propaganda campaign of sloppy logic, superstitious metaphysics and linguistic equivocation, all designed to make us look upon Mother Nature as a drug kingpin rather than as our medical benefactor and the source of countless therapeutic godsends. In other words, the "Drug War" is the philosophical problem par excellence of our time for it thrives on a series of misunderstandings and presumptions that only a true philosopher can hope to parse with nicety and expose in such a way as to make the need for reform obvious to the man or woman on the street - and thus to the man or woman in Congress.

That's one of the reasons that I've created this website, as an attempt to get the friends of liberty to start attacking the Drug War on philosophical grounds, rather than on the feeble grounds that the Drug War just does not work as advertised. Such latter arguments yield enormous ground to the Drug Warrior, implying that militarized tyranny, domestic surveillance, SWAT raids on unarmed citizens, foreign intervention and the suspension of natural law would be fine if only it cut down on the use of naturally occurring substances.

SWAT raids and domestic surveillance, in a supposedly democratic society, to cut down on the use of substances? And why exactly do we assume that it is good to cut back on the use of naturally occurring substances? That is a mere Christian Science prejudice, not a logical conclusion from any set of agreed-upon propositions. A drug war critic who argues in this way may as well find another button-pushing injustice about which to opine, since the Drug War cannot be ousted by those who hastily grant all the false unspoken premises upon which it is founded.

If philosophers should read this, there's plenty of work to do, so let's not stand upon ceremony. "Grab a musket and get in rank," as my Jeffersonian ancestors used to say. Here are a few promising projects to fire your respective imaginations.

1) Elucidate the theological, political, and ideological links between the following events: The Drug War of modern times, Emperor Theodosius's 392 AC banning of the psychedelic Eleusinian Mysteries, and the Conquistadors' scorn for the plant-based psychedelic rites of MesoAmerican cultures.

2) Explain how modern employee "drug testing" is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science with respect to psychological healing.

3) Trace the modern antipathy to "substance use" to the distrust of witches and their use of psychoactive plant medicines.

Calling All Philosophers (permalink)

February 17, 2020

What We Mean When We Say 'Drugs'

How the drug war is a creation of language

Drugs defined: substances of which politicans do not approve and for which profits do not accrue to big business. Today's drug user was yesterday's witch.  The self-transcendence that they achieve frightens us now as it did then in witch-haunted Salem.
The term "drugs" as used in the West is really just a pejorative epithet designed to stigmatize naturally occurring psychoactive substances and those who use them. The superstitious metaphysics underlying this stigma is identical to the mindset that countenanced witch hunts in the 14th through 17th centuries. It is the metaphysics of Christian Science as applied to psychological states, the unverifiable notion (i.e., opinion, or faith) that it is in some sense wrong to avail oneself of psychoactive substances to alter consciousness, and that those who do so are, in some sense, devilish.

That this belief is superstitious is easily seen, since those who use this term pejoratively have almost always done so in wilful ignorance of the precise function (or even identity) of the psychoactive substances in question, implying that a mere detailed knowledge of psychoactive plants placed a woman (and today a drug "user" of any sex) under grave suspicion of non-Christian behavior and intent.

When a "witch" of the old school imbibed extract of mandrake and similar trance-inducing substances, it was (at least according to the stuffed shirt Witch Warriors of the time) in order to commune with devils. But from the witch's point of view, it was surely to seek personal transcendence, whether to engage in what she took to be divination, or simply to relax. When a rock star imbibes plant-based substance, it is also to transcend his or her customary personality and inhibitions on stage, this time not for divination but for vocational success.

Yet psychology insists that anything a star could do on stage using a substance could be done twice as well without that substance.

What wilful self-deception! This is not to say that every rock star or mad comedian REQUIRES substance use (though surely the probability rises as the art form entails an increasingly dramatic split between the artist's on-stage persona and their off-stage behavior, as do both rock-and-roll and hip-hop, and increasingly so, as yesterday's behavioral outrages become today's norms). There are a vast variety of people, and in many cases, the social, cultural and familial stars and planets will so align as to allow the performer to be his or herself on stage, completely, without any impulse to hold back, requiring no chemical incentive other than the baseline chemistry provided by his or her daily metabolism.

But if the vast majority of us are really going to let our hair down, it is completely understandable that -- barring 21st-century laws and mores to the contrary -- we would want to achieve some form of the ecstasy of the witches of yore to help us "let go," such that our "nay-saying" childhood (in which we were psychologically tortured, albeit unintentionally so, by the implicit and/or explicit condemnations of parents, family and friends) are not allowed to stop us from bringing out the Jimi Hendrix in ourselves.

But psychology ignores the ancient need for transcendence, stubbornly insisting, with the drug warrior, that we can get all the transcendence we need by simply "telling ourselves" to be happier -- for that's what the whole self-help genre field consists of (not to mention the whole field of psychotherapy itself, at least until the pill-popping paradigm took hold): words, to tell us how to be happier, as if rationality could control our feelings, a central tenet of Western society, which is just plain wrong upon the slightest serious reflection.

Nor is a poor upbringing a necessary prerequisite for seeking transcendence through plant medicine -- at least for those who wish to explore what they are truly capable of in life, those who reject the Christian Science credo that it is somehow wrong to adjust mood via plant medicine.

Even Freud knew better. He did not attempt to improve his life by talk therapy. He engaged in the psychological real politik of cocaine use, early and often, a fact that psychologists ignore at their own peril, thus keeping their discipline out of touch with the real impulses of humankind.

All because the psychologists believe in this thing called "drugs," by which certain substances (i.e., psychoactive plants) are superstitiously believed to possess nothing but evil qualities: the same know-nothing credo that motivated the witch hunters, who cast a jaundiced eye on any woman who dared so much as learn about psychoactive plants, let alone used them.

The word "drugs" works wonders for law enforcement. Imagine if we saw a SWAT team ramrodding a house while a helicopter flew overhead, all because the owners of the house possessed PLANTS! Then it would be instantly clear how tyrannical the onslaught was. The police and politicians know this: that's why they never talk about a war on plants, but rather a war on "drugs." This is how the police departments grow in wealth: the darker they paint this whipping horse of "drugs," the more money is thrown there way by way of funding and forfeitures -- and the American people sit by idly, lulled into complacency by the malevolent use of a synonym.

What We Mean When We Say 'Drugs' (permalink)

February 14, 2020

How the DEA determines if a religion is true

after two millennia of disagreement on that subject among philosophers and theologians

Church of the Rain Forest, closed by the DEA. Found not to be a genuine religion by pen-pushers in Washington, DC.
In granting exceptions to the laws prohibiting use of psychedelics, the DEA makes exceptions for religious practices that they determine to be genuine. This raises an interesting question: how precisely does the DEA determine something that even great philosophers across the ages have been unable to agree upon, namely, which religions are genuine and why?

Not to worry. I have uncovered a government form that is apparently used by the DEA to make precisely the sort of metaphysical determinations mentioned above. So, theologians, take note: Here's what the DEA will be looking for should you ever happen to adhere to a religious belief whose ceremonials involve the use of plant life that the DEA has seen fit to criminalize.

DEA Form 8011-B-C-1

Guidelines for determining the veracity of a religious belief

In determining the authenticity of a religious belief, the DEA agent in charge shall consider the following points:

1) Is the claimant snickering at any time during the application process? If so, claim should ordinarily be rejected-- since we all know that real religion is a serious matter.

2) Is the claimant prone to excessive partying? This is often a red flag indicating that the exception seeker equates religion with hedonism, which again is against the Protestant Ethic -- er, I mean, the U.S. Government's ethical code of conduct, of course.

3) Does the claimant's religion accept (or plan to accept) "worshipers" from out of state? This is often a red flag, since it is well known that real religions -- with the possible exception of Rock Church -- are somewhat stodgy, formal affairs that are unlikely to inspire long-distance fidelity in the absence of questionable incentives. This in turn suggests that a large percentage of such a "church's" commuters will be winking lasciviously en route, salivating in anticipation of a tawdry "high," rather than rejoicing in the Blood of Our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, without whom -- er, I mean as just one bona fide above-board REAL honest-to-God religious example, of course.

4) Does the claimant harp on and on about the fact that alcohol is addictive and kills thousands of people every year while we at the DEA are criminalizing plants that have been used for centuries in therapeutic ceremonies? Does he or she point out that LSD was used successfully to cure alcoholics, by no less a person than Bill Wilson himself of AA, before we in our wisdom shut down such therapies? Does the claimant dare to point out that the DEA permits the peddling of highly addictive anti-depressants by BIG PHARMA, while we are shutting down research on non-addictive alternatives from nature? If so, politely remind the claimant that it is our job to determine THEIR morality, thank them very much, not the other way around.

Psst! Hey, Job Seekers...

DEA Seeking Demigod to Rule on the Validity of so-called "religions." Must be willing and able to evince inflexible certainty on a topic that the world's greatest thinkers have disagreed about for millennia, namely what constitutes a true religion.

How the DEA determines if a religion is true (permalink)

February 12, 2020

President Calls for Executing Drug Dealers

Herding minorities into overcrowded prisons no longer enough for booze-swilling Drug Warriors

Ayatollah Trump vows to exeucte dealers who sell natural plants and fungi as the latest step to enforce Christian Science Sharia in America.
Donald Trump has now called for the execution of drug dealers, which should come as no surprise from a president who has openly collaborated with authoritarian Russia to destroy basic democratic institutions in America. But if one's fearing for the lives of cigarette and alcohol producers (whose products kill tens of thousands a year), you can relax. Nor need we lose sleep over the wellbeing of our local psychiatrists, who, even as I type, are running socially-sanctioned pill mills across the country (by means of which 1 in 10 Americans are addicted to the daily use of Big Pharma "meds"). No, as usual, the drug warrior animus is not directed at the substances that cause the most harm to Americans, but merely those substances that the drug warriors have decided to criminalize for political and religious reasons, though many of these "drugs" are found to be growing unbidden across the planet. Thus they override the hitherto unalienable natural law which gives Americans the right to the use of what John Locke calls "the earth and all therein," replacing it with a capricious common law interdiction based on the propaganda-induced fears of 21st-century Americans, in this case a kind of Christian Science "Sharia," every bit as intolerant as any legislation that was ever enacted in that name.

This Constitution-based objection to Trump's authoritarian gambit cannot be overstressed, because the mainstream media these days is dangerously missing the point. The left and libertarian response to such totalitarian proposals as Trump's is to point out that such a draconian strategy would not work to reduce "drug" use, typically by adducing the failure of similar approaches in other countries. But to argue in this way is to yield crucial ground to the enemy of freedom, since this "argument from efficacy" implies that executing drug dealers would be just fine if it only served to decrease the use of naturally occurring substances in America. And to argue thus is to demonstrate one's limited grasp of the subject at hand, by implicitly granting that government has a right, in the first place, to prevent Americans from reaching out and using the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet, a proposition which Jefferson would have found absurd and even conducive to tyranny if not rejected at once on constitutional grounds.

And that tyranny that Jefferson would have predicted has come to pass. It started in 1914, when bigoted politicians decided that too many undesirables were using the opium plant. Their answer: make a natural substance illegal, thus setting the precedent that some plants were no longer the birthright of a free citizenry to use as they saw fit. In a rush to penalize the lower class and the ethnic Chinese, few American politicians of that era noticed the contravention of natural law that was implicit in this government intrusion into personal decisions about health and happiness. If they had really cared about the health of these minority populations, they would have educated them about the wise use of psychoactive substances rather than criminalizing a plant.

Fast-forward 50-plus years, when President Richard Nixon takes advantage of that anti-Constitutional precedent to punish his enemies, with so-called anti-drug laws that were designed, not to protect the health of Americans, but to land his political prisoners in jail and, if possible, remove them from the voting rolls by charging them with felonies.

Fast-forward another half a century, and Traitor Trump is now ready to pick up where Nixon left off, harnessing America's unconstitutional drug law for the purposes of becoming a dictator with the power of life and death over his vassals. It is not enough for Trump's power lust to merely incarcerate millions of mainly minority "drug dealers," (those who dare sell the plants and fungi for which drug law itself has created the black market), he wants to get rid of them entirely, which I suppose is useful, since it allows him to limit the number of minority offspring which might otherwise grow up to eliminate the drug war entirely, along with totally amoral politicians like Trump himself who strategically parlay those laws into populist victories.

So let me get this straight: a doctor can legally addict my anxious 92-year-old mother to the benzodiazepine of his choice, but should I arrange for her to get miraculous, non-addictive relief from a mere plant, the source of that godsend can be strung up at high noon?

When policy's such as the drug war yield such absurd results, they must be fundamentally wrong, at least for a freedom-loving people. But we can't stand up to drug war tyrants on the basis of statistical charts that "prove" that tyranny doesn't work. We must deny those tyrants the right to outlaw Mother Nature in the first place - and the power for that pushback is waiting there in the US Constitution, whose very genius lies in its elevation of natural law over common law, and if natural law tells us anything, it tells us that human beings have the right to the use of "the earth and all therein," and that no law can justifiably supplant that right - ever.

President Calls for Executing Drug Dealers (permalink)

February 9, 2020

Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug War

Happy with the Drug War? Thank your friendly American author for that, who takes the Drug War as a given and never mentions it, just as they never mention their own character's need to urinate. That's Drug War self-censorship at work.
The more I learn about western society's wilful ignorance of naturally occurring psychoactive medicines, the harder it is for me to find good books to read. Almost all self-help books studiously avoid any reference to the power of psychoactive plants to facilitate the miraculous psychological changes that the authors advocate. Almost all scientific books pretend to be giving us the last word on consciousness and meaning, while yet ignoring the profound insights on these subjects that psychoactive plants can provide. Almost all books on depression speculate on what can be done with modern anti-depressants and/or talk therapy, as if psychoactive plants did not exist, as if the drastically limited pharmacy available to us under the drug war was a natural condition with which all suggested treatment protocols must conform in order to be scientific. In other words, all of these books take the drug war prohibitions as a natural given of life, and thence proceed to speculate and deduce at will, with the author never realizing that he or she is engaging in self-censorship in order to curry favour with the puritan sensibilities of the drug war.

I don't know what's worse, however, authors who ignore speaking about psychoactive substances or those who speak about them -- because the latter authors almost ALWAYS adopt invalid drug-war premises when they attempt to analyze the so-called "drug problem" in America.

Take the book by David and Nic Sheff called "High." They say that you can't judge a book by its cover, but this is clearly the exception that proves the rule.

One can just look at the cover to see that the authors subscribe to all the usual drug-war assumptions. The cover features a frenetic and jagged color-scheme obviously intended to be the abstract depiction of an abnormal state of mind associated with the phenomenon of "getting high."

Thus the authors accept the drug-war presupposition that psychoactive substance use (when not prescribed by a board-certified physician, keen to get one addicted to big pharma meds) can only be for hedonistic purposes -- which is simply false. One person's high is often another person's self-enlightenment, is another person's making peace with the world, is another person's healthy break from reality -- in the same way that moderate alcohol is said to constitute healthy relaxation.

Are the tribal members of the Native American Church getting "high" when they consume peyote for religious purposes? Are alcohol addicts getting "high" when they take ibogaine to kick that habit? Was Sigmund Freud getting "high" when he used cocaine to get his work done in the wee hours of the night? Was Benjamin Franklin getting high when he resorted -- frequently -- to the use of opium?

Of course not.

So the depiction of the word "High" on such a book cover is pejorative and meant to imply all the narrow views of the drug warrior -- designed to separate Americans from mother nature's medicines under the drug-war lie that such substances can only be used for the nonsensical and dangerous practice of "getting high."

This is time-saving, however. I simply need not read the Sheff's books, because their very book cover shows that they're philosophically in the thrall of all the usual drug war propaganda and presuppositions. And given the dictum that "confused thinking in, confused thinking out"... the judicious reader will move on.

How many so-called authoritative books on depression completely ignore the fact that drug law outlaws all the most promising cures? How many books on relaxation ignore the fact that the motivated mind-set that you need for exercising is just one mushroom away? How many books on consciousness completely ignore the testimony that psychoactive plants have to give on this topic? Welcome to self-censorship in the age of the drug war.

Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug War (permalink)

February 9, 2020

Addicted to Ignorance

problems with the 'no pain, no gain' school of de-tox therapy

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
The drug warrior holds many logic-challenged assumptions, but one of the worst in terms of its human consequences is the notion that withdrawal from illegal substances must necessarily be hell.

Really? How would we even know? No one with pharmacological savvy has ever been free to use psychoactive plants in America, shaman-like, with a specific addict in mind. Who knows what would be possible if every psychoactive plant were at hand to be employed advisedly in improving the mental outlook and resilience of a specific individual?

What exactly is addiction, anyway? Whence comes this hell of which we speak?

It is the result of the body screaming bloody murder for want of a substance to whose presence it has become accustomed.

Well, an answer to that problem readily suggests itself, albeit one that's sure to rub the Christian Scientists among us the wrong way: that of fighting fire with fire: treating the addict with psychoactive substances that push back against and obfuscate the hellish withdrawal symptoms as the user seeks to "get off of" his or her poison of choice, a plant substance that will attempt to shout "feel good!" every bit as loudly as the withdrawal symptoms are shouting "feel bad!" If such treatment cannot totally suppress the negative physiological symptoms of withdrawal, then it can at least render them psychologically bearable thanks to the positive attitudes induced by the ritual use of entheogens carefully chosen for that purpose according to the facts of the case.

Doctor prescribes addiction

That's right, your call is important to us -- unless it comes after business hours, of course, in which case you'll just have to suck it up and handle the withdrawal symptoms you get from suddenly not taking Big Pharma's highly addictive and ineffective meds.

Absent our prudish drug war assumptions, we could even find a variety of substances that positively ELATE the addict at set intervals, thus giving the patient something to look forward to during the most negative emotions of withdrawal, since I speak from experience in saying that the real hell of withdrawal is the feeling that the negative feelings will never end -- and we can palpably teach the patient otherwise with what we might call (at the risk of irritating the puritan) the occasional administration of "feel good" entheogens to remind them that happiness still exists in the world, that everything is not merely grey skies and drizzle, now and for all time.

This is the process of fighting bad drugs with more drugs (as Google purports to fight bad speech with more speech), a paradigm in which the pharmacological artist that I envision (the replacement for yesterday's pill-peddling psychiatrist) would drown the addict's negative physiological reactions to withdrawal in a sea of positive feelings engendered by yet other carefully chosen psychoactive substances, such that the entire withdrawal process can take place without the addict experiencing the intense psychological suffering that we have hitherto concluded was the addict's due.

Presumably the drugs used for detox would be non-addictive, either by nature or by dint of their carefully timed administration. That said, we have no right to denounce such a cure should it lead to a new addiction, provided that the new addiction is, as is to be expected, one with which the patient can live a productive life. Psychiatrists have for decades now administered pills that their patients are required to take daily for a lifetime, so psychiatry has no leg to stand on in denouncing medications for requiring daily or weekly administration (whether that medication be Effexor or opium). The question only is: is that addiction something that the patient is both willing and able to live with?

But the patient should be free of all "drugs," you say? Fine. That's your opinion, based on your philosophical assumptions about what constitutes the good life. The decision is up to the addict, based on their own metaphysics, thank you very much. But should the addicts themselves choose this "drug-free" course, more power to them, for there are an almost endless number of possible entheogen-assisted therapies that, singly or in aggregate, have every chance of achieving this hitherto improbable goal, given the strategic alignment of therapy with patient goals. But we can't make such therapies available until we renounce an unscientific and anti-patient drug war that stops us from merely even investigating such cures.

(Even the use of the term "addict" is a nod to drug war sensibilities, since it implies a character fault, whereas the early 19th-century term of "habitue" remains a far more objective descriptor for the unique human lives that we are discussing here. But then the drug war depends on the strategic use of words such that merely broaching them implies a politically correct viewpoint and thus the speaker's acceptance of a series of widely believed but fundamentally false premises. Thus Big Pharma pills require daily "administration," but drugs like cocaine and heroin require daily "fixes." It's not the actions that repel us - we can take Prozac and Effexor daily until the cows come home -- but the disdainful connotations that we selectively impose upon those actions through the politicized language of a drug war society.)

In short, there is a vast world of treatment options out there for the so-called "addict" once we envision a free world in which a highly trained empath can customize psychoactive protocols to meet the needs and goals of specific individuals. But until government gives that freedom back to the medical world, we have no business opining on the supposed intractability of the addiction problem, since the inadequacies of the current approaches can all be explained with reference to the drug warriors' ongoing efforts to drastically limit the pharmacological arsenal with which we might otherwise respond to this problem. The problem itself may well be solvable - should the government ever be so magnanimous as to give us renewed free and unrestricted access to the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. (Funny. And I used to think that such access was my birth right as a resident of planet Earth, ensured via natural law, which, at least until the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, was supposed to trump common law in America.)

Yet many addiction specialists believe today that detox can't be detox if it doesn't include muscle spasms, cold sweats, fever, vomiting, paranoia, and insomnia.

What's the customary process for detox in anti-scientific America? Dump the patient on a cot, monitor them as they go through hell for three days, charge them through the roof, and then let them go.

How dare we consign these sufferers to such hell when there are psychological balms out there by the thousands, all of which we have been intimidated into ignoring thanks to the drug war?

This will surely seem like the barbarous neglect that it is in some future enlightened era in America, when both drug and liability legislation is reformed to allow for the highly personalized treatment of drug addiction, wherein a pharmacologically savvy empath can choose freely from an entire world of therapeutic plant medicines to minister to the mind and soul of the addict, beginning with ibogaine, ayahuasca, psilocybin -- to encompass the thousands of psychoactive plants that seem custommade to reboot broken lives, psychologically speaking.

Another reason why detox doesn't work: Because psychology does not recognize the value of entheogenic transcendence. They therefore dismiss the phenomenon of "getting high" with the drug warrior conviction that it is mere hedonism. Instead, they should recognize the reality of a search for transcendence in all human beings (a search for "escape," if the therapist prefers that prejudicial and assumption-laden term) and provide that for the patient, through one of the many psychoactive plants that can provide that experience.

Instead, they assume that the whole challenge of detoxification is to stop the patient from "getting high," an approach that is all stick and no carrot. It ignores the fact that the addict's drug use had a purpose: namely, self-transcendence, rashly assuming that this spiritual quality can be safely dismissed as mere hedonism (which, admittedly, even the user may do, but only because they lack the self-awareness to linguistically parse their drug experience with any degree of nicety). And so the therapists wring their hands, wondering why there are so many relapses in the world.

Better yet, we can nip counterproductive addictions in the bud by abolishing the Drug Enforcement Agency altogether and replacing it with a Drug EDUCATION Agency, an organization which will report objectively on the specific addiction profile of every known psychoactive substance in the world, clearly indicating when and how such substances become addictive (based on real statistics, not politically-inspired guesstimates), so that those who decide to use the plants of Mother Nature for psychological healing are enabled to do so advisedly, without having to rely on the superstitious propaganda of so-called anti-drug organizations who do everything they can to paint illegal plants as substances from hell.

We must also abolish the naive drug warrior conviction that all addictions must be dead-ends. Benjamin Franklin was no doubt "addicted" to opium, at least according to the censorious and fastidious "medicalized morality" of 21st-century America, but no one of the man's own time would have viewed him as anything but a great man, for they had yet to develop the notion that a man was to be judged by something other than the way that he actually behaved every single day of his life, which is to say intelligently and with flair. But today's drug warrior treats the modern Ben Franklins of the world as threats to society and would gladly judge such a person's entire life based on the mere fact that they partook of a natural substance that politicians had taken such great pains to demonize.

AFTERTHOUGHTS: To see the folly of modern addiction therapy, consider the 12-step approach in which a small group of addicts sits around in a circle retailing morbid autobiographical stories, all under the problematic Western world presumption that cures come from merely talking about a problem and "understanding" it, as if understanding and feeling have ever been synonyms. Many a suicide understood their situation all too well before pulling the trigger or tightening the noose. Compare this with a group who meet together under a starlit sky to undergo psychedelic therapy that encourages them to confront their true self in relationship to the world at large. The latter approach actually has the possibility of changing lives, sometimes even overnight. The former has the depressing recidivism rate that we are already familiar with. Moreover, many of those who do not technically backslide in the 12-step approach do not go on to achieve anything approaching self-fulfillment, since that is not even the goal of therapy. Its goals are far more limited and pessimistic at heart: One day at a time, this too shall pass. Fine sentiments for a stoic, perhaps, but not for an ambitious American seeking to realize their full potential in 21st-century America, let alone one seeking to appreciate the wonder and diversity of the exquisite natural world that surrounds them.

AFTER AFTERTHOUGHTS: When we speak of withdrawal, everyone thinks of heroin and opiates. No one thinks of an attempt to get off of modern anti-depressants, many of which are harder to kick than heroin. 1 in 8 American males are addicted to such pills and 1 in 4 American women, pills that have long been known to actually cause the very chemical imbalances that they purport to cure. Yet no one cares as long as the big economic stake holders are getting their cut of the addiction pie. In fact, psychiatrists continue to prescribe these same uber-addictive pills to this very day, thus gaining business for life at the expense of their clientele, who are thus turned into patients for life and wards of the healthcare state. And so the professional world covers up America's huge addiction crisis under the philosophically shallow lie that habituation to heroin is evil while habituation to Big Pharma drugs is somehow good. With what hypocrisy do we thus protect all the great piles of wealth that are firmly invested in maintaining the drug war status quo.

Believe it or not, there are no addiction experts out there today. Why? Because almost all the godsend medicines that could treat addicts have been outlawed by the DEA. No surprise there. We'd have no aviation experts if the US government only allowed Americans to fly gliders. Ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, specially processed ergot -- yes, even cocaine and opium could play a role in an addict's recovery were these substances to be employed advisedly by a pharmacologically savvy shaman. But American Drug warriors don't want to hear it. They have this superstition that says that any psychoactive substance is horrible once it's been demonized by politicians... and that is not science, but religion: specifically Christian Science religion.

For more on America's idiotic drug war and its role in aggravating addiction and complicating addiction recovery, check out the following broadsides against America's shameful drug war:

Addicted to Ignorance (permalink)

February 7, 2020

Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature

on behalf of my 92-year-old mother

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Today I sent the following e-mail to Republicans in the Virginia state legislature. I was both peeved and in a hurry when I wrote it, but I trust that I've made my basic points plainly enough. Don't laugh, Democrats, you're on my list too. I'm just following a hunch of mine that the right side of the aisle remains most in favor of intolerance and injustice when it comes to the drug war -- or rather the war on plants -- or rather the war on the elderly. Take your pick: there's plenty of injustice to go around when it comes to the so-called drug war.

Dear Representative:

Please stop fighting the wretched drug war.

By doing so, you are preventing my 92-year-old mother from getting relief from the many natural godsends of mother nature, so many of which have been stupidly and unscientifically banned by the DEA even for simple research -- the DEA, a corrupt agency that has a HUGE conflict of interest in "scheduling" substances, since their jobs depend on those substances being illegal. The DEA acted against the advice of its own counsel and kept MDMA illegal for the last 35 years, and to hell with the thousands of soldiers that could have gotten relief from the substance.

Stop cracking down -- unless you're like Donald Trump and want to kill and torture folks who dare to use Mother Nature's plants -- or like Natalie Reyes in the movie "Running with the Devil," a DEA agent who murders and tortures drug suspects for using plants -- while SHE SMOKES A CIGARETTE containing tobacco, the worst drug on the planet!!!

If you really want a drug war, let's arrest everybody that uses cigarettes -- or has so much as a cigarette stub on their person. Let's confiscate their houses. Let's remove them from the voting rolls. Let's confiscate any book profits that they may make by writing about their arrests.

Then let's do the same for alcohol use or possession.

That's a drug war I could get behind because it exposes the hypocrisy of our approach against natural substances and gives the drug warrior a taste of his or her own medicine.

The unscientific drug war is anti-patient because it forces physicians and psychotherapists to treat patients using a fraction of the therapeutic bounty that actually exists, outlawing almost all of the psychoactive plants of Mother Nature. Then we wonder why depression and PTSD flourish unchecked in America. Why? The American drug warrior wouldn't have it any other way. They must demonize Mother Nature's cures at all cost, so that Big Liquor and Law Enforcement may flourish.

Or, if you think this is wrong, then stop the anti-patient drug war, this war on plants, that's depriving my suffering mother of natural and non-addictive godsends, shunting her off onto a handful of addictive drugs from Big Pharma doled out by today's psychiatric pill mill.

Please stop the war on mother nature's plants -- plants that we all have a right to use by natural law -- which should trump common law in America. Stop making substances a scapegoat for bad actors and bad social conditions.

As John Locke wrote in his Treatise on Government:

"The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being."

This is a right that cannot be usurped by common law, if America is to remain the America about which Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.

PS Tried to get medical marijuana today for my 92-year-old mother and found out that Virginia does not want my mother to have relief from anxiety -- except through addictive Big Pharma meds. What nonsense. Do you think Thomas Jefferson thought that some of the plants he grew should be banned??? Do you think he didn't spin in his grave when the jackbooted DEA barged onto his property in 1985 and stole his poppy plants???

Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature (permalink)

February 6, 2020

American Sharia

the drug war as Christian Science

Traveling? Your DEA reminds you to determine what form of Drug War Sharia is operative in the destination of your choice.  And remember: just say no to Mother Nature's godsend plant medicines!
The 2019 movie "Running with the Devil" features a DEA heroine who tortures one drug suspect and murders another - this latter murder being committed while the hypocritical heroine is smoking a cigarette containing tobacco, a drug that has killed far more Americans than the natural substances that the murder victim happened to be peddling at the time. Meanwhile, we have elected a president who has openly praised the murderous Duterte for killing so-called "drug suspects" in the Philippines, i.e. Filipinos who dared to access the plants and fungi of Mother Nature. This is a president who openly envies the power of dictators and thus would gladly turn America into a country where the film heroine's no-nonsense drug war strategy was countenanced by law. In short, the nation (both its leader and its hoi polloi) is in the thrall of a Christian Science sharia, every bit as fanatical as the worst Islamic law of that name, dehumanizing enemies and treating them like garbage merely because they dare to partake of naturally occurring plant medicines provided by Mother Nature.

It may be said that the movie, at least, is fiction, but I have yet to hear a DEA spokesperson come out to denounce the film as libel. Meanwhile, the online reviews of the movie prove that the American people still don't get it. I have yet to see a review that slams the movie as dangerous drug war propaganda, as making the case for torture and murder as government policy. To the contrary, I've read multiple reviews whose authors sympathize with the DEA murderess, regretting that still more can't be done to fight this menace from all those evil naturally occurring plants out there. Meanwhile the website Common Sense, though quick to warn parents about the movie's dirty words, has absolutely nothing to say about the anti-democratic lesson that the movie was peddling: namely that torture and murder are okay as long as the violence is directed toward scumbags who dare to access the plants that politicians have banned.

So if you're wondering what it's like to live under strict Islamic law, stop wondering: Americans are already living under a strictly enforced Sharia, targeted against those infidels who dare to look upon Mother Nature as a goddess rather than a drug kingpin.

American Sharia (permalink)

February 2, 2020

Is Rick Doblin Running with the Devil?

The drawbacks of collaborating with a corrupt system

Watch the DEA torture the man for using Mother Nature's godsend plants -- er, I mean drugs!
I'm a big fan of Rick Doblin and his attempts to mainstream the therapeutic use of psychedelics through MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. Rick is obviously a courageous man with the patience of a saint, given the slow-and-steady mindset that his ambitious project calls for. That said, I'm beginning to wonder if his strategy of compromise does not entail a Faustian pact with the devil - or rather with two devils, as noted below.


Take the DEA, for instance. I realize that Rick is teaming with the DEA for practical reasons, in order to make legal research possible, but I fear that such cooperation tends to legitimize the agency's role as the rightful gatekeeper for scientific drug research, as if the government should be playing such a politicized role in the first place when it comes to scientific investigation. This is the same DEA, after all, that has deprived depressive folks like myself of thousands of potential rain forest godsends for the last four decades, making our lives a shadow of what they might have been, psychologically speaking, in terms of self-fulfillment, self-realization, and the simple, humble appreciation of the wonderful world of nature that grows at our very feet.

Had researchers been given mere scientific freedom to follow up on the breathtaking therapeutic results of the work of Strassman, Fadiman, Grof et al., America would surely no longer be the most depressed country in the world, where a tenth of the population is yet addicted to the handful of mind-fogging antidepressants dealt out by modern psychiatry - an institution for which pill-peddling is unabashedly promoted as the new therapeutic paradigm. But the DEA has long said no to the mere scientific research of psychedelics, classifying them unscientifically as "schedule 1," thereby ensuring the agency's own law-enforcement workload for decades to come, all at the expense of the health, happiness and sheer human potential of the American people.

As one of the countless victims of the DEA's politically motivated crackdown on psychoactive substances (part of an eclectic victims list that runs the gamut from imprisoned minorities to morose nonagenarians wasting away in a nursing home), I can't help but think that our role as freedom-loving Americans is to loudly protest the injustice being perpetrated here, not to play by the rigged handbook of a political institution designed to strictly limit conscious awareness and keep effective medicines out of public hands.

When Americans aren't busy submitting sheepishly to drug tests, they are watching drug war propaganda movies in which the DEA tortures and murders South Americans who are suspected of selling Mother Nature's plants: especially those that American politicians have gone to such trouble to demonize.


This points to a second problem with the MAPS back-door approach to psychedelic legalization: it seeks to destigmatize psychedelics by professionalizing their use, by putting them in the hands of materialist scientists who will analyze such substances "every which way to Sunday" in order to find the exact chemical interactions associated with their efficacy. Even if this reductionist analysis prompts the scientific community to "sign off" on the efficacy of psychedelics for treating various illnesses, the folks who will be empowered are not suffering individuals, but rather large pharmaceutical companies. If not otherwise constrained, Big Pharma will soon strip the psychedelics of all consciously noticeable effects, especially those unscientific "hallucinations" that they seem to cause, in an attempt to derive therefrom a socially acceptable "one-size-fits-all" cure for depression, yet another daily pill regimen that they can market aggressively to the statistically over-depressed American people by running slick but ethereal advertisements during commercial breaks for "Dateline NBC" and "48 Hours."

This is why leaders of the Native American Church are, I believe, justifiably leery of the new psychedelic revolution, because it is being advanced under the banner of materialist medicine, not under the banner of human freedom, personal humility, and a sincere desire to learn about oneself and one's place in the universe. To put it another way, it's one thing to destigmatize psychedelics, it's quite another to denude them of all their awe-inspiring qualities, and that's what happens when psychedelics are wrenched from the hands of a shaman and placed under the microscope of a clinician.


Don't get me wrong: I congratulate Rick Doblin on his so far successful, if frustratingly slow, approach to legalizing psychedelic therapy in America, an approach which might be described here as "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." As for the concerns that I've highlighted above, I'm sure that MAPS is aware of them all and that they are working to obviate them wherever and whenever possible. I write this, not in order to play Sunday morning quarterback, but to remind Rick's fan club (to which I myself belong) that there is another way to address the intertwined problems of unjust drug laws and the lack of effective psychotherapy in America today. This alternative to Rick's strategy of compromise can be easily outlined as the following two-step process:

1) Reclaim the human being's right to naturally occurring substances via appealing to natural law (which, as John Locke writes, gives us unfettered access to "the earth, and all that is therein").

Then, once this basic human right has been reclaimed from power-hungry politicians...

2) Replace psychiatrists with empathic and pharmacologically savvy shamans who will improve their "patients'" psychological well-being with plant-assisted therapy, using ANY PLANT IN THE WORLD that said shaman deems propitious for achieving the goal(s) of the patient in question.

Then again, maybe I am a Sunday morning quarterback, for I see my approach to drug legalization as a kind of "hail Mary" pass, denying the right of politicians to outlaw plants in the first place, whereas Rick's strategy involves gaining a series of fiercely contested first downs by exploiting the various minor weaknesses of his opponent.

Despite our different strategies, however, we're both headed toward the same goal line, i.e. the legalization of psychedelic substances for the psychological benefit of humankind, and I'll be the first to congratulate Team MAPS should they reach the end zone before me.

Is Rick Doblin Running with the Devil? (permalink)

January 24, 2020

The Therapeutic Value of Anticipation

towards a realistic psychology of substance use

Militarized police crack down on human beings who attempt to relax and find meaning in life by using a drug other than liquor.
The use of the term "recreational" to describe substance use is misleading. Those who use the term are ignoring the fact that enjoyable or interesting drug-induced experiences often provide a psychological respite from the dullness and difficulties of so-called sober life. And thus, although a drug experience may be defined as "recreational," that does not imply that the substance use was ONLY recreational (which is generally the way in which drug warriors intend the term).

To the contrary, such use is often psychologically therapeutic, and in two ways, the second of which psychology has yet to recognize: 1) It is therapeutic thanks to the relaxation and/or diversion that the actual drug experience affords, and, 2) It is therapeutic thanks to the relaxation induced by the MERE ANTICIPATION of the upcoming relaxation. DeQuincey wrote of this latter benefit of drug use when he praised the therapeutic value of anticipation in connection with his use of opium (this was before he began his ill-advised daily use of opium for the relief of physical pain, after which he necessarily lost the anticipatory benefits of his substance use).

Not only were the author's weekend experiences at the opera enhanced by opium, but his "sober" weekdays were rendered more bearable as well, not directly by the drug, but thanks to the author's sure and certain knowledge of the upcoming intellectual ecstasies that were awaiting him. It is this "something to look forward to" of which modern psychiatry stubbornly refuses to take cognizance in estimating the value of occasional substance use, preferring instead to categorically demonize substances such as opium and cocaine as having no therapeutic value whatsoever, in slavish deference to the politically inspired laws against such drugs. Such substances are then held to health and safety standards that no one would ever think of applying to alcohol and tobacco, let alone to the Big Pharma antidepressants to which 1 in 4 women are addicted, in a scandal that has yet to make the hypocritical and purblind drug warriors lose a minute of sleep.

(One can only conclude that addiction is not the real bugaboo for the anti-drug fanatics, that what really alarms them is the marketing of substances for which big business is not getting its fair share of the profits.)

Thus, the bi-monthly use, say, of psychedelics cannot be dismissed as "recreational" merely because the user has assigned no nobler purpose to the use, for the anticipatory aspect of any positive experience -- drug-induced or otherwise -- can itself conduce to relaxation and a happier life. Thus such use can be psychologically therapeutic even if the user fails to explicitly note that fact.

The Therapeutic Value of Anticipation (permalink)

January 20, 2020

John Locke on Drugs

John Locke said: 'The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being.' Therefore the Drug War is a violation of natural law and usurps the US Constitution.
It's funny. I've read and re-read Locke's Treatises on Government, and I have yet to discover a principle whereby government can justifiably confiscate the naturally occurring substances to which we have legally claimed ownership. To the contrary, section 26 of his Second Treatise of Government (Book 2) tells us:

"The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being."

You'll notice that Locke did not say, ""The earth, and all that is therein, with the obvious exception of psychoactive plants, which the government may justifiably confiscate at will, while vigorously persecuting the owner of the property upon which said demon-plants reside."

Thomas Jefferson shared Locke's views on property, insofar as he wrote to Virginia Lawyer Samuel Kercheval:

"A right to property is founded in our natural wants, in the means with which we are endowed to satisfy these wants, and the right to what we acquire by those means without violating the similar rights of other sensible beings."

In other words, Jefferson understood the right to property as existing under natural law.

We cannot therefore suppose that Jeffersonian democracy would countenance a common law exception to property rights based on a politicized scare campaign about dangerous substances - least of all one in which the drug warriors claim that alcohol and tobacco, the two most dangerous drugs in the world, are going to be exceptions to the substance criminalization that they otherwise advocate.

Certainly, Jefferson had no need of referencing a list of government-banned plants before arranging his extensive and ever-changing gardens at Monticello. Why? Because Jefferson considered that his right to his own botanical property was self-evident, based on natural law, and thus not subject to abridgement by the common law of a politically motivated government. What's more this ban on government meddling was meant for all time, insofar as natural law is considered to be both universal and immutable.

We conclude therefore that the DEA violates the rational dictates of natural law when it criminalizes naturally occurring plants, and that it is therefore not simply the right of Americans to protest this usurpation, but their duty. For the drug war represents a repudiation of the principles upon which this country was founded, especially property rights as defined by John Locke (i.e., the right to "the earth and all that is therein").

Considered in this light, the DEA's 1987 confiscation of poppy plants from Monticello should have been a wakeup call for America. In this action, the DEA was demonstrating its scorn for both Locke's natural law and the unalienable rights as alluded to (and partially enumerated) by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson's poppy plants simply had to go. Why? Because the government had decided that this particular bit of personal property was somehow "bad" in and of itself.

Thus the common law was suffered to triumph over natural law, getting things precisely backwards from the Founding Fathers' point of view. And so the champions of Big Government won the day, committing brazen-faced robbery - of Founding Father Thomas Jefferson, no less -- under the disingenuous and hypocritical banner of a superstition: the idea that some plant medicines are evil and somehow beyond the ability of free human beings to use wisely.

It was the age of the Christian Science propaganda campaign known as "just say no," when Americans were not only persuaded by the government's superstitious beliefs about plant medicines, but went so far as to renounce their privacy rights in a bid to show their patriotic support of America's new secular religion known as the drug war, practically vying with one another to be the first to offer their urine for drug testing to demonstrate their allegiance to the new anti-Jeffersonian status quo. Through drug testing, the true believers could be separated from America's new class of enemies, those who, like Jefferson, dared to consider their right to Mother Nature's bounty as unalienable, as established by natural law. Thus big business conspired with government to ruin the lives of those who dared help themselves to Mother Nature's plants in defiance of politically motivated common law.

It was in this anti-American atmosphere that the sight of jackboots invading Monticello failed to arouse so much as a whimper in the hoi polloi. (But was not the freedom-loving Thomas Jefferson literally spinning in his grave!) But then values were all askew back then. This was the era when Bush and Reagan were encouraging children to turn their parents in to the police for using politically stigmatized substances, a law-enforcement strategy that would have earned kudos from Joseph Stalin. What better proof that the drug-war is anti-democratic than that it leads to the normalization of such chilling totalitarian political tactics.

Ominously, this normalization of government evil has continued apace since the DEA's Monticello raid, as the latest drug war movies from Hollywood openly extol the virtues of torture and murder as means of separating humankind from the therapeutic plants of Mother Nature. In "Running with the Devil," DEA agent Natalie Reyes tortures one "drug suspect" and murders another, in a plot whose script seeks to render her as the hero of the film, a no-nonsense fascist determined to separate humankind from mother nature's plants at any price - even that of turning America into a totalitarian police state. If millions of the depressed and lonely have gone without godsend rain forest medicines for 50 years thanks to her agency's ban on drug research, that's not Natalie's problem. She's just doing her job, that is, killing "scumbags" (meaning any Americans who dare to make use of the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet).

The popularity of such fascist-friendly films is a measure of the drug war's success in alienating Americans from the Jeffersonian legacy of personal freedom and goading us toward the acceptance of a new totalitarianism based on the demonization of Mother Nature's plants. This is an anti-American power grab by anti-Jeffersonian fascists who tell us: "Your pursuit of happiness may go thus far and no farther, lest we confiscate your property and throw you in jail."

The government thus legislates as if Thomas Jefferson had added the following footnote to the Declaration of Independence: "Of course, these natural rights must give way should the government find it politically expedient to insert common law in their stead."

Such a fascist power grab cries out for refutation and pushback by freedom lovers throughout the country - and throughout the world, in light of America's drug war colonialism, whereby we financially blackmail our trading partners into toeing our government's own superstitious party line about naturally occurring psychoactive substances.

"But actual liberty is dangerous!" cries the Chicken Little drug warrior.

Of course, any naturally occurring object can be dangerous when misused -- whether we're talking about Jefferson's riding horses or his poppy plants -- but so what? Nothing in Lockean theory limits a citizen's right to Mother Nature's bounty based on the danger that such liberty might seem to pose in the jaundiced eye of a busybody observer, let alone in the impersonal eye of a jealous and power-usurping government. For when it comes to the natural law on which our rights are founded, John Locke understood what the drug warrior has long forgotten, that mere things are neither good nor bad: only people are. Hence it follows that correcting behavior in a free society involves working with people to improve their lives, not scapegoating the ever-changing list of personal property with which we associate their bad or dangerous behavior as time goes by.

This basic understanding is implicit in everything that Locke wrote about natural rights: that people, not things, may be good or bad. If he did not always mention this explicitly, it was only because he never thought that a rational people could be so misled by political propaganda as to come to doubt such a manifest truth.

John Locke on Drugs (permalink)

January 13, 2020

Rationality Uber Alles

the link between the drug war and the western world's scientistic contempt for human emotions

psilocybin mushrooms behind bars: found guilty of improving lives
For years, I've been obsessed with answering the following question:

Why are Americans convinced that it's wrong to expand and improve one's conscious mind with the help of plant substances?

After all, we're more than eager to use plant substances for easing the pain of stomach or tooth ache. Why do we stint at using natural plants to improve our feelings?

This morning I awoke with a new answer: The problem is western philosophy.

Beginning with the pre-Socratics, western society became convinced that thought was the best way to understand and cope with the world around us: thought, not feeling. Our feelings could not be trusted, after all, whereas 2+2 was always 4.

This view is so basic now to the western world outlook that we're unlikely to question it, the view that thought should always trump feeling as our guide to the world. But no matter how compelling this proposition must seem to a society in which its truth is taken for granted, there are reasons to believe that it is wrong, or at least that it provides a drastically inadequate means of approaching life and its problems from a human point of view.

For evidence of this one-sided focus on rationality, we have only to consider the absurd presupposition of Freudian psychotherapy: namely, that one will be cured of psychological problems merely by understanding them. Somehow merely explaining the origins of one's bad feelings will make them go away. Such a proposition would not even make philosophical sense to us (it would read like the non-sequitur that it is) unless we presupposed the philosophical superiority of thought over feelings. In a world without that presupposition, an outspoken psychiatric patient would naturally be tempted to chide their Freudian psychotherapist as follows:

"I'm hurting emotionally inside and you're going to cure that problem with WORDS? How about giving me a hug, instead - or a plant-based entheogen - or both?"

Even the highly educated standard bearers of this rationality-based modality tacitly acknowledge its ultimate uselessness, as Freud ensured his own self-fulfillment not with psychotherapy but with the frequent use of cocaine.

Having rendered psychotherapy expensive and ineffective for well over half a century (before it was replaced by the even more expensive and ineffective pill-based therapy), this purblind reliance on reason alone (at the expense of feeling) is now boding a bleak future for society in general, as materialists like Elon Musk and Eric Schmidt strategically seek to make their users behave more like robots, and thus become more predictable for the purposes of surveillance capitalism. Such robotization, after all, is the end game of thought-based society, at least when it embraces the dreary tenets of materialism: namely, that human beings are nothing special, that consciousness is a mere epiphenomenon, and that there is no inherent meaning in life. If that's all there is, as Peggy Lee might sing, then we may as well be robots.

But this preference for thought over feeling is not the only way to approach life. There is an alternative approach, based on feelings and experience, an approach that is aptly evoked by Quanah Parker of the Native American Church when he observes that:

"The White Man goes into church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his tipi and talks with Jesus."

In other words, in religious matters, as in psychotherapy, western society finds it unseemly to actually experience strong emotions. We would rather talk about them. And so when it comes to religion, we are ready to talk the talk, but we would never feel comfortable actually walking the walk. To do so would make us feel like a classical waltzing pro who has been suddenly transported to a hip-hop dance floor. The whole experience would feel wrong and embarrassing to overthinking westerners like ourselves!

Likewise, psychiatrists are comfortable talking to their patients about emotional problems, but they would never think of pharmacologically inducing the actual positive mental states that a cure would represent - that would be too messy, with results too hard to capture on an Excel spread sheet. Better a cure that involves rational understanding than one that "merely" makes one feel better. (Luckily for the squeamish thought-obsessed psychiatrist, the drug war has thrown them a face-saving lifeline. By outlawing mother nature's vast array of mood-altering psychoactive substances, they have given psychiatrists an excuse for depriving humanity of no-brainer medication to improve their mood, medication in whose ritual use the patient can even come to appreciate his or her place in the universe -- a side effect that no one has yet to notice in the Big Pharma antidepressants to which more than one in 10 Americans are addicted even as I type this.)

So we have an answer, then.

Why are Americans convinced that it's wrong to expand and improve one's conscious mind with the help of plant substances?

Because we westerners are overthinking prudes. Or, to put it in the telling vernacular of certain African-Americans, we are, if you'll pardon my French, a bunch of "tight-ass bougies," preaching relaxation as a theoretical virtue while staunchly refusing to "shake it like we really mean it" out there on the dance floor. That would be scandalous after all and most unseemly for us. But leave us alone with a word processor and we can crank out a short book in one afternoon on the relaxation value inherent in modern dance. For all our bashfulness, we westerners are always good at producing what Hamlet derided as "words, words, words."

And so we make a virtue of our psychological necessity by pretending that the emotive world is not so important anyway, in fact it's downright misleading, we say. And so reality for us is to be discussed and parsed, not to be enjoyed. But note that this is a conclusion based more on sour grapes than on logic.

But there is another way of being in the world, the world of feeling, wherein we strive to be a part of the world, rather than merely attempting to understand it from a supposed god's-eye view - a viewpoint that is no longer even theoretically obtainable to us in any case given the observer-centric nature of the quantum universe.

It is amusing, and perhaps even informative, to realize that in a society in which feelings truly count, the Pied Pipers of the digital revolution would be considered madmen. They would be the inveterate curmudgeons of society who mope around the tribal fireside, mumbling

"must be rational"

in monotone, dogmatically eschewing the food of the gods, whilst the rest of the community dances ecstatically under a star-filled sky.

Rationality Uber Alles (permalink)

January 12, 2020

Just Say No to Surveillance Capitalism

How social physics teams up with the drug war to give a knock-out blow to human transcendence

Christopher Columbus demands that natives join Facebook for surveillance purposes
As Shoshana Zuboff reveals in her 2019 book "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism," one of the biggest cheerleaders of that new data-based economic system is Professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland of MIT, an expert in the creation of creepy software designed to harvest data about a wired Netizen's feelings and intentions. But Pentland's goals are more ambitious than just enabling a new approach to economic control. He envisions a Skinnerian world run according to the mathematical principles of "social physics," a brave new world in which humans are controlled by the once-maligned processes of operant conditioning, with the behavior of formerly free citizens being nudged and corralled by data-controlled algorithms designed to steer their actions in "beneficial" directions, at least as the term "beneficial" is defined by Pentland's deep-pocketed clients.

"Such dehumanization sucks," you may say, "because it treats human beings as widgets. But what does it have to do with the drug war and the DEA?"


When the Conquistadores arrived in South America, they immediately saw the ritual use of psychoactive plants as demonic. Why? Because their rational European mind was laden with a material bias that denied any special abilities to the conscious mind. The idea that psychoactive plant use could open up new useful visions was therefore entirely foreign to them. They therefore had no compunction in abolishing such plant-based rituals, often abolishing the tribes that practiced them, too, for good measure.

The Conquistadores' attack on the humanity of indigenous peoples can be seen as part one of a two-part process of social control spanning half a millennium. The Conquistadores stole the soul from the indigenous people in the 1600s by denying them one customary means of self-transcendence. Now, hundreds of years later, Social Physics has come along to tell us how the social reality of the dispossessed can be re-created, not through transcendent experiences with plants, of course (since the materialist Conquistador mentality maintains its grasp on the western mind, even in post-colonial times), but through the robotization of humankind.

Viewed in this light, all Americans (and the world, for that matter) face the plight of those indigenous people, for we have all been barred from accessing transcendence through plants, thanks to the drug war. And now, to add insult to this unconstitutional injury, materialists like Pentland come along to quantify the soulless residuum of our lives with algorithmic formulas to ensure that our stymied ambitions for transcendence become acceptable to us as the new status quo. If we're unhappy about being transformed into Pentland's predictable data-making robots, not to worry: algorithms will be written that will sense our distress and take appropriate action, adding a smiley face to our online calendar, perhaps, along with a link to a feel-good article about puppies that were recently rescued from a puppy mill.

Pentland's ideal world seems to be one in which the richest capitalists are happy and the rest of us are pacified. This is a world that uses the average person as a widget to ensure the happiness of the top 1%. It is a despotic project that sees efficiency as the ultimate good, while viewing personal transcendence as the enemy. Why? Because transcendence can result in behavioral changes that cannot be predicted by data-crunching algorithms, changes that may even predispose some to overthrow the whole Big Brother project of social control entailed by social physics.

When it comes to humanity's desire for personal transcendence, the drug war has already knocked us down "for the count." Now Pentland's "social physics" wants to come along and deliver the coup de grâce to our aspirations, by using data-based algorithms to construct a reality in which humanity will be taught to make its peace with a strictly material and economically focused world.

Conclusion: It's time to just say no to surveillance capitalism.

Just Say No to Surveillance Capitalism (permalink)

January 10, 2020

Tune In, Turn On, Opt Out

Why fans of psychedelic medicine should just say no to Surveillance Capitalism

Socrates says the good is virtue, Eric Schmidt says the good is profit
Any psychonaut who is aware of the anti-democratic practices of Big Data companies (and of what those practices portend for a free society) has to ask themselves the following question:

Isn't it time for Americans to "Tune in, turn on, and opt out" (opt out of participating in the digital world that is, to the extent that such a thing is still even possible these days)?

Psychonauts who do not immediately answer "yes" to this query are hereby invited to read "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Shoshana Zuboff, a 2019 classic already considered by many to be "The Silent Spring" of the Digital Age. The book clearly reveals, in the words of the Silicon Valley uber-nerds themselves, the disdain for democratic processes that is implicit in and necessary for the triumph of Big Data companies, financial behemoths for whom human beings are commodities, mere sources of data to be analyzed for predictive purposes by businesses of every kind.

I got so spooked by reading the book last night that I turned off my location finder on my phone, having learned from Shoshana's research that potentially hundreds of companies have access to the data that I may be unwittingly sharing through the handful of apps that I use on my Android device.

Things got even spookier the next morning, however, when my weight-monitoring app refused to record my latest weigh-in, stating in a pop-up message that Google insists on knowing my location if I wish this particular health-related app to be fully functional.

Fortunately I had read Shoshana's book, so I knew immediately what Google was up to: they were out to find my destination by hook or crook, whether I wanted to supply it or no. "Fine," I thought to myself, "I'll just do without a graphic rendering of my daily weight, or else create one of my own, with good old-fashioned pencil and paper!"

I then settled down to some computer-based freelance work, forgetting all about Big Data's creepy inroads into my private life - or at least attempting to. But when I checked out my e-mail in-box, I discovered a message from Google Maps with the subject line: "Ballard, here's your 2019 Timeline update." Curious, but with a sense of foreboding (based on the morning's events), I opened the e-mail and clicked "Explore Timeline," only to discover an extensive annotated map clearly indicating everywhere I had been in the world for the last year. Without my knowledge or approval, Google had helped itself to my Android location data for 2019 and now was informing me of that fact by spitting out the data in a format that it supposed might seem useful to me. I felt kind of like a Mafia don had just thrown down the map in front of me and smiled a knowing smile, as if to say: "See? I know where you are whenever I need you."

Had the government sent me such a map, I would have been horrified. Why am I supposed to be pleased when the same information comes to me from a multi-billion-dollar company like Google?

The e-mail in question said that I was receiving this map because I had turned on "location history." But I had never knowingly done such a thing, and even if I had, it was probably because Google was holding an app's functionality hostage until I did so. In any case, I never was informed that Google would be monitoring my every move based on that one uninformed click that I may or may not have made, perhaps as a prerequisite for playing chess on my smart phone or browsing through a digital version of the periodic table of elements.

The inhuman metaphysics of Surveillance Capitalism

But there's another reason that fans of the psychedelic revolution should "Tune in, Turn on, and Opt Out," and that is the inhuman metaphysics upon which Surveillance Capitalism is based. Big Data posits a human being as a means to an end, and a strictly materialistic means at that, one from which all relevant data must be extracted to benefit the needs of business. The psychedelic vision, on the other hand, posits the human being as a precious and ineffable part of nature, with a mysterious inner life that needs to be examined and understood over the course of a lifetime. Why? Because the psychonaut believes with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living. The pushback against Surveillance Capitalism should therefore be led by fans of psychedelic therapy, since they are the ones who know how much is to be lost when we consider human beings to be robots, mere cogs in an economic wheel, of value only insofar as they impart reliable data points to Big Data and its customers.

But what would it mean to "Tune in, turn on, and opt out"?

This obviously doesn't mean abandoning the Internet entirely, since the Net, just like LSD, is neither good nor bad, except in the way that it is used or abused. This new "Leary challenge" does mean, however, that we should "call" Big Data on its penchant for claiming our data through surreptitious means, such as withholding app functionality until we agree to their grasping terms, or burying their ambitious data grabs in lengthy unreadable disclosures. Meanwhile, those of us who don't consider ourselves to be robots should remind the Big Data companies of our point of view and put them on notice that our emotions and desires are off-limits to data mining, no matter how practical such an extraction may become in theory thanks to the increasing accuracy of digital mood detectors and the like.

Facebook's Zuckerberg and Google's Schmidt both insist that it's Manifest Destiny that our privacy rights are going to disappear, that the future will be one of ever-increasing efficiency, powered by a myriad of data-points supplied by obediently wired Netizens. It's inevitable they say, "so don't bother trying to stop us." But what about those of us who do not consider efficiency and profiteering to be the ultimate goals of life? Why should we play along in order to boost the profits of the most profitable companies in the world?

Fortunately, we champions of the human spirit can still opt out of this robotic dystopia that the Big Data companies are trying to foist upon us under the guise of its supposed inevitability. We can start by actually reading those disclosure and privacy notices and crying "foul" when they oblige us to part with privacy expectations that we have always taken for granted in analog life.

Meanwhile, we must realize that the Big Data end game is not simply to corner the market on our private information, but to use that data to change our behavior in accordance with the economic needs of its deep-pocketed clients. In this way, the goal of surveillance capitalism dovetails with the interests of the drug war: both are committed to keeping human beings as predictable as possible: one by rendering us more robotlike and programmable, the other by denying us the mind-expanding blessings of Mother Nature.

Tune In, Turn On, Opt Out (permalink)

January 8, 2020

Urine Testers Needed

must be willing and able to piss on the US Constitution

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
A big player in the drug-testing business is looking for new urine testers. Must be willing and able to ruin the lives of Americans who attempt to profit therapeutically from Mother Nature's plants. Will check employee urine for every natural substance known to man -- except for the two most dangerous substances, of course, namely alcohol and tobacco. (Nor will the successful candidate be checking for addictive antidepressants, in keeping with the social status quo of ignoring THAT epidemic entirely. Hey, Americans can only handle so much truth at one time, you see.) Must, however, be willing and able to punish Christian Science heretics with expulsion from the U.S. job market based on no probable cause whatsoever, let alone proof that would hold up in court... read more

Urine Testers Needed (permalink)

January 7, 2020

There is a Specter Haunting Science

the specter of the Drug War

National Science Foundation lecture: there is a specter haunting science: the specter of the Drug War
An actual speech from an actually imagined meeting of the National Science Foundation

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm afraid there was a bit of a typo in the bulletin for today's science lecture. My speech today is not going to be on, and I quote, "Genetic Variability in Hydrastis Canadensis." (I'm not sure what your secretary was smoking when she came up with that title, since it bears so little resemblance to the actual topic of my proposed animadversions for this morning's session. Humph.)


The actual title of my address today is: "Scientists are Cowards: Yes, I'm talking to you."


And I begin. Ahem.

There is a specter haunting Europe - and the entire free-world for that matter -- the specter of the anti-scientific drug war.


You doubt it? Just hear me out.

Suppose that the Catholic Church had come forth in the last half-century and told you that there were thousands of plants that you scientists were no longer allowed to study, on pain of being ostracized, removed from your job, or perhaps even arrested?

You guys would be up in arms. Especially the rabid atheists among us. Not to mention any names, of course (such as Daniel Dennett or Sam Harris or Michael Ruse or Richard Dawkins). You'd be like: How dare the Church tell science what it can and cannot study?


Enough with the hypocritical applause, folks, because guess what: you scientists DID let an outside force trump the cause of science over the last 50 years - it's just that the force in question was the government, not religion.


The Drug Warriors declared that you must stop studying a wide variety of psychoactive plants (on pain of the aforesaid penalties), and you guys essentially said, in the immortal words of Sergeant Schultz from "Hogan's Heroes": "Jawohl, Herr Kommandant. I know no-think about such plants, I say no-think about such plants!"

QED: You scientists are cowards. End of discussion.

You failed to push back and declare science off-limits to political manipulation... read more

There is a Specter Haunting Science (permalink)

January 4, 2020

Torture 101 at DEA University

prerequisite: Subverting the U.S. Constitution

professor teaching Torture 101 at DEA University
PROFESSOR: Welcome to Torture 101 here at DEA University. I'm Professor Himmler. Check your schedules, people. "Subverting the US Constitution" is across the hall with Professor Goebbels.

There's no use in taking the roll while so many DEA recruits are wandering around the hallways like so many drug-addled zombies, so I'll just start lecturing and see what happens.

Earth to the students loitering at the door: this is Torture 101. Either shit or get off the pot.

Now then, what comes to mind when I say the word "torture"?

WILLIAM: A Justin Bieber concert.



WILLIAM: I beg your pardon

PROFESSOR: Get out of my class. You disgust me.


PROFESSOR: This is a teaching moment, class: There is no room in the DEA for humor.


Now you too can dangle drug suspects from grappling hooks and shoot them in cold blood while they're sitting across from you, unsuspecting, at their very own kitchen table. Learn from the experts as they teach you how to subvert the US Constitution, consequence free, all in the name of our most righteous and holy drug war. (First 50 enrollees get free jackboots!)

PROFESSOR: No, wait, I lie. It's okay to let your hair down and laugh at the folks whose rights you have trampled...

But we must reserve that talk for the break room, where we can gloat in peace over the lives that we have ruined.

Ach! More zombies loitering at the door. I can see that we're going to get nothing accomplished today.

Well, at least I can assign tonight's homework: I want you folks to go home and watch "Running with the Devil" starring Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Reyes.

Notice that the DEA agent (played by Natalie) takes her drug suspect to a nondescript storage hangar and suspends him from a meat hook.

MIKEY: Isn't that illegal, sir?

PROFESSOR: Well, if you had taken Dr. Goebbel's excellent course on subverting the U.S. Constitution - which, by the way, is technically a prerequisite for this course on torture, young man - you would know that the DEA scoffs at the outdated precepts of the Constitution and wastes no opportunity to snicker at its impotent allusions to suspect rights.

Let's show Mikey some examples. Suzie, you're interviewing me and I demand to see a lawyer. How do you answer in such a way as to heap scorn upon my appeal to Constitutional protections?

SUZIE: That's easy, Professor. I just say, as incredulously as possible of course: "Lawyer? Here's your lawyer," and with that, I slap your forehead with the back of my gun, whereupon you fall bleeding to the floor and I kick you in your all-too-insolent ribs!

PROFESSOR: She shoots, she scores! Excellent, Suzie. You were really paying attention in Dr. Goebbels' knowledge-fest, aka "Subverting the US Constitution: How the DEA can get away with literally anything." A short round of polite applause for Suzie.

Still, Mikey does have a point, in spite of his seeming cluelessness about DEA values. You see, technically speaking, it remains wrong to torture suspects in any way.


I know, right? It's a real drag. But the good news is, the DEA is such a big and authoritative organization that we can get away with almost any anti-American behavior, provided that we all keep our stories straight and have each other's backs when we... how shall I put this... "bend" the law a little. Wink, wink, wink!

CLASS: Wink, wink, wink!

PROFESSOR: I didn't get a wink wink wink from Cedric over there. Don't tell me that we've got an idealist in our midst?

CEDRIC: Wink wink wink.

PROFESSOR: That's more like it, Cedric. I've got my eyes on you. Why can't you be more like Suzie?

Suzie, you're good at this stuff. What would you say if I'm a reporter and I ask you: "Did you ever violate a drug suspect's rights?"

SUZIE: I'd say, "We read him all his rights, sir," neglecting to point out, of course, that the exposition in question took place while the drug suspect was suspended from the ceiling by a meat hook!

PROFESSOR: Ha! Now that really IS funny. I bet the suspect was even wearing a Speedo, which you had thoughtfully supplied him for the occasion, just like in the movie Running with the Devil.

SUZIE: You know it, sir! Anything to humiliate the beggar who presumes to sell naturally occurring plant substances to a fellow human being.

PROFESSOR: Mind you, it's the kind of thing that we should only laugh about around the water cooler, though... for legal reasons, you understand.

SUZIE: Word.

PROFESSOR: Now, of course, when you're in the field, you may have no access to a meat hook - but the point of the movie still holds: that the good DEA agent will make a suspect talk, Constitution or no Constitution.

NANCY: But doesn't Natalie Reyes end up actually murdering the drug king pin at the end of the movie?


PROFESSOR: Nice move, Ex-lax. You just ruined the movie for everybody in the class.

SUZIE: Oh, no!

PROFESSOR: But you do make a fair point. Torture may indeed work, but there are times when even torture is just not enough.

BOBBY: When is that, Professor?

PROFESSOR: Well, suppose that an American has been selling naturally occurring plants to his fellow Americans for decades and decades, in brazen defiance of the American Sharia against the use of Mother Nature's pharmacy.

JUNE: Oh, that's disgusting!

PROFESSOR: I know, right? And when a citizen thus makes a mockery of our belief in the evilness of naturally occurring substances, there's sometimes nothing left for us to do but to murder them.


BOBBY: Serves them right.

PROFESSOR: Still, we must remember that murder, technically speaking, is not condoned by that pesky Constitution of ours.


That's why it's important that the DEA come together as one single corrupt agency and deny that it's doing anything wrong, while meanwhile trashing the hell out of civil liberties, in ways that conduce to plausible deniability.

*bell rings*

Speaking of plausible deniability: I did not say anything in this course that encouraged illegal behavior, did I, class?


DID I, Class?

CLASS: NO, Professor Himmler, you did not!

PROFESSOR: Good for you, class. Now you're catching on! Just be sure to refrain from snickering cynically about our anti-Constitutional predilections until you reach the break room down the hall! In public, the DEA must remain as American as apple pie.

SUZIE: Apple pie suspended by a meat hook, that is!

PROFESSOR: Stop it, Suzie! You're gonna make me laugh before I reach the break room!

Torture 101 at DEA University (permalink)

January 2, 2020

Hypocritical America Embraces Drug War Fascism

a warning to any remaining friends of freedom

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
This morning I searched the vast image catalog of Shutterstock for some photographs that illustrated the general concept of abolishing the drug war. I was sure I'd find something since the site has over a billion images submitted by well over half a million contributors.


To my dismay, there were very few if any images that suggested, even obliquely, that the drug war was folly. Instead, the site was full of propaganda images that associated cocaine in particular with all manner of vice. First we see an image of a white tabletop littered with bloody bullet casings and a credit card half covered with cocaine. Next we see a handgun lying in front of a half-dozen plastic bags full of white powder. One row down, there are the trademark lines of cocaine starkly displayed on a black tabletop, just waiting for some hedonist hit man to snort, no doubt before taking a scantily clad mistress in his arms and lavishing her with a highly salacious kiss. (Needless to say there are no images of Sherlock Holmes, using related substances to hone his observational skills, nor of Freud, using such substances to ensure the prolific output whereby he achieved self-actualization in life.)

Is America blind? Does no one realize that the dystopia thus depicted on Shutterstock is caused by the Drug War itself, the very war that we assume will solve our problems? Just as Prohibition created the Mafia, the Drug War has turned inner cities into shooting galleries.

The answer is obvious: decriminalize drugs, cocaine first and foremost, since it seems to be the natural substance of choice for marketing illegally... read more

Hypocritical America Embraces Drug War Fascism (permalink)

December 30, 2019

Campfire Stories about America's Drug War

live from Lake Rights-Be-Gone

campfire story about the drug war, live from Lake Rights-Be-Gone
COUNSELOR RICK: Kids, gather around, I have a good horror story for you.

KIDS: Oooh!

COUNSELOR RICK: That's right, ears in the full upright position. This one's downright eerie.

Now then, once upon a time, there were these godsend plants that could help people get over depression and conquer loneliness.

ANTOINE: THAT'S not scary!

COUNSELOR RICK: Oh, just you wait, Antoine. See, these plants grew all around us, they were our natural birthright as Earthlings, but then these bigoted people known as "drug warriors" decided that these plants were somehow evil.

SALLY: That's silly, Counselor Rick. Plant medicines can't be evil, only people can be evil.

ANTOINE: That's right. Medicines can be good OR bad: it all depends on how they're used.

COUNSELOR RICK: You know that, kids, and I know that, but these people were... well, how should I put this...?

ANTOINE: Dumb as crap?

COUNSELOR RICK: Well, let's just say they were superstitious.

SALLY: Sounds like they were regular cretins to me.

COUNSELOR RICK: Now, now, Sally, be nice.

ANTOINE: Counselor Rick! Counselor Rick!


ANTOINE: I think I've heard this one before.


ANTOINE: Oh, yeah, you're talking about that science-fiction story called "Fahrenheit 452," where the government burns plants in order to stop citizens from improving their mental focus and expanding their minds!

COUNSELOR RICK: Antoine shoots and scores!

SALLY: Ooh, Counselor Rick, I don't want to hear that story. It scares me.

ANTOINE: Me too, Counselor Rick... read more

Campfire Stories about America's Drug War (permalink)

December 29, 2019

Depressed? Here's why.

Exposing the anti-patient drug-war lobby in Washington

wanted: DEA drug scheduler: must be willing and able to ruin soldiers' lives
The DEA is the enemy of depressed individuals worldwide because it has blocked the research (let alone the use) of godsend antidepressant medications now for over four decades. Technically, it has only done this in America, but Drug War colonialism has spread this anti-scientific policy worldwide, as America financially blackmails its trading partners into touting the anti-patient party line about so-called drugs.

MDMA was legal in 1984 and ready to treat soldiers with PTSD. However, in 1985, the DEA acted against the advice of its own regulatory judge and criminalized the substance. The result: American soldiers have been without a godsend medication for PTSD during the last three and a half decades, during their fight with al-Qaida and the Taliban. While our forces were living through hell overseas, the DEA was hunkering down in its comfy Washington offices, determined to keep its jobs at any cost, even at the expense of soldiers' lives and well-being. Meanwhile, psychedelics (such as ayahuasca, psilocybin, and ibogaine) which showed profound potential for virtually curing alcoholism in the '50s, have been listed by the DEA as schedule I drugs since the DEA's inception (based purely on politics, not on science) ensuring that the depressed must continue to rely on Big Pharma meds that create chemical dependence.

But the DEA is not the only group that's determined to keep valuable medications from those who need them. To figure out who else is anti-patient in this way, just ask yourself: who stands to lose money if the drug war is finally terminated? A partial list of such groups follows... read more

Depressed? Here's why. (permalink)

December 27, 2019

The Drug War is a War on Patients

my letter to Republican senators of the 116th U.S. Congress

let freedom ring, abolish the dea
Dear Senator:

Please end the Drug War. It is a war on patients.

I am a 61-year-old American who has been denied godsend medications for depression for the last 40 years, all because Washington legislators care more about punishing "drug users" than they care about helping those suffering from alcoholism, depression and PTSD.

When is Congress going to stop the war on drug research and the war on patients?

It is nothing less than a crime against humanity when the DEA knowingly withholds godsend medications from the American public - and lies while so doing.

Please end this war against patients today. Abolish the DEA and put its leadership on trial for causing immense and unnecessary suffering for America's patients through its anti-scientific lies about substances like MDMA and psilocybin.

And stop financially blackmailing other countries to make them follow suit with America's unscientific drug war. Is it not bad enough that you've made it impossible for me to get help in America? Do you really have to make sure that I can't get help anywhere on the planet?

Substances are not evil, Senator. That is a drug-war superstition. They are good or bad, depending on how they are used.

Stop demonizing godsend medications just because they may be subject to occasional abuse.

Please stop denying godsend medication to millions merely because a few thousand may abuse them.

Get rid of the fascist DEA - the jackbooted thugs that stomped onto Monticello and stole Thomas Jefferson's poppies -- and let scientists study any substance that they please without government interference - that is, if you really want to live in a free country... read more

The Drug War is a War on Patients (permalink)

December 26, 2019

DEA Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity

dea jobs: must be willing and able to ruin American lives
The DEA has blocked soldiers receiving MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, in defiance of their own judge's recommendation that the therapy move forward. That judge said the therapy could go forward in 1985 -- but the DEA shut it down, based partly on bogus scientific reports written to curry favor with drug warriors.

In doing this, the DEA is responsible for 30 years' (and counting) worth of unnecessary suffering for American soldiers.

They have blocked depressives and alcoholics from receiving godsend medications for four decades and counting.

In doing this, the DEA is responsible for 45 years' (and counting) worth of unnecessary suffering for alcoholics and the depressed.

They have blocked study of ayahuasca, even though it has been shown to grow new neurons in the brain. Pity the DEA fools who reach retirement age and start to unnecessarily suffer from Alzheimer's because they blocked this godsend plant from even being studied.

The question is no longer if the DEA is acting rightly. The answer is clear: the DEA is a despotic, violence-causing anti-democratic force determined to keep their jobs at the expense of the health and happiness of the American people. Just as alcohol prohibition single-handedly created the Mafia, substance prohibition has resulted in the creation of inner-city shooting galleries.

Abolishing the DEA is just the first step: Its officers need to be tried for crimes against humanity, to be hauled before a court to answer for their lies about mother nature's medicines, their self-dealing, their withholding of godsend therapies from the depressed, alcoholics and America's soldiers... read more

DEA Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity (permalink)

December 25, 2019

Speaking Truth to Big Pharma

an open letter to the Heffter Research Institute

forbidden plants
In the book Psychedelic Medicine, Dr. Richard Louis Miller refers to a lack of support for psychedelic medicines, especially LSD, concluding that there are only a handful of specialists who are pursuing the work and that the public, especially in Britain, are largely indifferent to the whole topic.

In my opinion, this indifference exists only because no one has yet attempted to connect the dots between the outlawing of psychedelic therapy and the current sad state of depression therapy in America, namely that addictive and starkly inadequate solution of Big Pharma known as SSRIs and SNRIs. If this connection were understood by the depressed public, I imagine they would be plenty motivated to support change.

The dots may be connected as follows:

Psychedelic therapy showed great promise for the depressed and it's non-addictive.

The government banned that therapy half a century ago.

As a result, the depressed have been shunted off onto addictive medicines that simply do not work as claimed, drugs that actually create the chemical imbalance that they purport to fix. These ineffective medicines are expensive, must be taken daily and turn the pill-taker into an eternal patient, since they have to visit a psychiatrist every 3 months of their life in order to be catechized about their mental health. This is the exact opposite of an empowering therapy. Speaking personally, I consider it highly demoralizing (a fact that I've never heard psychiatrists recognize, let alone regret).

I personally have been a guinea pig for Big Pharma for the last 50 years, and their nostrums have not worked... read more

Speaking Truth to Big Pharma (permalink)

December 21, 2019

Snoop Pearson's Muddle-Headed Take on Drugs

UnScientific American: special patriotic edition, reminding scientists what plants and fungi they must ignore in the name of the Fatherland
I don't want to pick on Snoop, but I cannot resist because her confusion about so-called "drugs" is so typical of the muddle-headed thinking of Americans in general on this subject. So hopefully in clarifying her confusion, I'll be of assistance to others who may be similarly bamboozled.

First, let's be honest about what we Americans mean by drugs, Snoopie: We do not mean liquor. We do not mean tobacco. And we certainly do not mean Big Pharma's massively prescribed antidepressants to which 1 in 4 American women are currently addicted.

No, by "drugs" we merely mean natural substances that our government has decided are bad for us. In other words, our hatred of drugs is simply Christian Science with respect to psychological well-being, it is the metaphysical idea that we have some moral duty to forego the mind-improving pharmacopeia of Mother Nature.

Why? It's hard to say*. But our mistrust of Mother Nature is "all of a piece" with our historic fear of witches in the west and the way that they freely availed themselves of psychoactive plants. This fear in turn no doubt dates to societal PTSD from the Garden of Eden debacle. More recently, the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature has become a threat to traditional medical practitioners, and they're right to be concerned.

If the government allowed humanity to access its natural birthright of Mother Nature's pharmacy, then who in their right mind would use the handful of addictive and inadequately effective synthesized drugs that Big Pharma has created to take Mother Nature's place? No one, at least if the cure and/or benefit that we seek is psychological... read more

Snoop Pearson's Muddle-Headed Take on Drugs (permalink)

December 15, 2019

Lock 'em up! Lock 'em up!

you want a drug war, we'll give you a drug war

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com

Welcome back to the DEA Lounge.


You know, the drug warriors don't want a real drug war.


That's right, because a real drug war would crack down, first and foremost, on the use of the two most devastating drugs in American history: alcohol and tobacco.


I kid you not.


If we launched a REAL drug war, then the hypocritical William Bennetts of the world would be the first so-called "scumbags" to be thrown into the slammer.


And when Billy complains, we'll be like: "Hey, we're just taking your own advice: cracking down on nasty drugs -- and the scumbag druggies like yourself who use them."


Mind you, in such a drug war we'd have to leave sentiment behind and get tough.


The William Bennetts, I'm afraid, will have to be removed from the voting rolls pronto.


And have their urine tested for tobacco and alcohol at least once a week by government-provided health experts. We should probably televise that testing, too, so that innocent Americans who are subjected to that debasing procedure for no reason at all (i.e., in the absence of all probable cause!) can see that we're not just singling them out... read more

Lock 'em up! Lock 'em up! (permalink)

December 13, 2019

Tweet to Alex Adams

author of How to Justify Torture

The DEA Today: guest drinking vodka, host smoking cigarette

@AlexAdams5 In Running with the Devil, the DEA "hero" tortures one suspect. Then she murders another, while hypocritically smoking one of the most lethal drugs on the planet: tobacco.

Tweet to Alex Adams (permalink)

December 6, 2019

What if Arthur Schopenhauer Had Used DMT?

Psychotropic plants as a cure for modern pessimism

evolution of man: from ape to drug warrior
In the "Wisdom of Life," Arthur Schopenhauer sums up an unspoken assumption of Western philosophy when he writes:

"Every man is pent up within the limits of his own consciousness and cannot get directly beyond those limits any more than he can get beyond his own skin."

Indeed, Schopenhauer's famous pessimism is derived from the daily observance of this supposed "fact of life."

But what if it's not a fact? What if we discovered that human psychology was quite therapeutically pliable after all? Wouldn't such a finding require a revision, not only of Schopenhauer's pessimistic philosophy but of Western philosophy in general, insofar as it presupposes stark limitations on the ability of individual human beings to change their own psychology for the better? Wouldn't it require the doomsayers of today to admit that there may be hope for humanity after all, if we only open our eyes (and our research laboratories) to the astonishing psychological healing potential of psychedelic plants?

These are not just hypothetical questions, for a scientific study of psychoactive plants is now proving to Western researchers what partakers of these substances have known for millennia, namely that plants like ibogaine, ayahuasca, and psilocybin can be used strategically to foster new understandings in the human mind, to help one rise above a parochial and neurosis-making upbringing, as well as problematic genetics, and to thrive in the world, in spite of the negative cards that they may have been dealt both by nurture and by nature.

But Western philosophy has entirely missed the implications of these developments... read more

What if Arthur Schopenhauer Had Used DMT? (permalink)

December 2, 2019

Euthanasia in the Age of the Drug War

doctors can now kill patients but they can't make them feel better

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
If you want proof that the drug war is insane, think about the increasing popularity of euthanasia in the west, which is already the law of the land in Holland. Think about what euthanasia means in a country that has banned plant medicines.

It means that I can ask my doctor to give me plant medicines that will make me happy and he will indignantly say "no." But if I ask that same doctor for a drug that will kill me, he will say, "Your wish is my command."

What more proof do we need that the drug war is a nature-hating sadomasochistic incarnation of Christian Science? It is the triumph of extreme puritanism that says that death itself is preferable to feeling good with the help of Mother Nature's psychoactive plants.

Would a sane society allow doctors to kill their patients BEFORE first giving those doctors free rein to prescribe the naturally occurring medicines of their choice, many of which have been proven to help the elderly (and the rest of us, for that matter) make their peace both with life and death?

Only a society that had a pathological distrust of Mother Nature's pharmacy could take such a heartless stance and then seek to enforce it by draconian laws.

Doctor to depressed elderly patient: "The bad news is, we can't give you psilocybin for your depression. The good news is, we can kill you if the depression gets too bad."

Euthanasia in the Age of the Drug War (permalink)

November 26, 2019

Se Llama Mushrooms

Live from the DEA Lounge!

When I grow up, I wanna be a drug warrior and ruin people's lives.

Welcome back to the DEA Lounge.


How many know that psychedelics are good for learning languages? Raise your hands?


Let's see, 24, carry the one...

Looks like nobody here knows that.


No, seriously. That's just one of the millions of things that we don't know about Mother Nature's pharmacy thanks to our government's policy of placing her off-limits.


Wake up, folks: that's as anti-scientific as it gets.


Think about it: Why do kids learn languages? Surely, it has something to do with the flexibility of their brains. Whereas the adult brain has gotten into a rut. Am I right?


Look at the guy at the bar over there. He's like, "I can't speak for the rest of us here, but my own brain is certainly nothing to write home about."


I know you didn't say anything, sir, but there is such a thing as telepathy, you know.


No, seriously... read more

Se Llama Mushrooms (permalink)

November 23, 2019

In Praise of Augustus Bedloe

DEA blasting apart buildings where heretics have been improving their minds using Mother Nature's plants
In the short story "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains" by Edgar Allan Poe, an artistic but moody young man named Augustus Bedloe walks off into the highlands, under the influence of an immoderate dose of morphine. As he begins to lose his way in the dense and foggy forest southwest of Charlottesville, Virginia, he describes the drug's onset as follows:

"In the meantime the morphine had its customary effect- that of enduing all the external world with an intensity of interest. In the quivering of a leaf- in the hue of a blade of grass- in the shape of a trefoil- in the humming of a bee- in the gleaming of a dew-drop- in the breathing of the wind- in the faint odors that came from the forest- there came a whole universe of suggestion- a gay and motley train of rhapsodical and immethodical thought."

I don't know about you, but that's the kind of wide-awake world that I want to live in - or at very least have access to - and I have no patience with the meddling drug warriors who insist by law that I renounce that desire. They seem determined to make me view Mother Nature with the same bleary eyes that they possess. "If God had wanted us to improve our minds," they seem to say, "he would have boxed up the relevant therapeutic plants, stamped them with a bar code and placed them on sale at the local Rite-Aid or CVS Pharmacy. Besides, surely a blade of grass is a blade of grass. If you've seen one, you've seen them all. Now, let's go bowling and have some brewskis."

Such drug warriors are like a self-satisfied Mr. Magoo who wants to outlaw glasses in the belief that his own natural vision is as good as it gets for anybody - or as good as it should get, according to Mr... read more

In Praise of Augustus Bedloe (permalink)

November 23, 2019

Let's burn some plants!

protesting American Drug Warriors just say no to mind-improving plants
In the movie "JoJo Rabbit" by Taika Waititi, a Nazi school teacher turns excitedly to her young uniformed charges and shouts: "Now let's burn some books!"

That's a funny line to modern Americans, because we still recognize the obvious importance of free speech. Therefore burning books seems downright silly to us. But before we clap ourselves on the back for our democratic enlightenment viz. the Nazi past, let's remember that we ourselves live in a country that burns plants and holds them responsible for social failings, a so-called scientific country that even bans research on such substances.

Thus the myriad plants and fungi that can improve the mind are outlawed by a superstitious belief that these substances are somehow evil in and of themselves, without regard for the way that they are used.

Let's hope that the idiocy of this drug-war zeitgeist will be apparent to the movie-goers of the future, so that the line "Let's burn some plants" will someday elicit the same howls of amused derision that Americans reserve today for the line "Let's burn some books."

A hundred and fifty years ago, the mob was worried about Frankenstein. Today they're worried about devil plants. That's why millions around the globe have to go without Mother Nature's godsends, to cater to the superstitious and anti-scientific fears of the masses, dutifully propagandized by politicians and lobbyists for Big Liquor, the American Psychiatric Association, law enforcement, and the corrections industry.

Let's burn some plants! (permalink)

November 14, 2019

Plants Divine, All Plants Excelling

picture of stained glass windows of mushrooms at Second Church of the Eleusianian Mysteries
Live from the Second Church of the Eleusinian Mysteries -- at a location that the DEA has been torturing suspects to discover for the last ten years...

Let's all turn to hymn #355, "Plants Divine, All Plants Excelling." And a one, and a two, and a one, two, three, four...

Verse 1

Plants divine, all plants excelling
Not a gift for man to shun
Psychoactively restoring
Weary souls a sense of fun

But the prudish claim this bounty's
From a source we should not tap
So they outlaw mother nature
What a pile of bovine crap

Verse 2

Age-ed souls in homes of sadness
Shorn of meaning and of hope
Find in psilocybin's madness
Ways to prosper and to cope

Yet the narc with IQ zero
Seeks to keep the status quo
Forcing sick and dying patients
To encounter needless woe

Verse 3

Thank we now the forest shaman
Who dispenses sacred balm
Plants and fungi from the jungle
Sure to teach us as they calm

Yet the despots slander nature
Curse the plants that ease the brain
Check our urine at the job site
To ensure we all refrain

Verse 4

Bursting with ungrateful chutzpah
Tyrants outlaw healing plants
Drugs that when provided rightly
Make the suicidal dance

Yet, the heartless politician
Claims that "drugs" are just the pits
Yet they never give up liquor
What amazing hypocrites

Verse 5

Ayahuasca's non-addictive
Grows new neurons in the brain
Makes the most besotted drinker
From his poison to refrain

Yet, the shrinks from here to Parma
Make it clearly understood
We must buy pills from Big Pharma
Till we're hooked upon them good

Okay, you may all be seated. Thanks for that rousing performance of hymn #355, "Plants Divine, All Plants Excelling," a paeon of praise to the therapeutic power of rain forest plants, both known and yet to be discovered... read more

Plants Divine, All Plants Excelling (permalink)

November 12, 2019

Harold & Kumar Support the Drug War

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
I've already found leisure to dilate on the anti-democratic impact of drug-war movies like "Running with the Devil," in which the DEA agent is the (ahem) "hero" who combats those bad guy plant sellers by torturing them and shooting them in cold blood. Although this kind of movie deserves to be panned for its ideological toxicity, don't hold your breath waiting for movie critics to bash the movie on that score. And as far as parental watch dog groups are concerned, count on them to lambaste such pics for nudity, violence, and naughty words, but don't expect to hear a peep from them about the pro-fascist message of such DEA propaganda. Johnny must not swear, of course, but if he wants to torture and murder folks who traffic in Mother Nature's plants, more power to him.

But there is another genre of pictures that helps sell the pro-fascist drug war sensibility to gullible Americans: namely, comedies such as "Harold & Kumar go to White Castle," in which illegal plant substances are uniquely associated with sexual abandon and blatant irresponsibility. Such films would be innocuous enough in a culture that spoke honestly about drugs -- that recognized both their benefits and ills -- but in our drug-war society, which dogmatically recognizes only the misuse of outlawed substances, such movies reinforce the drug warrior supposition that there is no sensible reason to use the plants that the government has chosen to criminalize. So as Neil Patrick Harris snorts cocaine off the tush of a pole dancer while driving Harold's car through off-road vegetation, one can just hear the "lock-em-up" conservative in the audience saying to himself: "You see? Aren't drugs just the worst thing in the world?!" And so we lie to ourselves to keep this drug war myth going... read more

Harold & Kumar Support the Drug War (permalink)

November 10, 2019

How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Letter to Variety

When are Variety and its movie critics going to stop celebrating drug war fascism? Dennis Harvey should be PANNING films like "Running with the Devil" that makes a case for torture and murder in prosecuting the drug war, not writing as if the abhorrent movie premise were somehow unremarkable. Not only does Natalie Reyes' DEA character torture a suspect -- and threaten to cut him open -- but she shoots the unarmed "cook" at the end -- WHILE SHE'S SMOKING A CIGARETTE CONTAINING TOBACCO -- a drug far worse than the coca leaves that the agent is determined to suppress. Yet, from the director's point of view, the movie goer is clearly meant to sympathize with the DEA agent? That's the sort of cinematic message that Stalin and Mussolini could have gotten behind (or Leni Riefenstahl for that matter), but Thomas Jefferson would have been appalled.

The last thing that a democratic country needs is a movie that glorifies violating the constitution in the name of the drug war. Nor does the DEA deserve to be glorified like this.

Fishkill & Egbert review the patriotic movie classic from 2019 entitled Running with the Devil, in which Natalie Reyes combats Christian Science heretics with the good old-fashioned all-American expedients of torture and assassination.

It is a lying and self-serving institution that has blocked valuable drug research ever since its founding in 1973 (still saying to this day that there's no therapeutic value in psychedelics, a flat out lie ignoring both recent cutting-edge clinical trials and thousands of years of breathtaking evidence, including the Eleusinian mysteries and MesoAmerican ritual), forcing folks like myself onto addictive Big Pharma antidepressants by default, when just a few sessions with outlawed and inexpensive psychedelics like psilocybin or ayahuasca could have given me a new outlook on life and insight into my human condition... read more

How Variety and its film critics support drug war fascism (permalink)

November 7, 2019

Running with the torture loving DEA

Welcome back to the DEA Lounge!

I want to thank our public servants here for taking time out to join us. I know you've got a busy schedule, locking up liberals, so any time you can spare--

What did I say?

Hey, listen, I understand. By locking up liberals, you keep the drug warrior conservatives in power and thus maintain your crucial jobs of quashing dissent in America and limiting human consciousness.

No, seriously. I suppose the drug war was bound to happen eventually on planet earth.


It had to happen at the precise moment in human history when capitalism and modern transportation coincided with a new awareness of the psychoactive power of plants.


We could either greet this alignment of forces rationally or not, and guess which choice we made?


Suddenly, Chicken Little politicians were screaming: "Oh, me gosh, we have to outlaw plants!"


Fishkill & Egbert review the patriotic movie classic from 2019 entitled Running with the Devil, in which Natalie Reyes combats Christian Science heretics with the good old-fashioned all-American expedients of torture and assassination.

Earth to politicians: you should have outlawed the profit motive when it comes to those psychoactive plants, not the plants themselves.


I guess they had to scapegoat plants, though, since the alternative was to question the all-powerful god of capitalism.


The result? They thereby created such a violent world that we had to invent a whole new movie genre to accommodate all the bullets and bodies: namely, the drug war movie... read more

Running with the torture loving DEA (permalink)

November 7, 2019

Common Nonsense from Common Sense Media

So-called media watchdog scorns dirty words only, not dirty wars

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
Message sent to Common Sense Media in response to their review of the 2019 drug-war movie Running with the Devil, starring Natalie Reyes, Laurence Fishburne and Nicolas Cage

Your review of Running with the Devil misses the point. The movie sends a HORRIBLE message to kids, not because of four-letter words but because the government agent in the film willfully tortures a suspect and then shoots and kills another suspect in cold blood. A government agent does this! The film is thus educating children to embrace fascism!!! Why? To stop the bad guy from dealing in plants that should never have been criminalized in the first place. In other words, the drug war creates all the violence that the DEA is fighting in the movie!

Fishkill & Egbert review the patriotic movie classic from 2019 entitled Running with the Devil, in which Natalie Reyes combats Christian Science heretics with the good old-fashioned all-American expedients of torture and assassination.

And the hypocritical DEA agent is smoking a cigarette when she cold-bloodedly kills an unarmed man!!! Tobacco is one of the worst drugs on the planet in terms of addiction and health costs! And yet this hypocritical DEA agent is smoking the stuff while she self-righteously kills a man who's marketing plants -- a plant that is used to this day for spiritual purposes in South America. Please, tell your reviewers to wake up and start considering the true message of these movies. Stop focusing just on curse words and think what these movies are saying about American democracy.

This movie is saying: "to hell with democracy: we need fascism to fight the war on drugs!" In other words, the war on plants, the war on minorities, the war on patients - as the DEA "heroes" are the ones who lie about psychoactive plants in their scheduling system and thus leave millions of Americans - including my 92-year-old mother - without much needed medicine that could ease their minds and even help them make their peace with death.

If you really want to help kids, help them to steer clear of movies like this that glorify fascist police tactics and the Draconian enforcement of immoral laws.

Oscar for Best Portrayal of a Drug War Scumbag

And the winner for the best portrayal of a drug war scumbag, aka a dastardly fiend who has the nerve to sell mother nature's plant medicines, is... Nicolas Cage for his role as the Cook in Running with the Devil.

The Common Sense website reviews movies for crude language and violence, but it fails to warn parents when a movie promotes murder and torture in the name of the drug war. Reviews on Variety are just the same. They may warn viewers about the scene in which the DEA agent tortures a suspect, but only because the torture victim was wearing only Speedos, not because his torture represents a flagrant violation of American law and a repudiation of everything that the US supposedly stands for.

Drug War Jeopardy! And the answer is... abolish the DEA!

Common Nonsense from Common Sense Media (permalink)

November 6, 2019

Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté

ending the torture-friendly 12-step programs

mom takes her addictive pills, politician-approved, like a good little American, eschewing mother nature's godsends
Dear Dr. Mate.

My name is Ballard Quass and I am the webmaster of AbolishTheDEA.com.

As the name of the site suggests, I am greatly bothered by the outlawing of natural substances in America, and therefore in the world. I think that the government has thereby made plants the scapegoats for societal problems while turning America into a penal colony and creating a whole new movie genre worth of violence, namely the drug war movie. The result, I believe, is not only ruined lives, but stolen elections, since the drug war results in tens of thousands of Americans being dropped from the voting rolls on account of felony convictions for drug offenses, thereby ensuring that the conservative drug warriors remain in power at election time, simply because their opponents cannot vote.

I am further motivated on this topic because I have spent over 40 years on what turned out to be mind-numbing and addictive LEGAL medicines, going a lifetime without self-actualization, all because my government has decided that I could have no recourse to psychoactive medicines from the rain forest, because, in effect, my government has outlawed the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. This is why I tell everyone who will listen that the drug war is not just a war against minorities, but it is a war against patients everywhere - even a war against DEA agents themselves, many of whom will get old someday and find themselves lonely and depressed in a "home for the aged," wanting to die, perhaps - a condition that could so easily have been remedied by the intelligent use of the entheogenic substances that the agent has spent a lifetime confiscating and burning... read more

Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté (permalink)

November 2, 2019

The REAL Lesson of the Opium Wars

Like almost everyone else in America, John Halpern looks at the opium wars of the 19th century and draws two erroneous conclusions. I discuss and refute those two conclusions below.

1) Opium is a drug from hell.

Why do we think that opium is the drug from hell? Why? Because we never hear from the thousands of human beings who have used opium responsibly and to good effect. How many westerners know that Benjamin Franklin used opium? How many westerners know or care that opium had a great productive influence on writers like De Quincey, Poe and Lovecraft? How many westerners know that opium has been found to cure the common cold by many users?

This is the drug warrior strategy, by the way, to never admit to or point out any positive uses of Mother Nature's psychoactive drugs, to constantly highlight the negative, thereby leaving the impression that these substances truly are evil incarnate. If these people focused their polemics on driving, we would come to feel that driving only led to accidents and should therefore be outlawed. Unfortunately, the worst villain in this story is the news media. Cowed as they are by the DEA and public hysteria, they studiously avoid reporting positive news about substance use, thereby giving the impression, through selective negative reporting, that illegal substance use is always substance abuse.

Here's a headline you'll never see: "'Responsible opium use helps me write creatively and prolifically!'"

While it's true that opium can become addictive if used on a daily basis, this is a property of opium that no westerner has a right to complain about. As I type this, 1 in 4 American women are addicted to modern anti-depressants -- 1 in 4. Besides, opium addiction can be "kicked" in a week whereas certain modern anti-depressants like Effexor CAN NEVER BE STOPPED according to a recent study by the NIH itself, which reports a 95% recidivism rate for those who try.

2) We should therefore make opium illegal.

The lesson of the opium war is not that natural substances should be illegal. Opium itself never injured anyone in the 19th century. It was the PROFIT MOTIVE that made opium a bad thing. It was the PROFIT MOTIVE that flooded the market and brought forward only the most potent productions of the poppy plants. It was the same PROFIT MOTIVE that allows today's Big Pharma to get away scot-free with addicting an entire nation.

But writers like Halpern ignore this. Instead of blaming exploitative capitalism, they make a scapegoat out of the substances themselves. The real lesson of the opium war, however, is that the PROFIT MOTIVE should have no role when it comes to the sale of psychoactive substances, not because the substances are evil incarnate, but because the PROFIT MOTIVE encourages irresponsible and uninformed use of such substances.

Indeed, the whole opioid crisis today exists because of the PROFIT MOTIVE, not because poppy plants are the spawn of the devil, as the superstitious drug warrior prefers to believe -- probably because they can't bring themselves to criticize capitalism, and so Mother Nature's plants become convenient scapegoats.


Language counts because it is laden with stealth assumptions. When we say "Opium War," we superstitiously associate the evils of the conflict in question with a plant, turning Mother Nature into a scapegoat for human evil and giving a free pass to the phenomenon of unbridled and militaristic capitalism, which is really the villain of the piece.

The REAL Lesson of the Opium Wars (permalink)

October 30, 2019

Running with the DEA -- er, I mean the Devil

Review of Running with the Devil, starring Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Reyes

DEA office of Christian Science Law Enforcement
"Running with the Devil" is the latest Hollywood film to glamorize the perverse logic of America's drug war, to celebrate the trampling of the U.S. Constitution and to glorify inquisitorial torture, all in the name of keeping Americans -- and the world -- safe from Mother Nature's plants.

Notice how the hypocritical DEA agent "hero" happily TORTURES her witness, and then has the nerve to tell a man who's selling NATURALLY-OCCURRING SUBSTANCES that he's "dirt."

Is this what American values have come to? Why is Natalia Reyes' character on a high horse when the Drug War is quashing research on valuable drugs for depression -- and single-handedly creating the violence that the DEA sets out to fight?

Hey, here's an idea: re-legalize MOTHER NATURE and then fight BAD BEHAVIOR, NOT PLANTS.

Don't Laurence Fishburne and Nicolas Cage have better things to do in Hollywood than produce propaganda for the DEA - an agency which steals elections for conservatives every year by locking up a million liberals for possessing naturally occurring substances and then taking those liberals off the voting rolls by turning them into felons?

U.S. elections aren't being swayed by the Russians, they're being stolen by American movie producers, including companies like Jaguar Bite and so-called Patriotic Pictures, who have done everything they can with this movie to bequeath DEA tyranny to their great grandchildren, by celebrating the perverse torture-friendly values of today's drug warriors.

The minister in the film laments that the fascist DEA agent's kin were lost to "this drug epidemic."

What drug epidemic? There is no more of a drug epidemic in America now than there was a drinking epidemic during prohibition. The drug impurities and violence that we wring our hands over are not a result of a drug epidemic -- they are a result of the drug war itself, which drives the price of drugs through the roof, makes it impossible to ensure the purity of purchased substances. And by criminalizing non-addictive psychoactive plants, the DEA makes it inevitable that those seeking medicines for their conscious state will end up on hard stuff.

Besides, the DEA has no right to talk about a drug epidemic since they completely ignore the great addiction of our time: the fact that 1 in 8 Americans are addicted FOR LIFE to Big Pharma antidepressants.

The drug warrior doesn't give a good gd about addiction -- they just want the user to be paying their drug money to big pharma -- using their addictive meds rather than using non-addictive psychedelics that could improve one's life in just a few uses.

Hello? This is the DEA. How may I ruin your life and destroy your human potential by deliberately withholding plant medicines that are well-known to provide insight and a fresh way of thinking about the world?

And at the end of the film -- SPOILER ALERT -- the fascist DEA agent shoots the bad guy. This is what the war on patients -- the war on mother nature -- has done: it has turned Americans into supporters of torture and extra judicial killing. Why? Because we refuse to get the message that the drug war itself is creating the violence that we're fighting.

It's time for the fascist DEA to step down -- to stop criminalizing Mother Nature's godsend medications -- to start showing a little compassion for the millions that have gone without godsend medicines for the last 50 years thanks to DEA lies about psychoactive substances.

The first step is for Hollywood to stop releasing Drug War propaganda like "Running with the Devil."

Oh, by the way: Agent Natalia was smoking a cigarette just before she "offed" the bad guy. Talk about hypocrisy.

One of the most deadly drugs in history -- she's sitting there smoking it! And yet she's in such a self-righteous state that she's ready to kill an unarmed suspect???

Please. We should make cigarette possession a felony and let Agent Natalia see what others go through when their go-to natural substance is criminalized.

In fact, if we must have a drug war, then let's start by throwing callous drug war hypocrites like William Bennett in the pokey indefinitely. Chimney pots like Billy kill countless people every year by second-hand smoke. Oh, and let's not neglect to take away his voting rights and forbid him from running for public office.

If he so much as desires a job at Dollar General, I want William Bennett to submit to a urine and saliva test for the presence of the slightest bit of tobacco in his system before he earns a cent.

Mind you, I'd prefer to end the anti-patient drug war scam entirely, but if we're going to have one, let's start by running roughshod over the rights of the myriad hypocritical smokers and drinkers among the drug war zealots.

But back to the disgraceful DEA propaganda film aka Running with the Devil.

This is a particularly disappointing movie, by the way, because it seems to show how little we've learned. There's been a psychedelic renaissance of sorts in the last 20 years, as science has actually been given at least a teensy bit of leeway to study psychedelics and show how incredibly useful they can be for depression and other mental conditions. Yet here we have a Hollywood movie doing its best to reinforce the drug war superstition that a plant becomes evil incarnate just because we had the chutzpah to criminalize it. It's about time we faced facts, and stop letting politicians decide for their own selfish reasons what we should feel about nature's plants.

CHECK OUT THE horrible anti-American message of this movie. It is as follows:

The Drug War is still not working, so we need to crack down even harder?!

Still harder? We've already signed off on torture and murder and we're locking up so many leftists that conservatives now are stealing our elections. What is the end game here: total dictatorship?

And why? So that we can stop Americans from using natural plants to change their minds safely.

I hate to say it, but there's a kind of terrible poetic justice every time an ex-DEA agent starts moldering away in a retirement home, wishing they were dead. Too bad for them, because they have spent their lives keeping mind-easing medicines away from the American public -- so I don't want to hear one groan from them as they go miserably to their fate. They have worked all their lives to prevent minds from healing -- by outlawing Mother Nature. Now they must live with the consequences of their blind patient-hating ethics.

Fortunately my better angels will never let me actually be as evil toward DEA agents as they have been toward the American public, especially minorities. But what can I say? If those DEA agents persecute drugs that can grow new neurons, what right do they have to complain when they or their loved ones start needlessly suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia? They've lied about the substances for five decades and prohibited research and now they're going to lament the lack of progress in fighting brain diseases?

Well, if they want to stop and ask themselves why more hasn't been done in this area, I've got news for them: all they have to do is look in the mirror.

Running with the DEA -- er, I mean the Devil (permalink)

October 27, 2019

How Drug Warriors Steal American Elections


Welcome back to the DEA Lounge!


How many people realize that American elections are fixed? Let's see a show of hands.


You heard me. American elections are fixed, and they have been fixed for the last 40 years.


How? No, it has nothing to do with the Russians. It's because the drug war, each year, is locking up almost a million left-leaning voters.


Think about it. The folks that we're arresting for mere drug possession were never going to vote for conservatives, so it follows that it is in the conservative interest to keep the drug war going full tilt, to keep a million left-leaning Americans off the voting rolls every year.


This is why the drug war goes on, because we're arresting all the voters that would throw the drug warriors out of office.


Nowadays, we see national elections decided by mere thousands of votes -- so just imagine the enormous benefit that drug war conservatives receive when a million of their opponents are removed from the voting rolls every year thanks to a felony charge for possession.


Did I mention that this actually bothers me?


This is why, far from apologizing for being mad, I urge my fellow Americans to become as pissed as I am.


As for the Christian Science narcs in the room, relax. I'm just suggesting -- merely hinting -- that you just possibly might want to consider a career that does not entail the corruption of American elections and the denial of basic rights to your fellow Americans, that's all I'm saying. Just think about it. Just think that you might possibly (just maybe) want to stop ruining a million lives a year, thereby subverting American elections. Fair enough?


As for the rest of you lot, enough with the oh-so-cool cynicism about civic involvement. Hop out of the urine-testing line and complain for a change!


All right, who just bleated? Don't make me come out there!

How Drug Warriors Steal American Elections (permalink)

October 25, 2019

A Drug Warrior in our Midst

Welcome to the DEA Lounge!

Let's hear it for Johnny English and the Band!


They've got a lot of nerve, starting their set off with "Quinn the Eskimo" like that.


In the DEA Lounge of all places.


Don't they know that the government does not allow improved thinking and expanded consciousness via plants -- the coca leaves included?

Never mind that indigenous South Americans have used them for ages to achieve mental clarity.

Never mind that Sigmund Freud himself achieved prodigious vocational output and thus self-fulfillment via cocaine.


Uh-oh. We seem to have a drug warrior in our midst. You've got to realize, madam, that it's absurd to criminalize plants and thereby make a black market and generate all sorts of violence.


All I can say is, I hope you're enjoying that Bahama Mama while you're hypocritically trash-talking Mother Nature's plants.


What about Sigmund Freud and cocaine?

Freud was like, "That psychotherapy mumbo jumbo is all well and good for my patients, but I demand REAL treatment in my own life, thank you very much!"


But it's funny trying to argue against the fascist drug war on line.


And I call it fascist advisedly, mind you, because the drug war is nothing but the enforcement of Christian Science with respect to mental states.


My name it Thomas de Qunicey, and I'll be here through Friday, or until the United States outlaws criticism of its disgraceful drug war, which could happen any day, considering that the government has already had the chutzpah to outlaw the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.


Yes, madam, I'm sure you're very proud of yourself for having given up the vast majority of nature's godsend medicines, but I'll thank you not to make Christian Science the state religion with your anti-scientific drug laws.


For more groundbreaking anti-drug war essays and comedy, visit AbolishTheDEA.com, preferably before it's outlawed by people like motormouth here.

Yes, of course, madam. Whatever.

A Drug Warrior in our Midst (permalink)

October 15, 2019

Review of When Plants Dream

trick or treater dressed as DEA agent
in the form of an open letter to author Daniel Pinchbeck:

Thanks for "When Plants Dream," Daniel. It presents an enjoyable and well-rounded introduction to ayahuasca and the many issues that surround its use. That said, however, I'm afraid that, like most Western authors these days, you write under the subconscious influence of a number of Drug War assumptions that are either flat-out wrong or, at best, mere half-truths. I think that this sometimes skews your conclusions or unnecessarily limits their application.

Example 1

You imply when writing about cocaine that it has nothing but bad effects when used in Western society. This is Drug War dogma, of course, but why do we believe it? Why do we think that cocaine has no good uses in the West? How would we even know?

In a Drug War society, no one dares to write about the positive uses of cocaine, especially in newspapers (or in academia, for that matter) - and so we hush up the story of how cocaine helped Sigmund Freud achieve self-actualization (by "pushing him on" to enormous productivity) or stimulated insight in the Richard Feynmans of the world. But if all we're allowed to learn about cocaine is its negative effects, then we are being subject to a propaganda campaign in the West, not to objective scientific information. This is (or should be) very relevant to your book because these one-sided Drug War assumptions are what undergird and perpetuate the criminalization of desperately needed therapeutic plants such as ayahuasca.

But if indigenous people have used coca leaves advisedly for centuries (for visions, insight and/or mental focus), the obvious question is, why can't those benefits be transferred to the West? It may be that Westerners are just not mature enough to use the plant wisely.* But we should not make this assumption hastily in a country where we're only allowed to hear bad things about cocaine use -- and so Freud's use, for instance, is expunged from the psychology textbooks. This is a glaring omission for it keeps psychologists from confronting the $64,000 question: Why did Freud treat his patients based on theories and yet insist on improving his own life with cocaine? If Freud was having trouble getting out of bed, he did not turn to his own psychotherapy. He demanded the real politik of cocaine. Psychology ignores this fact and continues to insist that all psychological patients be treated according to the latest theory and that any use of a psychoactive plant is somehow a "cop-out" -- unless, of course, that plant is synthesized and packaged in such a way that Big Pharma gets its cut.

You're never too young to oppress your fellow Americans. Tell your kids about the FDWA, Future Drug Warriors of America. In our summer camps, we teach them how to kick down doors and throw elderly citizens and children on the ground while shouting at them and calling them scumbags for using Mother Nature's plants to gain psychological healing and insight.

*SPOILER ALERT: Of course, the real problem is capitalist exploitation. The profit motive, it turns out, has no place when it comes to encouraging the use of psychoactive plants.

Freud's hypocritical use of cocaine reminds me of the liberal who argues vehemently in favor of public schools but ultimately sends his or her own child to a private school. Theoretical benefits are all well and good, but at some point, success-oriented people demand REAL solutions.

Example 2

Like virtually all other authors who write about psychedelic therapy, you fail to state one of the main arguments in favor of that new paradigm: namely, the fact that more than 1 in 8 Americans (1 in 4 women, according to psychiatrist Julie Holland) are currently addicted to modern antidepressants, which were never even trialed for long-term use, some of which are harder to quit than heroin. I myself am addicted to Effexor - which I'm told I can NEVER get off of. Indeed, that is the conclusion of my own psychiatrist. He told me that there is a 95% recidivism rate (according to the NIH itself) for those who attempt to quit Effexor. This is on par with heroin - but I have yet to read any author who is outraged on MY behalf. To the contrary, most authors on these topics are still lecturing me about the supposed "evils" of cocaine and opium, advice that I find laughable in its ignorance and/or hypocrisy.

(To add insult to injury, modern antidepressants are contraindicated for those taking psychedelics. So we have an as-yet unrecognized irony: psychedelics can cure many addictions, but they cannot be used to cure the great addiction of our time: the addiction to SSRI antidepressants.)

When it became clear several decades ago that SSRIs were addictive, psychiatrists merely made a virtue of necessity and began telling their patients that they had to "take their meds for life" (thereby absolving psychiatrists from lawsuits and putting them in the position of the scientific "good guy"). These are the medicines, Daniel, that were promoted based on the erroneous notion that they fixed a chemical imbalance in the brain, whereas subsequent research (see Robert Whitaker) revealed that SSRIs actually CAUSE the imbalances that they purport to fix.

This mass addiction cries out for a remedy, and psychedelics are the obvious solution, since they provide self-insight, grow new neurons, and are non-addictive. (This compares favorably with SSRIs, which in my experience have been fiercely addictive, fog my mind, and conduce to long-term anhedonia.) By ignoring this politically correct addiction (as Drug Warriors dutifully do), your case for psychedelic therapy is far weaker than it need be. As you mention, there are, indeed, potential "down sides" to ayahuasca use, but these rare problems would be dwarfed if contrasted with the actual damage being done by SSRIs today.

This ignorance of the status quo is a feature of today's Drug War. The Drug Warrior has to hush up this legal addiction situation, lest we draw the obvious conclusion: that addiction is not bad, as long as the drugs in question are forthcoming. If that's true, why am I not allowed to use opium occasionally to increase my creativity and give me, as a chronic depressive, something to look forward to in life: namely, times of increased enjoyment of the world around me?

Example 3

I think you correctly suspect the Judeo-Christian outlook of scorning psychoactive plant remedies, but your analysis here does not go far enough. The fact is that the original Drug Warrior was none other than the founder of the Catholic Church, Emperor Theodosius, who, in 392 CE, outlawed the psychedelic-fueled Eleusinian mysteries as a threat to Christianity. This ceremony had been ongoing annually for almost two-thousand years, and was reported by many attendees to be the highlight of their entire lives, in passages that could easily be mistaken for journal entries of an ayahuasca enthusiast. These entries speak of great revelations about the true nature of reality. But since such non-Christian revelation was anathema to the Emperor, he launched the Drug War to outlaw all insights that do not come from "the true religion," i.e. Christianity.

Thus we can see that today's Drug War is nothing but the enforcement of Christian Science with respect to mental states: the metaphysical idea (or belief) that it is somehow wrong to use substances to improve one's mental outlook. Of course, this Christian Science is hypocritical, in that it supports psychoactive therapies - even addictive ones - provided that they do not seem to render a user "high" - something that is anathema to the puritan sensibilities of the Christian Scientists.

This Christian Science approach to drug law is aided and abetted by modern materialists, who have a dogmatic disdain for consciousness itself and so refuse to countenance any therapeutic solution that cannot be reduced to so-called "natural causes." Thus the Drug War makes strange bedfellows indeed, as materialist atheists find common ground with intolerant Christians.


I hope these three examples have proven my thesis, Daniel: that even the most progressive writers on the subject of "drugs" are subconsciously biased by the erroneous beliefs of the Drug War and that this bias skews or limits the conclusions that they draw. In short, your case for ayahuasca therapy is compelling in itself, but it could win far more converts if you compared your proposal to the ugly nature of the addictive status quo.

Of course, this may be easier said than done. There is, after all, a "kids glove" attitude toward SSRIs based on decades of Big Pharma-financed proselytizing on their behalf. During this time, the APA has been in league with the pharmaceutical companies to make SSRIs look like lamb's milk on shows like Oprah and Today. The result has been the creation of an American myth, according to which these drugs "fix" a chemical imbalance. This is just plain false, but it apparently has been drilled into Americans so successfully via a full-court media press that few people dare acknowledge its falsehood today.

(The proof is extant: I am as depressed today as I was 40 years ago, after taking legal antidepressants every single day of my life. If modern antidepressants are some kind of silver bullet, my brain chemicals never got the memo.)

Viewed in this light, I guess it's little wonder that writers like yourself fail to point out this corrupt status quo, since it is so thoroughly believed by the public that it no doubt demands a separate book to address the issues in question.

At their best SSRIs make life livable - which would be fine if that's all we had. But why should we settle for an addictive drug that simply makes life bearable when we could use a non-addictive one that can truly make life worth living?

What we need, I believe, is to replace psychiatry with shamanism, but only in a world in which the shaman is allowed to learn about and use any plant in the world - rather than a handful of addictive drugs that enrich the Fortune 500 while limiting users both financially and emotionally.

I fear this won't happen, however, until Americans recognize the folly of outlawing Mother Nature in the first place.

PS When pushed, psychiatrists may claim that SSRIs and SNRIs are not addictive, that they only cause "chemical dependence." But there is little difference from the point of view of a user. If I stopped using Effexor, I would go through hell. Just see the online testimony describing the many horrific but futile attempts to get off the drug.

Review of When Plants Dream (permalink)

October 14, 2019

Addicted to Christianity

People tell me that opium, heroin and cocaine are bad for me. Why? Because they cause dependence. But this is sheer hypocrisy. I've been on Effexor for 25+ years, and my shrink tells me I can never get off it because it's far too addictive. Meanwhile, it's frying my brain and keeping me from trying new psychedelic therapies - and not even coming close to lifting my daily depression. Yet no one's screaming bloody murder about my plight. No, no. In my case, I have to be a good little boy and keep taking "my meds" for a lifetime.

But if dependence is not wrong, as psychiatry now insists (in action, if not in word), then I should have been free to "choose my OWN addictive poison" 40+ years ago when I began subsidizing Big Pharma fat-cats with my monthly prescription purchases. I would have opted for opium at that time, to give me peace of mind and an occasional rest from reality and perhaps even a little artistic inspiration of the kind obtained from the drug by Poe and Lovecraft, rather than flattening out my emotional responses with SSRIs to turn me into a socially acceptable Babbitt. While it's possible that I might have become addicted to opium, by using it more frequently than directed, at least my opium addiction could have been kicked in theory. Besides, psychiatry has no leg to stand on when it comes to criticizing an opium addiction, considering that it makes no scruples about addicting the world to SSRIs.

Really, it's a no-brainer: do I want to be addicted to a substance that fogs my brain - or do I want to use a natural substance once grown by Thomas Jefferson and used by Benjamin Franklin, a substance which, for all its shortcomings, occasionally gives me great visions?

As for me in my house, I would have used opium.

I end with this paraphrase of a Christian song title because the only possible rationale that I can see for preferring SSRIs to opium is the fact that opium occasionally provides what the Puritan would consider a "high," and that is a no-no in the puritan world. This is why the war on drugs is a war on religion - because the drug warrior's goal is to keep the rest of the world from accessing spiritual states that the warrior believes to be at odds with Christianity.

Indeed, this is how the whole drug war started in 392 C.E., when the first drug warrior, Emperor Theodosius, outlawed the Eleusinian Mysteries because he saw them as a threat to Christianity. The psychedelic kykeon was helping folks like Plato and Plutarch to see the light - and this was blasphemy for religious imperialists who believed that the only true light was Christianity itself.

Addicted to Christianity (permalink)

October 13, 2019

It's the Psychedelics, Stupid!

Welcome to the DEA Lounge!


How many of you have read Consciousness Medicine, by Francoise Bourzat? Let's see a show of hands.

Stay seated, everyone, I still haven't counted the folks in the back. Raise those hands up, high.

OK, let me see, now. 25, carry the one... It looks like... zero people have read that book.

Well, in fairness, it is pretty new.

It's all about the way that psychedelic medicines can heal psychological conditions.

Or rather, that's what it SHOULD be about. Unfortunately, Francoise keeps hawking the benefits of deep breathing and drum therapy, et cetera. Which I find a little off-putting, frankly.

Just like Stanislav Grof, when he came out with that breathing therapy. I'd rather these folks stay focused on the value of psychedelic therapy rather than to start promoting second-best cures that simply don't work for the vast majority of cases.

Hey, listen, folks, been there done that, with every manner of self-help approach you can imagine. How many unfulfilled lifetimes do I have to live before self-help mavens get the message: "It's the drugs, stupid!"

You know what I'm saying? Time for some real politik in treating what ails me.

I mean, Freud did not turn to psychotherapy (let alone to self-help fads) to help him get through life successfully. Like it or not, he turned to cocaine and theory be damned. Freud was not going to sacrifice his own self-fulfillment by becoming a guinea pig to psychology's unproven "cures." And as long as modern psychology does not even acknowledge, let alone come to terms with, Freud's therapeutic use of cocaine, we are never, for all our scientific pretensions, going to understand human motivation. Instead, we'll live in a fairy land where the effects of drugs are established for psychologists, not by proof, but by strong political prejudices that insist, via law, on what the truth SHOULD BE, that fairy land in which we pretend that substance use is ALWAYS substance abuse. (The DEA lives by this absurdity, for when they say that a drug is subject to abuse, they mean simply that it might be obtained without a prescription -- which is a tautological definition if there ever was one, since an illegal drug CAN'T be obtained with a prescription. But it helps work the drug warriors up into a frenzy to tell them that drug X is subject to abuse, so they need not know the philosophically shabby way in which that definition was derived.)

But, Francoise, bless her, writes as if psychedelic therapy is just one of many helpful strategies in life. The unfortunate corollary of this opinion is that the outlawing of such therapy is no big deal -- since cures for depression and related psychological problems are a dime a dozen, to be easily found in the self-help section of any bookstore or library.

But as a veteran depressive, I would have zero interest in the psychedelic renaissance if it held no greater transformative promise than that of breath work or yoga. I mean, how many unfulfilled lifetimes do I have to live in order to prove to the fad peddlers that their nostrums don't work in the long run? And why not? Because they presuppose the incentive and follow-through and self-insight that a successful depression therapy should generate rather than take for granted.

Psychedelics alone among drug therapies offers the possibility of true change based on self-insight.

Am I right or am I right?

My name is Ballard Quass and I'll be here lambasting the drug war until the government thinks up a way to outlaw free speech.

Which can't be far off, by the way, given that they've already had the chutzpah to criminalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet! I mean, how anti-scientific, fascistic, and downright childish is that? What? I'm just sayin'!

It's the Psychedelics, Stupid! (permalink)

October 6, 2019

So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...

The following post is my response to 'How did SSRIs help you?' in the "depression regimen" group on Reddit.

Look into Ketamine therapy.

Unlike SSRIs, ketamine is non-addictive (when used as directed) and has few or no side effects. I made the mistake of starting on SSRIs/SNRIs decades ago, and I am now told that I can NEVER get off them, as the SNRI that I'm taking, Effexor, has a worse recidivism rate for withdrawal than heroin. (According to the NIH, 95% of those who quit Effexor are back on it within three years.) Yes, modern antidepressants made my life bearable: they helped me survive, but they stopped me from thriving, since they inhibit creativity and, in the long run, bring about what's called anhedonia, an inability to feel both highs and lows.

Remember, too, that we live in a world where all the good cures for depression are illegal, a world in which we've outlawed Mother Nature. The natural world around us is full of psychoactive plants that can bring peace of mind and personal understanding, substances like ayahuasca, and ibogaine, and psilocybin. Since these are outlawed, however, the depressed have nothing but a handful of addictive remedies from Big Pharma from which they can choose. Not only will you be paying for these meds for the rest of your life, but you'll become an eternal patient, having to travel to your psychiatrist every few months to be asked about your personal life, as the doctor dutifully writes out yet ANOTHER prescription for the same-old-same-old. I find that both depressing and disempowering. And I speak from 40 years of experience.

That's why I recommend ketamine. Although it is not a natural substance, it has some of the psychoactive properties of the natural substances that America has foolishly banned, and to repeat, it is not addictive when used in the recommended doses and at the recommended frequency. Above all, for some unknown reason, it is actually legal in the United States right now. (Someone at the DEA must have dropped the ball, since that organization is doing everything they can to block all non-addictive treatments for depression.)

I believe that U.S. medical care is slowly moving in the direction of treating depression with psychedelic substances from Mother Nature. You might be able to sign up as a participant in one of the ongoing clinical trials being held around the world, perhaps one that is studying psilocybin. If you become addicted to SSRIs, however, you will never be able to participate in this new health-care paradigm. This is because most modern anti-depressants cause serotonin toxicity syndrome if used in conjunction with psychedelic plants.

This is ironic because the "new" psychedelic therapies of which I speak (which really have a long but "hushed-up" history in Western culture, viz. the Eleusinian Mysteries) show great promise in treating opioid addiction and alcoholism. However these therapies cannot be used to treat the great addiction of our time: the addiction to SSRIs, to which over 1 in 10 Americans have fallen victim.

Finally, please remember: it's an American myth that SSRI antidepressants fix a chemical imbalance. As Roger Whittaker shows in "Anatomy of an Epidemic," these drugs have been found to CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.

PS: Some psychiatrists may tell you that SSRIs are not addictive, that they only cause chemical dependency. But trust me, from the user perspective, there is no difference.

So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI... (permalink)

September 29, 2019

Thought Crimes Blotter

More thought crimes reported in the tri-state area. Police in Rattleboro arrested 23 residents at the Deer Run condominium complex, charging them with attempting to "think outside the box." Department spokesman Gail McLean says that the suspects had enough psilocybin mushroom "to empower them to see whole new worlds." Said Donald Vant, the lead officer in the case: "We caught them just in time. They were getting ready to embark on entirely new lives, with much less need for the outputs of the modern industrial society."

Meanwhile, three members of a depression discussion group in South Belltown were brought in for questioning after an informant reported that they were getting ready to treat their depression with non-addictive psychedelic plants. McLean says that Sheriff Baumgartner put the fear of God into the trio, warning them that bypassing the addictive legal remedies of the modern health-care system was not an option.

Belltown has been busy lately when it comes to Thought Crimes. Just last week, police raided an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting after an enrolled informer reported that some members were planning to use psychedelic plants to kick their habit. "The only thing that's gonna get kicked in this case is butt," quipped arresting officer Joe Slaterday. "Listen, alcoholism was a dead-end in my daddy's generation, and I for one intend to respect that legacy and keep it alive for the foreseeable future."

Thought Crimes Blotter (permalink)

September 24, 2019

Stand Up for Mother Nature

Welcome to the DEA Lounge!

Gee, I wonder why my agent booked me here. He does realize that I'm going to be riffing on the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature, right?

Oh, well, better he book me here than he book me in San Quentin, right?

Do you guys know that the DEA marched on to Monticello in 1987 and took away Jefferson's poppy plants?

I kid you not. Talk about rolling over in one's grave, Jefferson would have been pissed big time.

He's like, "what the f...!"


"I wasn't half right about the need for frequent revolutions!"

But seriously, isn't that screwed up?

Earth to America: they're plants, dude! What are we thinking?

Boo is right! I mean, it reminds me of Fahrenheit 451, in which a tyrannous government destroys books.

Mind you, I'd rather live under that tyranny. They just tell me WHAT to think, whereas modern-day drug laws tell me HOW and HOW MUCH I can think...

...because they destroy the mind-expanding drugs that actually help me think outside the box and grow new neurons, even!

Darn right, boo. Boo to the max, dawg. As in ruff!

What kills me is that in John Halpern's book "Opium," he paints the bland picture of the DEA reluctantly taking the plants away at the insistence of the Monticello Board of Directors. Whereas the way I hear it, the DEA stormed onto the place like so many...

Well, if the jackboot fits, wear it, right?

My name is Ballard Quass and I'll be here lambasting the drug war until the government thinks up a way to outlaw free speech.

Hey, if a government can criminalize plants, all bets are off, right?


Stand Up for Mother Nature (permalink)

September 22, 2019

In response to a lame review of the book

Here is my indignant response to the Kirkus Book Review of John Halpern's "Opium", whose uncritical critique ends with the typical wishy-washy drug warrior conclusion that "the drug problem" is insoluble.

Insoluble problem?

What did you drug warriors expect when you outlawed natural plants, the birth right of everyone born on the planet? In your effort to protect and punish, you created drug mafias in every major city on earth. You created a whole new genre of violent movie: the drug-war genre. You loaded the world with guns as drug gangs armed themselves to the hilt. Well done!

And now we're surprised that cartels are peddling synthetic forms of the plants that are infinitely worse than the original. What hypocrisy.

Then we create anti-drug organizations whose motto is: never say anything good about illegal drugs.

The result: No one knows how to use them wisely because anti-drug propaganda insists that they CAN'T be used wisely. Little wonder then that people get addicted.

Meanwhile, millions of depression sufferers worldwide are suffering needlessly because effective psychoactive medicines cannot even be researched thanks to the lying DEA, which lies about drugs to keep themselves in business. They say that psychedelics have no therapeutic value, when a who's who of Greeks and Romans used them annually for 2,000 consecutive years in the Eleusinian mysteries, folks like Plato and Plutarch, most of whom reported it was the greatest experience of their life.

Yet this so-called "scientific" nation of ours superstitiously burns plants, like the tyrannous government in "Fahrenheit 451" burned books. We may not tell Americans what to think, but we tell them HOW and HOW MUCH.

And you're still scratching your head what to do about it?

Earth to Kirkus Review: How about re-legalizing the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet - and then start telling the cold hard truths about psychoactive plants: not just their downsides, but their benefits as well? While we're being honest, we might want to point out that Americans today are far more addicted than ever - not to illegal drugs but to LEGAL ones - SSRIs that were never intended for long term use - until psychiatrists noticed they were highly addictive and therefore started telling patients that they had to take "their meds" for life.

Until the drug warrior at least acknowledges this problem, I can only laugh at their pretended befuddlement about the status quo. Hello? More than 1 out of 10 Americans are addicted to modern antidepressants. Why are the John Halperns of the world not screaming bloody murder about that fact, threatening to expose the doctors who pushed for this state of affairs? Possibly because they are psychiatrists, and many of them collaborated with Big Pharma to bring this state of addiction about, by going on the circuit, and "bigging up" pill-popping on Oprah Winfrey et al.

Insoluble? Hello? You outlawed bloody plants. Did you really not expect a little pushback - including the subsequent black-marketing of drugs that are infinitely worse than the products of Mother Nature that you banned?

In response to a lame review of the book (permalink)

September 21, 2019

One Long Argument for legalizing drugs

Charles Darwin described his case for evolution as "one long argument," presumably because there was no one single proof for the theory but rather reams of disparate evidence that all conduced, or so he felt, to establishing the same point: namely that evolution as Darwin understood it was a reality. Therefore Darwin had to make one point after another, trusting that the totality of his observations would ultimately convince the reader of the plausibility (if not the undeniability) of the theory of evolution. I find myself in a similar situation when attempting to prove the necessity of re-legalizing the pharmacy of Mother Nature. Since the drug war is premised on so many invalid but hidden assumptions, a drug law reformer like myself has to address seemingly countless objections, as if I'm trying to convince some muddle-headed Hydra of the urgent need for legislative change.

Muddle-headed Hydras

Unlike Darwin, however, I think I do have one conclusive point that, in a sane world, would convince all reasonable human beings of the correctness of my theory. And this is the notion that it was folly to outlaw mere plants and fungi in the first place. Not only does such a step naturally create a violent black market, but it denies human beings their medicinal and property rights with regard to the flora that grows at their very feet. In addition, it interferes with the role of scientists, who are forced to accept government-supplied judgments about the therapeutic potential of certain drugs (such as psychoactive mushrooms), and must even seek permission from the DEA to study them objectively and without fear of arrest.

The current state of affairs sounds like the plot of a science-fiction story by Ray Bradbury. Remember Ray? He wrote the novel "Fahrenheit 451," in which a tyrannous government tries to control thought by burning books.

But imagine a sequel in which the government burns plants - not just to control thoughts, but to control how, and how much, we can think. That's the state of affairs in today's world in which we criminalize Mother Nature's plants.

Psychotherapeutic Goldmines

We know better than ever now, based on recent research, that many of these plants expand the mind, give us new ways of seeing the world and help us get past our psychological roadblocks. Psychedelics have even been shown to grow new neurons! In short, some of these plants are psychotherapeutic goldmines if viewed rationally. By banning these plants, our government is forcing us to limit our thoughts to the mainstream, not to think outside the box, and thus, ultimately, not to question authority, or at least not to ask the sort of incisive questions that would justifiably put that authority on the defensive. This situation serves corrupt politicians well because it makes Mother Nature's plants the scapegoats for societal shortcomings, so the tyrant is never under pressure to truly do anything about real societal ills, since they go unrecognized as such by a drug-obsessed society.

Eloquent Chicken Littles

But our war on Mother Nature has other equally disastrous consequences. By banning these plants, we bring about so much violence that we create a whole new movie genre based on that carnage: the drug-war film, in which armed gunmen from around the globe battle themselves and the feds in order to supply the sorts of plants that the government has banned - but often in corrupted and synthetic forms that are far more dangerous to the user than would have been the simple plants or fungi from which they were derived. Meanwhile eloquent Chicken Littles like Michael Pollan fret about making psychedelic plants legal to humanity (even though they have been legal for all but the last 60 years of human history). Visions of young irresponsible users dance in his head. "We simply can't let users make up their own minds about how to use substances," according to folks like Pollan, "that would be horrible!" (Pollan is practicing elitism here: he is personally able to get away with using psychedelics, but he's in no hurry to extend that privilege to his readers, the mere hoi polloi, who must get by with existing addictive and mind-dulling anti-depressants if they want to change THEIR minds.) But where is Pollan's concern for the children killed in the crossfire of drug dealer shootouts in the inner cities? Where is his concern for the prevalence of guns in America created by this government-produced black market?

Ice-cold Universe

And while Pollan is wringing his hands over the merely potential downsides of legalization, where is his concern for the millions of depressives that he's forcing to live without hope, thanks to the drug laws that his worries help to reinforce? Where is his concern for the potential suicide for whom psilocybin could mean a new lease on life? Where is his concern for the depressed geriatric, whose days are all one bleary repetition of seemingly pointless activities - waking, eating a few scraps for breakfast, and then half-watching some mindless television, etc. There's solid evidence that psychoactive drugs could give this sadsack a whole new reason for living. But no, Pollan's worries about juvenile delinquents must have the last say and grandpa must die in what to him seems like a pointless and ice-cold universe. (Gee, thanks, Michael!)

In short, Michael Pollan has no compassion for the would-be rational "drug user," partly because he fails to appreciate the huge therapeutic potential of these medicines (notwithstanding the psychologically superficial book that he wrote in tepid favor of LSD therapy), and partly because (like all drug warriors) he focuses dogmatically on punishing or protecting drug abusers, totally ignoring the rights and needs of the masses of patients who could benefit (often enormously) from the wise use of the substances in question.

American Pagans

Such an outlook only makes sense if we dogmatically assume that illegal drugs have no rational uses - and this is a government lie, not a scientific fact (a lie created and maintained to this very day by the self-serving DEA, in order to ensure that they'll be ruining the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens for decades to come, locking them up for the crime of daring to so much as possess a simple plant that grows at their very feet). If we're to be a truly scientific nation, however, we must know that almost no substance is bad "in and of itself," but becomes bad only when it is used at or above a certain dosage in a certain context. To think otherwise is to superstitiously treat drugs as evil incarnate, as evil spirits, a literally pagan viewpoint that's completely at odds with America's pretensions to being a modern scientific society (let alone THE scientific society par excellence).

All of these observations are part of my "one long argument" in favor of the need for re-legalizing the therapeutic medicines of Mother Nature. But all of the concerns that they address are trumped by the mere common sense consideration that it should be unconstitutional in the first place to outlaw the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. This therapeutic bounty is surely the birth right of every human being merely by virtue of their having been born on planet Earth.

Ideological Hegemony

Of course, after over a century of viewing Mother Nature as a drug kingpin (starting with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914), Americans have convinced themselves that mere mortals are incapable of using her bounty wisely (and have gone on to convince the rest of the world, alas, which is ironic, given that world's often bitter and ongoing complaints about the ideological hegemony that America is supposedly foisting upon said world). Thus folks like Pollan ask folks like me: "But how can you re-legalize plants and fungi without causing problems??!" But that question is beside the point. The drug-law reformer is under no obligation to say how drug legalization would work, although I've addressed Pollan's concerns above for the record, so to speak, pointing out that his "concern" for the well-being of a minority of potential drug abusers is really just a callous disregard for the well-being of a majority of rational users.

But if they had criminalized free speech 100 years ago, the opponents of that move would be under no obligation today to explain how that right could be restored without causing problems. The right simply must be restored: end of story. Likewise, when it comes to the re-legalization of plants and fungi, it is not the reformer's duty to say how this can be accomplished without a problem. Moreover, if a problem is indeed created by such a change, then the responsibility for that trouble lies squarely on the shoulders of the bigoted politicians who chose to outlaw Mother Nature's bounty in the first place.

The War on Mother Nature

This is why my site is so different from the average site about reforming drug laws. Most sites are on the defensive, often amassing reams of statistical evidence to explain how drug legalization (or rather re-legalization) will not bring about Armageddon. This starting point of argumentation concedes the crucial and highly debatable point that government had the right to criminalize Mother Nature's plants and fungi in the first place. They had no such right, particularly in a country like America, where we are specifically granted "the pursuit of happiness," a right that is hollow when we deny Americans one of the essential therapeutic routes to attain that happiness. Then there are the hundreds of sites that attempt to point out (again, often by reams of evidence) that the drug war is a failure. But this starting point concedes yet another highly debatable point, namely that a drug war had the right to succeed in the first place. Is it right to prevent the citizens of a country from using plants therapeutically, to expand their minds, to help them think outside the box? No. Even if it were feasible, it would not be right. So the point is not that the drug war cannot succeed, but that it SHOULD not succeed.

The real question, then, is not whether the drug war makes sense - it doesn't in a rational society - but whether a war on Mother Nature makes sense, for that's what the drug war amounts to, the superstitious notion that nature is purposefully tempting us with substances that are inherently evil - rather than miraculously presenting us with powerful and highly improbable medicines whose considered use can bring about personal transformation.

One Long Argument for legalizing drugs (permalink)

September 20, 2019

Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans

Replace AA with Ayahuasca Churches
Originally posted in Google Group on metaphysical speculations, hosted by Bernardo Kastrup

I believe that psychiatry must become shamanism if it wishes to survive and be relevant, shamanism administered by "empaths" who are intimately familiar, not just with the handful of addictive "mind" drugs manufactured by Big Pharma, but with every single known psychoactive plant in the rainforest, and that they must use this knowledge to empower "lost souls" (or indeed anyone lacking self-fulfillment) with self-knowledge and clear-sightedness, choosing the plants to accomplish this goal in the way that a fashion designer chooses clothes to suit the person and to bring out the qualities that are missing but desired.

Only imagine: a new psychiatry that sees the "patient" as an actual individual and not one of an infinite set of human clones, all therapeutically susceptible to the same one addictive "miracle cure" that psychiatry claims to have on offer.

This, of course, requires that we cease outlawing the products of Mother Nature and re-legalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. Unfortunately there are a number of old-guard forces that stand resolutely against this, four of which I've listed below:

1) PUNISHERS AND PROTECTORS: There are still plenty of Americans (and other anti-patient Nixon fans from Europe to China now) who believe that the need to punish abusers (and/or to protect them from themselves) trumps the psychological needs of the responsible masses who could benefit therapeutically from the re-legalization of natural substances. The quality of life of the masses means nothing to these groups: it's all about punishing and protecting a minority of supposed abusers.

2) PSYCHIATRISTS: Even if we can convince such people that the laws that are created by their "concern" have resulted in the creation of countless violent drug gangs in every major city on Earth, we're still going up against the psychiatrists, who are not going to go gently into that good night of re-legalization, since they have profited handsomely from having a monopoly on prescribing psychoactive drugs.

3) MATERIALISTS: Meanwhile, materialists, in their physics envy, will continue to deny the utility of drugs whose means of action cannot be sufficiently captured and quantified by their blunt tools of analysis. They have no interest in drugs that produce mere "insight" or even "happiness" for that matter (whatever that is) - they want to fix some clinically discernible chemical imbalance that they postulate as the root of all biological evil (or at least they want to be seen as fixing such an imbalance, even if their synthetic drugs end up causing the imbalance that they sought to cure, as is the case with modern anti-depressants).

4) PURITANS: Then there's the Westerner's subconscious belief in Christian Science with respect to mental health, thanks to which they look with suspicion and disapproval on someone who uses natural psychoactive substances to improve their mind. Such people see psychoactive drugs as "crutches." (They consider this suspicion to be common sense when it is actually just a tenet of faith of the modern drug war, a belief that's just as philosophically problematic as the Christian Scientist's refusal to use aspirin for a headache.)

And let's not forget law enforcement, departments of correction, and Big Liquor.

"The White Man goes into church and talks about Jesus. The Indian goes into his tipi and talks with Jesus." Likewise, the White Man goes to AA to talk about getting off alcohol. Someday, he will actually get off of alcohol by using any one of hundreds of godsend psychoactive plants that the government has unconstitutionally banned, even for research purposes. That's drug war "morality" for you: thump your chest about the drug war, and to hell with actual patients.

Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans (permalink)

September 17, 2019

Pity the Time Traveler

Both liberal and conservative drug warriors have it wrong. They both insist that we have to ensure the safety of all potential substance users before we legalize the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

But this is like saying that we have to ensure the safety of all readers before we can allow them to walk into a library, lest their reading gives them crazy ideas that cause them to injure themselves or others.

In reality, the safety of humanity has nothing to do with the issues involved here. As an ostensibly free society, we think of free speech as a fundamental right, a precondition of liberty, and therefore a right that cannot be trumped by other considerations. This is why "Fahrenheit 451" is (so far, at least) good science-fiction and not a description of reality, for we in Western society still see the folly of burning books.

We value a free press because we value freedom of thought.

How strange then that we accept the notion of burning precisely those plants that can expand our thought and help us to think more clearly, beyond the paradigms that our contemporaneous society naturally foists upon us by its sheer situational proximity.

CONCLUSION: Although we don't want government telling us WHAT to think, we have no problem with them telling us HOW or HOW MUCH to think.

Pity the time traveler who arrives from the 1600s, bristling with a new idea for a science-fiction story:

Time-Traveler: "Hey, I've got this cool idea for a story in which some future despotic government goes out and burns plants to keep the populace from using those substances to improve their minds! I'm gonna call it 'Fahrenheit 452!'"

Me: "Sorry, dude, but that's not science-fiction."

Time-Traveler: "What? Maybe you don't hear so good. I said it's a story about government going out and getting rid of therapeutic plants!"

Me: "Right, and that's exactly what our government does today!"

Time-Traveler: "You're kidding me? I thought I traveled forward in this time machine, not backwards."

Me: "Hey, where are you going?"

Time-Traveler: "Back to my ship -- I'm gonna visit the Earth 200 years from now and see if they've finally got it right."

Pity the Time Traveler (permalink)

September 8, 2019

Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

The materialist focus on treating the supposed "real" physical cause of addiction makes modern psychology blind to the once obvious fact that merely making a patient "feel good" can have long-term benefits. This bias against directly producing happiness, combined with our pharmacopeia-limiting drug law, the protestant ethic bias against unrestrained pleasure (as well as the litigious nature of American society that discourages new paradigms), virtually ensures that the modern addict has few options but to turn his or her withdrawal into a morality tale, one to be generated and parsed with the help of a twelve-step group.

We can clearly see this bias against promoting happiness in the common drug-war assumption that recreational drug use stands in sharp contrast to medicinal drug use, when the two often overlap, even if the self-styled recreational user is unaware of that fact. This is because, one, the mere existence and availability of the illegal drug provides the user with the anticipation of some upcoming relief from the daily strains of life (as opium did for De Quincey), and two, as the latter benefit decreases the user's overall anxiety, his or her physical health may benefit accordingly, as even materialist science recognizes that undo stress has a negative effect on physical health. Three, a person thus rendered happy is more likely to exercise, more likely to write, more likely to read: in short, more likely to pursue tasks that lead toward self-fulfillment, thereby indirectly improving his or her physical health still further.

It's these sorts of indirect benefits of recreational drug use that modern psychology refuses to recognize, sold as they are on the long-debunked notion that every depressed person in the world can be treated by their handful of drugs, based on the fiction that said drugs target some chemical imbalance, something that the materialist can, at least in theory, touch and feel, and therefore something that is far more real to them than the mere subjective feelings of a patient.

Yes, some of these substances must be used wisely to avoid addiction. But opium users, for instance, can do this merely by using the drug intermittently, as Jim Hogshire reports. But drug warriors don't want to hear that. It is an article of faith with them that illegal substances cannot be used safely. That's why psychiatrist John Halpern (in his 2019 book "Opium") writes as if every Chinese user of opium in the 1900s was an addict, which is a dubious supposition and even a little racist, given the fact that opium users such as Marco Polo and Benjamin Franklin are seldom characterized as addicts. By painting Chinese opium users in these bleakest of colors, Halpern comes close to "signing off" on Lin Zexu's butchery, Lin Zexu, the pioneer drug warrior, whose methods included beheading users and burning their homes to the ground. (Halpern never entertains the possibility that the Manchu dynasty cracked down on opium use out of dictatorial self-interest, because it lessened their ability to control their own citizens, giving them thoughts that they were not supposed to be thinking in a tightly controlled society.)

It's always a little funny to hear psychiatrists like Halpern lecture against addiction, by the way, given the fact that modern antidepressants such as Effexor are the most addictive substances on the planet, substances that even the NIH now says cannot be "kicked," Effexor having a recidivism rate for withdrawal of 95% after three years. (If "pushed" on this point, psychiatrists mince words, claiming that SSRIs cause chemical dependency, not addiction, as if there was any meaningful difference between the two from the patient's point of view.)

But despite America's commitment to the "no pain, no gain" school of drug withdrawal, in which every addiction becomes a morality tale, there are other ways to approach the treatment of addiction, ways that have, to my knowledge, never been so much as broached in the popular literature on the subject. This new protocol involves treating drug addiction with more drugs, just as Google fights hate speech with more speech.

Thus, when a patient complains of anxiety, depression and fear during the withdrawal process, a chemist-shaman would treat him or her with various naturally occurring psychoactive substances that induce a feeling of well-being, carefully selecting said stimulants with regard to their methods of operation and varying the formula as necessary to ensure that the treatment does not result in any new addictions. In other words, this new treatment that I advocate (or rather whose study and serious consideration I advocate) involves the strategy of neuropharmacological obfuscation. It starts from the presumption that withdrawal symptoms are really just the body "screaming bloody murder" about a sudden change in its biochemical makeup. It proposes to counter this bodily hysteria by screaming back at the brain with rebuttal messages such as "all is well," "the world is good," etc.

Note that I do not have a disdain for "12-step groups" as such and the need for self-reflection. It's rather that I find them an impotent substitute for the real politik of the sort of drug therapy that I've outlined above. (Even Freud didn't treat himself with psychotherapy: he used cocaine instead.) The suggested course of treatment could involve serious self-reflection if desired, through the use of psychedelic plants as considered appropriate by the chemist-shaman. But mere un-aided self-reflection of suffering individuals should not be the last word that psychology has on the treatment of the addict. We shouldn't give the addict such a dim prognosis until we've freed our scientific minds to consider the psychoactive powers of every plant in the natural world, not merely with regard for their ability to fix some hypothetical chemical imbalance, but for their power to make us feel good and develop better self-understanding. In short, we need more than a psychiatrist with a pre-filled prescription for SSRIs, we need an empathic shaman with a profound knowledge of the psychoactive benefits of natural plants - acting in a world in which mother nature's produce is all legal, thereby denying us the ability to turn these substances into scapegoats for societal problems.

Materialism's War on Drug Addicts and Alcoholics (permalink)

September 1, 2019

John Halpern's 'Opium': a pre-review

I'm nervously preparing to read "Opium" by psychiatrist John Halpern. I say "nervously" because almost every author who writes on such subjects has unconsciously signed off on a number of false drug-war assumptions that skew their proposed remedies in favour of policies that do more harm than good.

The first of these assumptions is the pernicious idea that the rights of a majority of would-be sensible substance users can be ignored when we perform cost-benefit analyses on drug legalization. Thus it takes only one well-publicized story of flagrant drug abuse by minors to have worrywarts clamouring for prohibition of the substance in question, without so much as one thought for the rights of the millions who may be using said drug responsibly and for good reasons.

Thus, for instance, we see much hand-wringing in early 20th century newspapers about immigrants using opium in excess (at least in the opinion of the writers), but never so much as one story on the millions of productive citizens who, like Benjamin Franklin, used opium without problems and found that it actually stimulated the artistic side of their personality. Sane and sensible substance users are simply never given a seat at the table of public dialogue about so-called "drugs."

This leads us naturally to drug-war assumption number two, the idea that there is no such thing as a sensible use of illegal drugs, that all such use is necessarily recreational and therefore devoid of therapeutic value.

Yet the latest research on psychedelic therapy proves this assumption to be wrong. LSD, psilocybin and ayahuasca (among others) have been shown to foster personal growth in the user. Even opium, when responsibly used, can increase one's interest in the world and one's artistic delectation, as De Quincey reported, prior to his irresponsible daily use of the substance to combat physical pain. Then there's the obvious fact that even "recreational" drug use can be therapeutic, as for instance when it decreases the user's anxiety and gives them something to look forward to in life, thus lifting their overall spirit. (We can label Freud's use of cocaine as "recreational," of course, but only by ignoring the tremendous fact that the drug helped him to crank out a voluminous workload that resulted in nothing less than his personal sense of self-fulfillment in life. How's THAT for therapeutic? And to think, all this was accomplished without correcting some supposed "chemical imbalance" in Freud's brain!)

But I'm not going to hold my breath, waiting for Halpern to take into account the positive effects of opium and the lives of the Americans who used it responsibly.

But before I throw caution to the wind and turn to page one... let's examine the biggest of all false assumptions of the drug war - one which, as far as I know -- no one but myself and Terence McKenna have ever sufficiently held up for the high level of scorn that it deserves:

namely, the false assumption that any government has the right to deprive its citizens of their access to Mother Nature's medicinal pharmacopeia.

This, I believe, is the original sin of the drug war, this fascist gambit, this theft of personal property rights in the name of saving us from ourselves. This is the sin that has empowered the Pablo Escobars of the world, ruined the lives of thousands of otherwise law-abiding Americans, and eroded democracy to the point where presidents like Reagan and Bush can stand before the American public and, Stalin like, call on children to "turn their parents in," in this case for daring to use the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet.

John Halpern's 'Opium': a pre-review (permalink)

August 30, 2019

How the Drug War Tramples on the Rights of the Depressed


To show why I'm furious with the drug war, I have to be autobiographical. Only then does my outrage make sense. But when reading the following, don't just think of me, but of the millions of others like me who are in similar situations thanks to America's drug war: i.e., America's anti-scientific attempt to criminalize Mother Nature and to turn chemically active plants and fungi into boogie-men, thus making them scapegoats for societal failings.


The majority of my waking life, I am deeply immersed in my freelance work, which supports me, albeit without providing me with the full measure of self-fulfillment that I seek out of life. But this immersion does frequently produce in me a kind of partial Zen state in which I'm open to new ideas and opportunities. So while I'm slaving away for my daily bread, I tend to come up with great ideas to pursue, which I duly note on a to-do list, either on sticky notes or in a Gmail addressed to myself.

Today, for instance, I realized that I could easily create a popular e-book by collecting and publishing a variety of short, to-the-point cooking tips, with a preface explaining that I'm not a great cook myself but rather a diligent apprentice who is creating the book as much for his own needs as for the needs of the reader. The book would write itself, because its creation would be motivated by my own culinary needs and desires. The creation of such a book seems a no-brainer, so much so that I want to stop what I'm doing and begin researching the topic at once, if only my freelancing schedule would allow me to do so. I am convinced that the book would be a joy to create.

There's just one problem: that feeling of confidence in this book project disappears utterly when I am outside of that Zen experience foisted upon me by freelance work. I may sit down at my computer to begin the book, but the feeling at such times is always "Why should I even bother?" So many of these Zen-inspired "bright ideas" of mine have come to nothing in the past, so that I have no confidence in my ability to follow through. What seemed like such an obvious plan in that previous Zen state is now just another pipe dream that I know I can never accomplish. So I sit around gloomily, vainly attempting to come up with some other worthwhile project that I might somehow be able to follow through on.

My point?

I know for a fact that there are naturally occurring plants in the world whose ingestion would immediately snap me out of the above-mentioned moping and set me on the path to accomplishing the goal in question. (Freud himself knew this and used cocaine accordingly.)

The problem?

America has outlawed all such plants. Not only that, but they've replaced Nature's cornucopia of cures with just a handful of inadequate and addictive "one size fits all" drugs, namely SSRI and SNRI antidepressants. And such medications are obviously not up to the task of breaking this cycle of failure. The proof, as they say, is extant, since I myself have been taking the highest possible dose of one of the most potent of such drugs, Effexor, for 25 years now, and it is precisely during this time that I've experienced this inability to "follow through" on my most important goals.

That's why I'm furious at the drug war. At its heart, it is anti-patient. Its concern is so focused on punishing drug abusers (as the Republicans want to do) or protecting them (as the Democrats prefer), that it runs roughshod over the rights of law-abiding citizens who want to use the substances in question in a responsible way and for the most important reason of all, psychologically speaking: namely, to achieve self-fulfillment in life.


But what about meditation?

I'm sure some meditation buffs are reading this thinking, "Why doesn't Ballard just take up a course of meditation?"

One could write a whole book dissecting the psychological naivete that is betrayed by such a question (if one could force their depressed self to actually write the book, that is). Suffice it to say for now that I am no more likely to follow through with this meditation idea than I was to follow through with writing that book about food. I'm even less motivated (if possible) to take up meditation, since the idea is coming from someone other than myself. The fact is I've tried meditation sporadically over the decades - just as I've tried to write books sporadically - and failed to keep with it. Had meditation been the silver bullet, granting me at least some measure of self-fulfillment, then I would not be writing this essay. It's fine to insist that meditation should work for people like myself - the fact is that it doesn't. My whole life constitutes the proof of that assertion. Perhaps I didn't give it a good try - but that's the whole point: I can't give it a good try, since the very problem that we're dealing with here is an absence of motivation.

But the problem with the average meditation proponent is not just that he or she fails to recognize the above-mentioned Catch-22; they also tend to take a jaundiced view of plant-inspired mental health, as if there was something wrong with using Mother Nature to achieve in minutes what the Zen master can only accomplish in hours or days, namely, that state of sharp focus and mental freedom whereby one can actually accomplish things in the real world.

I reject that view, for I consider it to be nothing but a puritan-inspired Christian Science with respect to mental health, and I reject Christian Science for mental health for the same reason that I reject it when it comes to physical health: for to refuse natural medicinal cures a priori is anti-scientific and thus superstitious, in my view.

The important thing is not how quickly one achieves satori, but rather the attitude with which one approaches the experience. I see nothing inherently evil in the consumption of natural substances created by Mother Nature, whether to achieve satori or to alleviate a headache. To think otherwise is to accept the superstitious drug warrior notion that psychoactive substances are boogie-men, that they are bad in and of themselves, without regard to the way that they are actually used in the real world. And this is the very anti-scientific position that I chided above, for the results of this way of thinking have been to deny responsible folks like myself our connection with the natural world around us, thereby forcing us to forego self-fulfillment.

And why? So that drug war zealots can indignantly punish and/or protect a minority of potential substance abusers, meanwhile turning a blind eye to the psychological welfare of the responsible majority.

How the Drug War Tramples on the Rights of the Depressed (permalink)

August 17, 2019

Thanks for Nothing, Alan Schatzberg

In response to Alan Schatzberg's comments in Is Ketamine an Opioid? on the Pain News Network, August 17, 2019.

Schatzberg's concerns about ketamine are based on two logical fallacies that are typical of today's drug warrior.

1) If a substance can be misused by a minority of irresponsible users, then it must be made off-limits to a majority of responsible users.

This is the same logic that kept depressed patients from using demonstrably valuable psychedelic therapy for the last 50 years, under the theory that psychedelics might be misused by a minority of so-called delinquents. (Of course, the term delinquent is subjective. In Nixon's case, a delinquent was merely any American who was not planning to vote for Richard M. Nixon.) But such so-called concern for the health of a minority of delinquents is really just a callous disregard for the health of the masses of suffering Americans.

2) In weighing the potential danger of new anti-depressants, we completely ignore the problems caused by the status quo.

Thus Schatzberg completely ignores the fact that over 1 in 10 Americans are currently addicted to modern anti-depressants, drugs that were never created for lifelong use but from which withdrawal has proven to be almost impossible. A recent NIH study finds that 95% of those who quit Effexor, for instance, are back on it within three years. Where is Schatzberg's concern for that demographic, or for the patients who are now complaining of anhedonia from the long-term use of SSRIs that were only intended for short-term use?

Far from recognizing their errors, the American Psychiatric Association is now developing new rationales to use these "wonder drugs" on children, callously moving forward with addictive therapies for grade-schoolers (now even including toddlers!) when we know that Mother Nature has non-addictive alternatives that our drug-war logic will not even let us research, let alone use to help the long-suffering depressed, alcoholics and victims of PTSD.

I myself am a victim of the "concern" of people like Schatzberg, whose hypocritical worries have forced me to go without non-addictive depression therapy now for 50 long years. So, thanks for nothing, Alan. Given the above-mentioned agenda of your APA, the last thing I need is for a psychiatrist to lecture me on acceptable risks.

Speaking of which, I don't question Alan's sincerity, but I do think that, as a rule, all psychiatrists should be required to come clean about their financial stakes (if any) in Big Pharma before they dash the hopes of depressed Americans regarding a new treatment -- especially if that "dashing" completely ignores the glaring drawbacks of the pharmaceutical companies' existing remedies.

Thanks for Nothing, Alan Schatzberg (permalink)

August 15, 2019

Just Say Yes to Mother Nature's Pharmacy

Combatting the drug war is like peeling an onion. Each of the drug warrior's harebrained assumptions turns out to be based on yet other harebrained assumptions, which have to be identified in their turn if one is to have any hope of convincing the mind-muddled masses, who continue to follow the logic-challenged ghost of Richard Nixon like he's the Pied Piper of Drug-Free Hamelin.

Take the following drug-war proposition, for instance:

"Substances should be illegal if they are subject to misuse."

What nonsense. Should driving be illegal because that privilege can be abused?

The drug warrior thinks that's a bad analogy, of course, but only because they fail to recognize that mother nature's pharmacy is the birth right of all residents of planet Earth and that the so-called drugs it contains have been used for religious and psychological purposes for millennia, not just for "getting high" as the drug warrior seems to believe. One of the world's first religions was founded around the worship of a psychedelic plant-based substance known as soma. The Eleusinian mysteries lasted 2,000 consecutive years and sharpened the minds of Plato and Cicero. Benjamin Franklin used opium to spur his creativity. Sigmund Freud used cocaine to improve his concentration. Francis Crick used liberal amounts of psychedelic to think "outside the box," and thus he discovered the DNA helix. It's only in the suspicious and parochial mind of drug warriors like Richard Nixon that we associate psychoactive substances exclusively with riffraff -- by which we generally mean those ethnic groups that the drug warrior hates. Thus opium was outlawed because it was associated with the Chinese, just as cocaine was outlawed for its association with blacks, and marijuana for its association with Mexicans.

Yet we still say that "Substances should be illegal if they are subject to misuse"?

I don't know how the drug warrior can make that statement with a straight face, given the fact that more than 1 in 8 American males are chemically addicted to modern antidepressants and 1 in 4 American females -- and these drugs can be harder to quit than heroin - Yet the average drug warrior has absolutely nothing to say about that fact. It's an addiction problem that the APA (the American Psychiatric Association) and Big Pharma "hush up" by claiming that these drugs need to be taken for life. That's fine, except that the coalition never started making that claim until the addiction problem was first noticed. Only then did it conveniently occur to the drug pushers in question that these drugs required lifelong administration. What a coup by psychiatrists: they thus rendered lawsuits moot, while casting themselves as the saviors of the patients that they themselves had turned into addicts - not to mention the fact that the shrinks were now guaranteed to have clients for life.

But then under this rationale, we could solve the heroin problem in one fell swoop by announcing that heroin has to be taken for life. Problem solved. If we notice withdrawal symptoms, so what? It just means that the addict hasn't taken his or her daily meds yet. (But don't hold your breath waiting for psychiatry to "sign off" on this corollary to their self-serving logic on addiction.)

Putting aside this corporate-biased hypocrisy, why should the physical and emotional needs of millions of law-abiding Americans be ignored in favor of cracking down on a minority of those who cannot use a substance responsibly? For make no mistake: many currently illegal drugs have positive effects -- as Benjamin Franklin knew about opium, as Sigmund Freud knew about cocaine, and as the American Air Force once knew about amphetamines. As for psychedelics, they have been repeatedly shown to produce the sort of self-critical insight that has been the holy grail of psychiatry for the last 50 years.

And yet we still say:

"Substances should be illegal if they are subject to misuse"?


Drug warriors always try to muddy the water with lies, false premises and newspeak. But there is only one thing that the critics of the drug war have to know: that is the fact that it was a violation of natural law to criminalize mother nature's bounty in the first place.

But if you drug war critics want to know more, now hear this:

When viewed closely, you will find that all the so-called drug problems that we claim to be fighting are actually caused by the drug war itself, by its vindictive and anti-minority criminal penalties, by its willful lies about Mother Nature's plant medicine, and by the fact that it bars us from using all manner of natural godsends that when, used wisely, could provide us with self-insight and happiness while being immensely less addictive than the status quo: that status quo that ironically makes America the most addicted country in the world for all its drug war posturing -- addicted not to opium, not to cocaine, and not to psychedelics, but rather to Big Pharma meds, pills which doctors even have the nerve to tell us that it's our duty to take every day of our life.

Of course, the moral thing for them to do would be to recognize that they've addicted Americans in droves and to acknowledge and apologize for that glaring and outrageous fact, but since they're determined not to commit professional hari kari, they string Americans along with the myth of their scientific infallibility, a message that Big Pharma keeps spreading on shows like Oprah with the help of the highly paid psychiatrists that they have hired for that purpose.

Since the drug warrior thus has no problem with addiction whatsoever, we can only conclude that their real problem is with freedom itself: they don't want Americans to get too much of that, especially when that freedom could lead to the use of plant medicines that help people see through the shortcomings of 21st-century American life, perhaps to the point where they become less-than-perfect consumers from the point of view of the Fortune 500.

Just Say Yes to Mother Nature's Pharmacy (permalink)

August 9, 2019

Drug Laws as the Punishment of 'Pre-Crime'

When I grow up, I wanna be a drug warrior and ruin people's lives.
You don't have to search the novels of Philip K. Dick to find tyrannous governments that punish pre-crime. Pre-crime punishment has been a feature of American law ever since the Harrison Narcotics Act began criminalizing plants and fungi in 1914. No longer was it necessary for you to commit a crime - to play music too loudly, to rob a bank, to strip in public, to threaten neighbors with a pistol. No, you merely had to possess a politically ostracized substance, one that had been slandered with the epithet "drug," one that superstitious politicians believed (or purported to believe) had no possible effect but to render the user a threat to society. This, of course, was the lie par excellence of fascist governance, since if it were true, then the "drug" use of Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, and Richard Feynman would make no sense. How can these men be heroes in their respective domains and yet have liberally availed themselves of opium, cocaine, and speed respectively?

Of course, you've probably never heard of their "drug" use because to talk about it is to embarrass the drug warriors with an inconvenient truth, and anyone who speaks on Oprah or The View has to toe the party line, the one that's enriching Big Pharma, psychiatry, and the movie industry, which makes a pretty penny by producing films about drug-war violence, never stopping to think that the real villain of the "piece" is not Pablo Escobar and co. but the unscientific American idiots who had the gall and fascist tendencies to criminalize Mother Nature in the first place.

(Gee, we outlawed natural substances and what do you know, an ultra-violent black market was formed to meet continuing demand: who would have thunk it? Answer: any rational person who wasn't intent on using drug laws to punish people that he or she didn't understand.)

That's why De Quincey's "Confessions of an Opium Eater" remains such a radical read even today: because that author did not take drugs in order to rob a bank or to strip in public - he took "drugs" (horror of horrors) in order to better enjoy the opera! How evil is that?

No, the punishment of pre-crime is old hat, much to the cost of tens of thousands of Americans who are jailed as we speak for having dared to use substances that so palpably benefited the lives of America's hypocritically admired heroes.

It's never too early to familiarize your child with the circumscribed freedoms of Drug War America. Be sure to make a big thing of their first drug test. Take plenty of photos and celebrate with a trip to the amusement park after they pass! They'll no doubt have plenty of other drug tests to come, but their first one will always be special for them. After all, it's the first time that they will fully renounce their rights to use Mother Nature's plants as they see fit.

Drug Laws as the Punishment of 'Pre-Crime' (permalink)

August 9, 2019

The Politically Incorrect Cure for the Common Cold

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
One thing is clear in reviewing newspaper references to opium in late 19th-century America. Almost no one -- except perhaps for the odd patent medicine huckster -- seems to have paid any attention to the drug's ability to foster creativity and increased joie de vivre in the judicious user. The focus was all on drug "fiends" and addicts and there was a clear attempt to demonize the drug, mainly by associating it with the sort of people and ideas of which the drug critic did not approve.

[This is a strategic trick of the drug warrior: never acknowledge any positive benefits about the plants that you've chosen to malign. It only confuses your otherwise gullible public and causes them to ask inconvenient questions, thus straying from the party line of 'plants bad, Big Pharma pills good.']

Meanwhile, if anyone had bothered to ask responsible users, they would have heard tales of opium curing the common cold.

Opium, curing the common cold?

There's nothing mysterious about that. The drug helps the depressed feel positive -- if only in anticipation of use -- and it's well-acknowledged today, even by many arch materialists, that positive thinking can help one fend off disease.

Yet modern psychology never connects the dots. Rather, they adopt the superstitious drug-war position that drugs like opium are bad in and of themselves, with no therapeutic value whatsoever -- and so, rather than launching a public education campaign to promote responsible use, they criminalize a mere plant, thereby bringing about the quiet suffering of millions, after which they begin proselytizing Americans with the blatant lie that "responsible use" of opium is somehow an oxymoron, which is clearly a political conviction rather than a scientific fact. Just ask Benjamin Franklin, just ask Thomas Jefferson, just ask Marcus Aurelius, just ask Samuel Johnson.

These are not mere abstract considerations on my part, for, to quote from Edgar Allan Poe, "I am not more sure that I breathe than that" the use of a small amount of opium could, at this very moment, bring some profound psychological relief to my elderly mother, who sits across the hallway from me now, suffering from her vague eternal fears... but, alas, such family members must remain the unacknowledged victims of America's politically motivated drug war. For while the newspapers tell us about the obvious harm that hated substances do, they are silent about the invisible benefits, to the point that they'll ignore a cure for the common cold if necessary to toe the party line on the subject. According to their fascistic ideology, the masses must think of illegal plant substances as evil incarnate, not as God-given cures and the birth right of every denizen of Planet Earth.

FOLLOW-UP NOTE: This is another unacknowledged cost of the Drug War. It biases science so thoroughly that we do not even notice it. Science purports to evaluate the physical world objectively, but it fails to do so in the case of natural substances once they have been rendered illegal. At that moment, science disappears from the lab and political superstitions about the substances in question are tacitly accepted as scientific gospel.

Opium is supposed to be pure evil -- even though it's been used responsibly for millennia overseas. Besides, it's a threat to Big Liquor so we have to burn it, whether the locals mind or not. That said, opium is on record as having effectively cured the common cold and all sorts of other irritations. So the next time someone asks, "Why isn't there a cure for the common cold?" You tell them, "There is, but anti-scientific drug warriors won't let us use it."

The Politically Incorrect Cure for the Common Cold (permalink)

August 8, 2019

Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed?

Posted in response to the question "Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed?" on the Metaphysical Speculations blog on Google Groups. Author Bernardo Kastrup poses the question in response to a new attempt by pharmacologists to remove the hallucinatory properties of psychedelics, to make them operate more like modern antidepressants.

The problem is modern psychiatry and its "physics envy." Its primary goal is NOT to make people happy or even productive; psychiatry's primary goal is to scientifically "cure" people with "mental issues," which today is broadly defined (conveniently enough for the APA-pharmaceuticals alliance) to mean almost everyone, grade-schoolers included) -- and that means finding (or at least purporting to find) the right chemicals to adjust in the brain: in other words, treating human beings as interchangeable units for therapeutic purposes (this from a profession that supposedly adopted the biochemical model to treat patients more "humanely" -- see Anne Harrington's "Mind Fixers").

I believe that a true psychedelic renaissance requires another sea change for psychiatry: just as they went from Freudian treatment to a biochemical focus in the 20th century, they need to go from a biochemical focus to a shamanic focus in the 21st. To accomplish this, however, we'll also need a sea change in drug policy, by which today we outlaw the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet (something that I trust will be wholeheartedly laughed at by the TRULY scientific societies of the future). This law change is necessary because to be effective, shamans must not only be empaths, but they must have unlimited access to all the psychoactive plants of Mother Nature. The shaman is an artist, not a scientist (or at least not JUST a scientist). Instead of choosing among the top 3 blockbuster drugs for depression, the shaman will work with the patient to design therapy using a smorgasbord of therapeutic options from Mother Nature, including psychedelic drugs whose proper use can create a willingness to change in the "patient" thus treated.

Until we allow for the freedom of a healer to choose, artist-like, among the available therapeutic options growing at our very feet, we have no business opining definitively on depression, anxiety and their supposed intransigence or cause. To say that we, even now, possess definitive treatments is folly when we have ruled out, on purely political grounds, a slew of naturally growing plants and fungi that could help improve lives dramatically.

Again, for those who fret about giving therapists (let alone ostensibly free Americans) unhindered access to Mother Nature's bounty, please don't compile a list of potential problems that may thus ensue. Even if you don't consider Mother Nature's bounty to be a natural right of human beings everywhere, it is your drug-war criminalization of Mother Nature that has created the problems: so much violence, in fact, that it has spawned an entire new movie genre where good-guy Americans beat up on bad guy drug dealers.

The recent shooting in El Paso may not have been directly related to drugs, but it is our drug policy that first caused underground America (and the world) to take up arms in a big way, to peddle the naturally-occurring substances that American prohibitionists decided to outlaw.

Is the psychedelic renaissance doomed? (permalink)

August 7, 2019

The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take

Rate the following statements 1 to 4, based on how much they have applied to you over the last two weeks:

1) I have little or no pleasure in doing things.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

2) I am convinced that plants of Mother Nature could help me enjoy my life again.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

3) I am pissed at government for denying me free access to these valuable medicines that could help me, like, say, psilocybin, peyote, etc.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

4) After all, we're talking about plants from Mother Nature here, not demoniacal pills from Pablo Freakin' Escobar the Third!!!

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

5) I feel like America has not been a free country ever since the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

6) I feel resentful and angry over having to visit a psychiatrist every f---ing three months of my life to get a so-called "maintenance prescription" of expensive and chemically addictive drugs that I have to take every single day and which, in the long run, do nothing more than numb my brain and make it hard for me to think clearly.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

7) I am particularly pissed because these so-called SSRIs and SNRIs are contraindicated in psychedelic use, meaning that even if psilocybin became available for me to use, I could not use it thanks to the Big Pharma Meds that psychiatry has hooked me on.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

8) Speaking of drugs, I'm pissed that Americans have rolled over and played dead when it comes to so-called "drug testing," since that system represents the extrajudicial punishment of a misdemeanor offense (nay, even a non-offense) with starvation.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

9) Drug testing is also the enforcement of a state religion, namely Christian Science, which holds that our mental health should be maintained without the help of therapeutic medicines - except for the hypocritical exception of a handful of Big Pharma blockbuster pills that boost the Fortune 500 while slowly bankrupting their addicted users.

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

10) I have trouble falling asleep when I think how Big Pharma, psychiatry, and clueless politicians have deprived me of my birthright, namely the therapeutic plants and fungi that grow at my very feet!

1-not at all, 2-a little bit, 3-a lot, 4-very much

Results: Total your response scores. If the result is less than 36, you clearly have been driven crazy by America's Drug War. But whatever you do, do NOT seek professional help immediately! The helper in question is probably "on the take" from Big Pharma and so is likely to put you on mind-clouding psychiatric medicines that will addict you for life. Instead, read books by Terence McKenna, visit sites like Maps.org, and work for a world in which psychotherapy is performed by empathic shamans who are free to use any naturally-occurring substance in the world as a therapeutic adjunct.

The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take (permalink)

August 1, 2019

How the Atlantic Monthly Supports the Drug War

Dear Editors of the Atlantic Monthly:

If you are in any way sympathetic with correspondent Graeme Wood's misleading musings on the drug war (in his July 2019 homage to Mark Kleiman), then I plead with you to read the following, and read it with an open mind. I write this because I'm an enemy of America's drug war, and I'm convinced that its "staying power" is due far more to liberal confusion on this topic than to conservative recalcitrance. As you must know, the drug war was commenced by Richard Nixon as a means of silencing his critics by turning them into felons and removing them from the voting rolls. It was not set up with America's health in mind. Yet Nixon's drug war remains entrenched in the American zeitgeist today. Why? Because even those who oppose it put forward weak and contingent arguments that unnecessarily yield ground to the drug warrior's bogus concerns and justifications.

To make my points as clearly as possible, I will proceed by citing a variety of well-meaning liberal assumptions about the drug war, followed by my explanation of why they are misleading. Let me assure you in advance that this is not an exercise in liberal bashing, since I consider myself a liberal as well, albeit one in the stamp of GK Chesterton.

1) Liberals generally share the conservative viewpoint that human beings should not use mother nature's bounty in order to improve their mental health. Such a viewpoint, however, is nothing less than the theology of Christian Science as applied to mental health. As such, it is a religious tenet, not a view based on scientific facts.

2) Liberals tend to talk about the misuse of drugs in isolation. Thus, if they see teenagers misusing drug A, they write movingly of the problem, considering that they are advancing an implicit knock-down argument for the criminalization of drug A. This kind of argument completely ignores the needs of millions (perhaps even billions) of human beings who could benefit from the responsible use of drug A. Furthermore, it ignores the millions of innocents who will be made homeless or killed on behalf of making drug A illegal, victims on both the domestic and foreign front, caught up in violence so prevalent that it has spawned an entire new genre of movies: the drug war genre. This genre includes films like Clockers, American Gangster, Empire, Cocaine Cowboys, L.A. Wars, etc., films in which self-righteous Americans gleefully violate the U.S. Constitution to "take down" Russian and South American "scumbags" (our custom-made bad guys created by the drug war out of whole cloth).

3) Liberals tend to take the criminalization of Mother Nature's bounty as common sense. What they fail to realize is that this criminalization is a modern invention, established by corrupt and bigoted politicians, politicians who don't so much object to drugs as to the folks who use them. Many, including myself, would make the argument that government had no right to outlaw the God-given medicinal bounty of Mother Nature that grows at our very feet - especially in a country where we're granted the right to pursue happiness. America is a country built on natural law, and natural law has always supposed an Earthling's right to the plants and fungi that grow at his or her very feet. In the Jefferson America envisioned in the Declaration of Independence, there is no legitimate way for government to infringe upon our access and use of the plants of Mother Nature, a viewpoint clearly stated by John Locke, Jefferson's political inspiration, in Two Treatises on Government.

4) Liberals have rolled over and played dead when it comes to drug testing, to which no one seems to object today. In short, it is a total victory for Nixon's know-nothing drug war. For what is drug-testing? It is the extrajudicial enforcement of Christian Science as applied to mental health. It is the punishment of a misdemeanor offense* with starvation, because anyone who dares use the medical bounty of Mother Nature is deprived of a job - in the absence of proof that said drug use would have impeded their job performance.

*Actually, it's the punishment of a non-offense, since the law does not generally punish the mere presence of illegal substances in the bloodstream.

5) Liberals tend to associate psychedelic plant medicines with hippies. They are thereby ignoring almost 2,000 years of western history, in which a who's who of Ancient Greeks and Romans (Plato, Cicero, Plutarch, Aristophanes...) attended the yearly Eleusian mysteries, where they "communed with the goddess" with the help of a psychedelic substance, a secretive ritual which many participants later described as the most important event of their life. The ceremony was held yearly until it was tellingly shut down by a Christian emperor as a threat to religion. Just so we banish psychedelics today as a threat to the modern state religion of Christian Science as applied to mental health.

6) Liberals like Kleiman believe that we should legalize only SOME plants, and then do so "ever so carefully." It's as if the freedom of speech had been taken away from us by corrupt politicians and now liberals are advocating that we restore those rights "ever so carefully." Why "ever so carefully"? Does Kleiman not realize that this is a matter of principle, a wrong that is demanding immediate redress? Kleiman can only draw such meek conclusions because he holds many of the false ideas outlined above. For starters, he bases drug policy on the potential and theoretical ills that it might bring, totally ignoring the enormous ills that the drug war is already bringing each and every day by ruining lives, overcrowding our prisons, killing inner-city residents, and justifying U.S. intervention in foreign countries.

There is much more to say, but I stop here because, quite frankly, I do not believe that you are going to read this, much less give it an objective hearing. These ideas of mine might have rung a bell with liberals 40 years ago, but it really seems like the drug-war mentality has triumphed in America. That said, I'll assume the best and end by telling you why I feel so strongly on this matter.

As a depressed American, I have spent the last 45 years on the receiving end of psychiatry's addictive nostrums. Like more than 1 in 10 Americans, I have to take an SSRI/SNRI for life, not because I want to but because I have grown to be chemically dependent on the substance. But why did I start on these addictive pills in the first place? Because Nixon's drug war outlawed the non-addictive psychotherapies that had shown such promise in treating depression in the 1950s. And so I'm forced to remain on these mind-fogging meds for a lifetime thanks to the drug war. Moreover, I am banned from enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the psychedelic renaissance since most psychedelics are contraindicated for patients taking modern antidepressants.

Psychiatry has thus addicted me (first with Valium, later with antidepressants) BECAUSE of the drug war. Where is the liberal concern for myself and the millions like me, the casualties of Kleiman's "slow and cautious" approach on legalizing psychedelics? And yet liberals like Graeme feel free to flippantly dismiss the value of psychedelics and wholeheartedly accept the fascist notion that plants and fungi can justifiably be criminalized.

Plants and fungi: criminalized! It sounds like a Ray Bradbury science-fiction story to me: a future tyrannical government outlaws plants! And yet this is the "enlightened" public policy that America is following in the 21st century? Unfortunately, humans tend to have myopic vision when it comes to recognizing the blatant injustices of their own time. So I'm not sure you catch the irony here.

But here's hoping that you do! Here's hoping that the Atlantic Monthly will think twice in the future before running stories that only serve to philosophically strengthen the drug war zeitgeist.

If I've convinced you that the default liberal position is blind to certain truths, feel free to forward me an advance copy of your next article in which one of your authors speculates on drug legalization.

I'll be happy to highlight any mistaken philosophical assumptions on which the author is unwittingly basing his or her argument. Because, to repeat, the drug war remains in place, not because of conservative arguments in favor of it but because of the liberal critic's inability to rebut those arguments clearly and with philosophical rigor.

How the Atlantic Monthly Supports the Drug War (permalink)

August 1, 2019

Open letter to Ethan Watters, author of

Hey Ethan,

In your book "Crazy Like Us," you mention how difficult it is to escape one's cultural assumptions. I'm afraid in your case, this has blinded you to the existence of America's drug war and its impact upon the subject at hand -- since without the drug war, the very need for SSRIs might not have arisen, given the promising therapeutic use of psychedelics in the '50s -- all nipped in the bud by Richard Nixon.

When an author takes the drug war as a given, not worth even mentioning, he will write the following kind of sentence:

1) "ECT was necessary because all other drug therapies had failed."

But this is a lie. What the author really means is:

2) "ECT was necessary because the government had outlawed all non-damaging cures that seemed promising."

There is a huge difference between the two statements. I think the drug war persists today because it is left out of discussions like this, thus never properly taken to task for destroying lives (or, in this case, permanently damaging brains).

Perhaps someday you'll write a book about how the drug war has deprived depressed Americans of powerful psychedelic medicines for 50 years now, barring us from psychedelics that can grow new neurons in the brain, while shunting us off onto SSRIs and SNRIs, many of which end up addicting the patient for life - and then making them ineligible for psychedelic therapy for fear of Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

So that's my one complaint with your book: You write as if the drug war does not exist and therefore has no effect on the state of affairs - when in a sense Nixon's know-nothing drug war gave rise single-handedly to the epidemic of addictive SSRIs, by outlawing the non-addictive therapy that would have existed in its stead.

From a person whose life has been in some ways ruined by this fact, it is disappointing that you do not even mention it.

To do you justice, though, almost no author these days bothers to hold the drug war properly accountable, so you're in good company.

Still, a great book - otherwise.

Open letter to Ethan Watters, author of (permalink)

July 31, 2019

Seven Ways that Liberals are Confused by the Drug War

The following is my response to an article in the July 2019 Atlantic Monthly magazine entitled The Life-Changing Magic of Tripping by Graeme Wood. Wood's article is written as a kind of homage to drug policy analyst Mark Kleiman, who recently died from complications of a kidney transplant. But don't let the title of the article fool you: It turns out that both Kleiman and Wood argue so feebly in favor of drug law liberalization that a supporter of that goal would almost wish they would keep quiet, rather than yielding so much ground to the drug warrior with their implicit but mistaken assumptions about the origins and solutions of that problem.

Graeme Wood's article is instructive because it clearly shows how liberal Americans have been completely bamboozled by the half-baked logic of America's drug war. One doesn't know where to start in disabusing them of their pious verities, but here goes:

1) Graeme says that, "Kleiman thought certain hallucinogens should be legalized, ever so carefully."

Ever so carefully? We're talking about naturally growing substances that appear unbidden at our very feet, substances that had been legal as a matter of course until 1914, substances that were criminalized because of racist ideas about the populations that used them -- and in Nixon's case to punish his enemies (by making them felons, thereby removing them from the voting rolls).

Yet we need to regain these freedoms "ever so carefully"?

Why do we concede the right of government to criminalize naturally occurring substances in the first place? They have no such right, particularly in a country that grants its citizens "the right to pursue happiness," happiness which psychoactive plant medicines have been shown to provide or at least to facilitate.

If the government criminalized freedom of the press, our task would be simply to overturn that despotic law. We would be under no obligation to prove that freedom of the press could be allowed again without causing problems. If any problems occur when restoring our freedoms, it is the fault of the despots who wrote the corruptly-motivated laws in the first place.

2) If Graeme's sensibilities were applied to driving, most of us would have to remain at home. Graeme would no sooner see an automobile accident involving teenagers than he would rush home and pen a "compassionate" article for Americans to stop driving. If Graeme does not accept this analogy as relevant to illegal drugs, then he is not "up" on the latest findings in psychedelic therapy, according to which psychedelics like ayahuasca and psilocybin can provide a user with mental resilience and grow new neurons in the brain. But in the drug warrior's playbook, all these benefits are to be ignored simply because a minority of teenagers might find a way to abuse the substances in question.

3) Graeme focuses on minor and debatable anecdotal "problems" with psychedelics, while ignoring the real drug problem in America, the fact that 1 in 10 Americans are addicted to the drugs of Big Pharma for the treatment of depression and other mood disorders, conditions for which psychedelics are proving a powerful and non-addictive replacement. These Big Pharma nostrums (SSRIs, SNRIs, etc.) were never even studied for long-term use and yet now are being dispensed like candy. I myself have been told by psychiatrists that I have to take my anti-depressant for life. Why? Because a new NIH study shows it's impossible to get off Effexor. Yet the moralizing drug-war mentality blinds Graeme to this REAL drug problem. Instead he harps on the need to withhold naturally occurring and non-addictive medications from the public based merely on his parochial fears about the potential misuse by delinquents. Better millions of depressed go without treatment than 10 delinquents misuse a drug of which Graeme does not approve, or so Graeme seems to think.

The fact that Effexor is more chemically addicting than heroin does not even register for the liberal drug warrior.

4) He also seems to think that only kooks would be particularly interested in psychedelics anyway, so we may as well make them legal, since oddballs will be oddballs. This merely demonstrates, once again, Graeme's ignorance of the therapeutic findings of the psychedelic revolution, which shows that psychedelics are the psychotherapeutic drugs par excellence. They're the perfect adjunct to "talk therapy" because they open the users minds to new possibilities and permit them to identify and challenge their own nonproductive assumptions about themselves and about life in general.

5) In dismissing psychedelic users as eccentrics, Graeme also shows his ignorance of Western history: namely, the fact that the Eleusian Mysteries existed on a yearly basis for almost 2,000 years (until the rituals were tellingly abolished by a Christian emperor), providing psychedelically enhanced visions to a who's who of ancient Greeks and Romans, providing them what most participants later described as the most important experience of their life.

6) Graeme doffs his hat to freedom of religion but fails to realize that America's drug war is itself the establishment of a religion: namely, the religion of Christian Science as applied to mental health. According to this religion, one "should not" use nature's freely offered bounty to improve one's mental health. That's a religious tenet, though, not a fact. To insist that Americans abide by this belief is tyranny, for it is the establishment of a kind of Christian Science as state religion.

7) While myopically focusing on the potential fate of juvenile delinquents in a free society, Graeme completely ignores the actual hyper violence created by the drug war itself, which is such an enormous problem that it has spawned its own movie genre: the drug-war genre. Nixon almost single-handedly created this genre when he criminalized Mother Nature's plants, a genre in which mainly Russian and South American "scumbags" are confronted by heavily armed and no-nonsense cops from America who openly laugh at the whole idea of due process and the other high-falutin legal protections that have been historically afforded to American citizens via the U.S. Constitution. Movies in this "drug-war genre" include: American Gangster, Asian Connection, Bobby Z, Clockers, Cocaine Cowboys, Empire, L.A. Wars, Marked for Death, Scarface, Rush, etc. etc. - just add the "bullet-riddled" movie of your choice.

Yet liberals like Graeme happily attend these films, hypocritically thrilled by the violence that the drug war creates, only to go home afterwards and write cautionary articles about the dangers of putting psychoactive plants and fungi in the hands of supposedly free American citizens.

Seven Ways that Liberals are Confused by the Drug War (permalink)

July 27, 2019

Marci Hamilton Equates Drug Use with Child Abuse

In response to No, American Religious Liberty Is Not in Peril by Marci Hamilton in the Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2019

Dear Marci:

I think it is amazing that you equate the use of Mother Nature's psychedelic plants with child abuse. It shows how far the Drug War has gone in superstitiously turning mere physical substances into demons, into the very incarnation of evil, something to be feared and reviled rather than to be analyzed dispassionately with an eye toward their potential benefits for humankind.

If you are keeping up on world events, you surely know that psychedelics are now being shown to grow new neurons in the brains of the depressed and, when properly administered, to give new hope and mental resilience to cases that had hitherto been impervious to all other treatments. Moreover, you're surely aware that Nixon rendered psychedelics illegal, not to protect America's health, but to punish his political enemies by making them felons and thus removing them from the voting rolls - and that, at the time Nixon did this, psychedelics were showing unprecedented benefit in actually curing alcoholics. You're surely also aware that many legal antidepressant drugs are so addictive that they have to be taken for life - whereas the naturally-occurring psychedelics that you demonize are non-addictive and can sometimes facilitate mental cures in just one session!

As for the old Drug War canard that drugs "fry your brain," psychedelics have been shown to actually grow new neurons. If any drugs fry the brain, it is modern antidepressants, which are increasingly implicated in causing anhedonia in long-term users.

In other words, there is no evidence that legalized psychedelics would destroy America, least of all when those substances are used in a religious setting. No doubt you could cobble together a few statistics to the contrary, but any damage you may document would be minuscule compared to that done by alcohol, cigarettes, and the legal drug therapy on which more than 1 in 10 Americans are now chemically dependent, destined to be drug users for a lifetime thanks to the "rights" of Big Pharma (business rights which, as a conservative, you no doubt think are just and proper despite their catastrophic effect on actual human lives!)

It's funny that you should bring up the Christian Science attitude toward "childhood vaccination" in arguing against excessive religious rights - because the Drug War is nothing but Christian Science as applied to mental health: that is, the Drug War is based on the metaphysical premise that we should not use Mother Nature's psychedelic medicines to improve our mental health. That is a religious belief itself that cannot even in theory be proven: it is a faith, one that many Americans do not share. So you show your religious intolerance in deciding that everyone must respect your jaundiced view of Mother Nature's plants and fungi by eschewing the therapeutic use of those God-given substances. In short, if the anti-vaccination movement is ignorant, then so is the Drug War: for both argue against the use of demonstrably therapeutic substances.

You claim that the young people known as "nones" are on your side, philosophically speaking. I doubt that, but if you're right, this won't last for long. Research from the new psychedelic renaissance is proving that the guided use of Mother Nature's psychedelic bounty can increase mental resilience and clarity and help one think outside the box - which is the very definition of a psychotherapeutic godsend. The "nones" are going to be smart enough to realize that the Drug War is all about keeping them from these naturally-occurring therapies - at which point these "nones" will take the lead in denouncing the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature's therapeutic bounty.

It is my sincere hope that this pushback against the Drug War will result in new churches, in which Americans will seek transcendence together through the ritual use of Mother Nature's psychedelic plants.

This would not represent the claiming of some new exotic right as you seem to think: it would be the re-claiming of a God-given right to the therapeutic bounty that grows at our very feet, a right guaranteed by natural law until it was first unconstitutionally usurped by common law in 1914 with the Harrison Narcotics Act.

Marci Hamilton Equates Drug Use with Child Abuse (permalink)

July 22, 2019

There's nothing complicated about it -- legalize Mother Nature's plants now!

stop wringing your hands about plant legalization -- the harm is being caused by the drug war, not by the plants
I belong to a Google group called Metaphysical Speculation, hosted by author Bernardo Kastrup. This morning, one member started a thread concerning Michael Pollan's fears that it's too dangerous to legalize psychedelic plants - and the posting member (Robert) agreed, concluding that the whole subject of drug legalization is "complicated."

I begged to differ vehemently, and I did so in the following response to Robert, Michael Pollan, and all the other Chicken Littles out there who fear that the sky will fall in if we legalize the plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

The "it's complicated" argument has Richard Nixon smiling in his grave. He outlawed drugs in order to get his political opponents off of the voting rolls. Now Nixon finds, half a century later, that even his political opponents have convinced themselves that it's too dangerous to restore the liberties that he took from us. Meanwhile, it's quite all right for American presidents to engage in the Stalinist practice of asking children to report their parents for using the plants of Mother Nature. Those turncoat kids even get a photo op with Nancy Reagan. Nixon's ghost must be ecstatic. His anti-minority drug war tapped into a deep vein of Big Brotherism and paranoia in the mind of the American public, both on the left and on the right.

It's complicated to get our freedoms back? No it's not.

If the government had taken away the freedom of the press and then launched a 50-year campaign to point out the dangers of unbridled speech, we might now be terrified of restoring the freedom of the press. But that does not change the fact that the freedom of the press must be restored - and ASAP. Nor does it mean that the defenders of this freedom are under an obligation to explain how this restoration can be accomplished without causing unrest or even violence. If the restoration of those freedoms brings its own set of problems, so be it. If anyone is responsible for that violence, it is the fascists who outlawed those freedoms in the first place.

Folks like Robert are worried about potential victims of decriminalization - meanwhile they ignore the actual fate of the millions of depressed and anxious that they walk by every day, law-abiding citizens who have been forced to use inadequate - AND ADDICTIVE - medicines because America is so focused on keeping NON-ADDICTIVE substances like psychedelics out of the hands of the minority who might (somehow) abuse them (even though psychedelics are hardly the "go-to" drugs for young people seeking a quick and guaranteed high).

With respect, the government DOES define our rights - in the U.S. Constitution - and among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

How can the U.S. government grant us the pursuit of happiness and then deny us the means to attain that happiness - by denying us the naturally growing medications that can increase our mental acumen and appreciation for life?

I'm sure Robert would be angry if the government tried to tell him what to think - how much angrier he should be if the government told him HOW and HOW MUCH he can think, but that's what government does when it denies us the mind-improving therapeutic power of plants and fungi.

Robert frets about those who became addicted to opium. However the morally charged term "addiction" was created by the Drug Warrior to bring shame on opium users (especially the minorities with whom Caucasian prohibitionists associated opium use in the early 20th century). While opium was legal in the U.S., the term used was "habituation," and many doctors didn't even consider it to be a problem - until the drug war interrupted supply. Benjamin Franklin was a regular opium user, and there were no Nancy Reagans calling him out as a "wretch" in need of imprisonment and therapy. Moreover, although daily users could become habituated, the occasional use of opium did not cause habituation, nor did the user require ever greater doses to achieve comparable effects.

I'd much rather see opium legal than see the DEA stomp onto Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and confiscate all his poppy plants, as they did in 1987. Why is this outrage not patently obvious to freedom-loving people??? The DEA stomps onto Jefferson's estate to confiscate PLANTS??? PLANTS!!! Sounds like a Ray Bradbury sci-fi about a future tyrannous government, not a story from our present-day America, at least as I'd like to think of it.

Folks like Robert and Michael Pollan are purblind: they vividly imagine addicts in the street the second that government (in its generosity) decides that we can use the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet. But they are blind to the millions of addicts that pass them on the street every day THANKS to America's drug war. At least one in 10 Americans are currently addicted to antidepressant SSRIs, which became the go-to legal treatment for depression after psychedelics were outlawed. The APA ignores this VAST addiction, of course, or insists pedantically that we call it a "chemical dependency," but from a user's point of view, there is very little difference between chemical dependence and addiction. They are both demoralizing and expensive.

I have been STUCK on Effexor for 25 years. Six months ago, I got sick of being an eternal patient and told my psychiatrist that I wanted to get off of Effexor. He told me that there was no point in trying. He said there had been a recent NIH study that showed that 95% of those who attempted to get off of Effexor were back on it within three years. In other words, Effexor is far, far worse than opium and cocaine in causing addiction - yet Chicken Littles like Michael Pollan have absolutely no criticism for this state of affairs - probably because this American addiction is oiling the wheels of capitalism by giving pharmaceutical companies enormous riches and paying huge dividends for fat cats in the 1%, meanwhile giving psychiatrists overpaid jobs as glorified pill pushers, who disdain to have psychological discussions with their biochemically interchangeable patients. Also, Americans seem to have this Puritan streak in them: that's the only way I can explain their preference for Effexor over Opium. "At least," they reason, "the folks using Effexor aren't doing so to enjoy the opera, like Thomas De Quincey - or to have inspiring dreams, like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, thank God!"

Regarding the following question:

Why not just expect that use of psychedelics in a desacralized setting will be disruptive and should be?

That question is beside the point because it's an attempt to reassure drug warriors that drug legalization will work. But as I've tried to show above, the freedom fighter is under no obligation to prove that the restoration of freedom can come without causing any problems.

That said, if we want the use of psychedelics to be sacred, then the best way forward is through legalization, which would undoubtedly result in the creation of churches (even some Christian churches) that use entheogens as a sacrament. If we take the wimpy path of legalizing psychedelics but keeping them in the hands of "professional clinicians," then we can be sure that every vestige of the "sacred" will be removed from the psychedelic experience. After all, clinicians are materialists (or at least work in an emphatically materialist environment) and so they will naturally want to turn the use of psychedelics into another pill-popping routine, sterilized and routinized to the point that healthcare companies and Big Pharma can establish predictable price points upon which to base psychedelic services.

To sum up, the drug war will never disappear as long as its opponents claim that ending it is "complicated."

It is not complicated to demand the restoration of a right.

As Thomas Paine wrote:

"If the present generation or any other are disposed to be slaves, it does not lessen the right of the succeeding generation to be free. Wrongs cannot have a legal descent."

Those who fear such change just do not adequately realize how much damage the drug war has done and is doing even as we speak.

Richard Nixon's drug war has created so much violence that it has generated a whole new movie genre, in which good Americans (who generally disdain the niceties of the U.S. Constitution) beat-up on evil drug dealers who are simply filling the needs of the black market that we ourselves created for them. We might call this new movie category the "scumbag genre," featuring classics like American Gangster, Asian Connection, Bobby Z, Clockers, Cocaine Cowboys, Empire, L.A. Wars, Marked for Death, Scarface, Rush - all of which owe their existence to the fact that Richard Nixon (with help from Francis Burton Harrison back in 1914) outlawed the plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

Ending the drug war is not complicated. It's an imperative for a freedom-loving people.

If Michael Pollan wants to worry about something, let him worry about the hospital patients who, even as we speak, are undergoing unnecessary ECT procedures, potentially injuring the brain - all because our drug war has denied them non-addictive psychedelic medicines that show such promise in brightening their minds - all WITHOUT DAMAGING THE BRAIN.

Let him worry about the minorities that are being arrested every single day for the possession of naturally occurring substances, after which they are thrown into inhumanly overcrowded prisons.

Let him worry about the millions of Americans who are currently addicted for life to psychiatric drugs thanks to the outlawing of natural non-addictive plants and fungi.

Let him worry about the violence in the inner cities caused by gunfire among drug gangs - gangs that would not exist were the plants of Mother Nature merely as legal as they were 100 years ago.

Let him worry about the fact that drug testing is an extrajudicial way to punish a misdemeanor with starvation.

(Amazing. Minimum-wage employees have their urine tested to make sure they are being good Christian Scientists when it comes to mental health - then they go out to see a movie in which good Americans kill people who are violating that Christian Science sensibility about the use of natural medications - meanwhile their corporate CEO is in the Bahamas doing LSD and marijuana with rock stars on his multi-million-dollar yacht.)

I don't know which is worse, law-and-order conservatives who want to prevent people from improving their minds with psychoactive substances, or "compassionate" leftists who want to protect Americans from themselves. Do these liberals really believe that the drug-related body count would be anything close to what it is today if America hadn't started down the road of criminalizing Mother Nature's plants with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914? The Drug War itself is the problem, folks!

Let him worry about the fact that millions of elderly Americans are moldering away in group homes, shorn of hope, when we know through recent research that guided use of entheogens could expand their lives, help them cope with mortality, put an end to their constant profitless fretting, and even grow more neurons for them thereby increasing their mental resilience - and all of these benefits are kept from the elderly by our anti-patient drug war.

Let him worry about... I could literally go on and on mentioning the many downsides of the Drug War that seem to be invisible to the modern Chicken Littles of the world.

In short, let Pollan stop worrying about merely potential victims of freedom and start worrying about the real victims of this fascist state of affairs where, though we're not told what to think, we're told HOW and HOW MUCH to think.

Finally, if the "it's complicated" argument were extended to driving, Americans would have never hit the road. The first car accident would have resulted in hand-wringing and condemnation of the automobile as evil incarnate. But even Michael Pollan recognizes driving as a right - and no doubt drives by plenty of car accidents, like the rest of us, without feeling any moral imperative to go home and write a new book about the need to outlaw driving in America.

How sad it is that Americans who insist on the right to drive a car do not insist on the right to improve their own minds with the naturally occurring plants and fungi of Mother Nature.

I can see God now:

GOD: Blimey, I put those plants there to give them inspiration and to help them sense the unity of all life! Now they've bloody outlawed the things. Can you imagine, Gabriel, the hubristic idiots have outlawed my PLANTS!!!

GABRIEL: Well, sir, they do say it's "complicated."

GOD: Complicated? It's a plant! I've said it before and I'll say it again, Gabriel: Human beings really do seem to have the power to muck up anything, absolutely anything at all!

There's nothing complicated about it -- legalize Mother Nature's plants now! (permalink)

July 21, 2019

Replacing 12-Step Programs with Shamanic Healing

Replace AA with Ayahuasca Churches
Americans consider addiction a good opportunity to convert a drug user into a Christian, or at least a Deist. That's why we see so many 12-step programs. That's why so many books on addiction read like a Pilgrim's Progress of the addict's soul, as we see addicts not simply get off a given substance but also confront their demons, their inner child, their family conflicts, their innermost fears, etc.

This approach may be heartwarming to a Protestant minister or a dogmatic Freudian, but it is not in the interest of the patient, whom it obliges to undergo immense physical and mental suffering, while being pestered for intimate biographical details from well-meaning but therapeutically impotent counselors.

Why do we think that this form of addiction "therapy" makes sense, especially considering the high recidivism rate of its adherents - who, even if they recover, are encouraged to live life "one day at a time" and to delight in small victories, essentially renouncing any big dreams that they might have otherwise possessed for their life?

Why? Because we are living in a country that has outlawed almost all of the powerful drugs of Mother Nature that could help with the withdrawal process. Having shot ourselves in the foot like that, therapeutically speaking, we are left with no other option than to morbidly analyze the soul of the addict and to hope that he or she can somehow "snap out of it" through confession and self-abasement. But that does not mean that our therapeutic approach makes sense, only that we're forced to use it because of our jaundiced outlook on drugs.

The answer is to change drug policy. Only then can we treat addiction sensibly, in a way that does not require the recovering addict to feel like hell.

How would we treat addicts sensibly?

We would hook them up with a new breed of shamanic-healer, a so-called "empath" who is highly skilled in interpersonal relations but also vastly knowledgeable about the subtle pharmacological virtues of Mother Nature's psychoactive plants. These healers would be given carte blanche to use any and every plant medicine to aid the withdrawal process, not just the two or three synthetic medicines that Big Pharma salesmen have vigorously marketed for that purpose.

The healer would especially use those entheogenic plants and fungi that have been shown, when ritually used, to give the user insight into their condition on planet Earth, their place in the world - entheogens that increase one's ability to relate to others lovingly and honestly, while actually growing neurons in the user's brain, thus increasing the patient's ability to creatively confront the withdrawal process and their new addiction-free life.

Meanwhile, the shamanic-healer would distract the addict's mind from psychological withdrawal side effects (like sleeplessness and anxiety) by providing them with natural medications that bring the sufferer peace and allow him or her to see beyond the withdrawal issues that are being faced. These medicines would be chosen and applied so as not to cause any new addiction, but rather to make the withdrawal process tolerable to the patient (at times even enjoyable!) and to free his or her mind to discuss all related issues in an honest and insightful way with his or her designated shaman.

In other words, this approach does not get rid of talk therapy, but rather makes it realistic, by getting the patient in a state that he or she can talk freely about anything and everything with this designated shamanic "empath."

Of course, this takes all the fun out of addiction from America's point of view: Not only does it get rid of the hand-wringing 12-step programs, but it knocks Big Pharma out of the process too because the shamans would no longer restrict themselves to employing the handful of pill brands that they've had marketed to them by the pharmaceutical companies.

Unfortunately, the patient will only come first like this when America stops treating Mother Nature as a drug kingpin and instead considers her to be a supplier of a vast array of powerful medicines - medicines that are the birthright of the denizens of Planet Earth and which do not have to be processed and packaged by Big Pharma in order to be used advisedly by shamanic healers.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Let's remember that the word "addiction" itself is a moralizing replacement for the more neutral word "habituation." In early 20th century America, when opium was legal, some people became habituated to it by over-frequent use, but this habituation was not considered a moral shortcoming -- until 1914, when drug prohibitionists came along and wanted to denigrate opium use among mistrusted minorities. Suddenly habituation became an "addiction," a politically and morally charged term designed to justify repressive legislation by a new breed of "drug warrior" who believed we should outlaw Mother Nature's pharmacy to protect Americans from themselves.

AUTHOR'S LATER NOTE: Say what you will about drug dealers, but in some ways they have the right idea. You don't go to them to bear your soul, you go to them for answers. Of course, this is usually dangerous, because there is usually a severe limit to what they know and what they can sell. But picture a pharmacologically savvy dealer with access to Mother Nature's entire pharmacopeia. What a boon that kind of shaman would be to the alcoholic or the heroin addict. As much as the drug warrior wants to paint such people as evil incarnate, they would do a far better job than a 12-step group, giving the addict self-insight with non-addictive psychedelics and the highly selective use of other natural psychoactive plants, such that the addict would come out of treatment free of addiction and knowing more about themselves -- and NOT -- as in today's real world -- suddenly addicted to Big Pharma's ridiculously teensy pharmacy of addictive poisons, based on shabby science backed by false philosophical claims about fictional chemical imbalances -- or rather chemical imbalances that WERE fictional until the BIG PHARMA meds themselves created those imbalances!

This is just another way of saying that if psychotherapists wish to remain relevant in a world without ridiculous and anti-scientific drug laws, they must become empathic pharmacological shamans. The only reason that folks still go to shrinks today is because government, luckily for them, has outlawed all competition from the plants of Mother Nature. If freedom is to survive, this anti-Constitutional status quo must change -- and when it does, psychiatrists will finally have to make an honest living, one no longer subsidized (directly or indirectly) by Big Pharma.

AUTHOR'S STILL LATER NOTE: How ironic yet telling it is that Freud did not submit himself to intensive psychotherapy but used cocaine instead to keep up with his workload. Freud was like: "Theory is all well and good when it comes to my patients, but important people like myself require the real thing!" The field of psychology plays dumb, however, and refuses to draw the obvious lesson from this irony: namely, that politically ostracized drugs have a real place in therapy - "even though heaven and earth cry out against them." Freud using cocaine reminds me of liberals who send their kids to a private school. In both cases, the theorizer demands real results in their own life and that of their family but insists that other people live according to dictates of mere theory (whether about the powers of psychotherapy or about the importance of public schools).

Replacing 12-Step Programs with Shamanic Healing (permalink)

July 20, 2019

Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing

Uncle Sam Wants Your Urine
1) Drugs were made illegal in the United States, not for health reasons, but to punish political enemies - by turning them into felons and thus removing them from the voting rolls

2) Drug tests are not based on any known correlation between the use of any particular drug and an inability to perform any particular job

3) Drug testing seeks to establish Christian Science as a state religion by denying Americans the right to use medications to improve their mental condition

4) Drug tests are an extrajudicial form of law enforcement, which punishes misdemeanor cases of drug use with expulsion from the job market, thereby constituting cruel and unusual punishment

5) Many of the drugs that we test for have been shown to decrease depression, fight PTSD and even cure alcoholism -- and yet we reward those who dare to use them with unemployment?

6) Drug testing allows corporations to hire only docile employees who aren't too finicky about their perceived "rights" as human beings and as workers

7) Drug testing is just another way for the billionaire 1% to lord it over the rest of us by forcing us to undergo humiliating and invasive searches while our CEOs freely use LSD and marijuana with rock stars on their multi-million-dollar yachts

8) Drug testing is based on the patently false assumptions of the Drug War, which has turned the U.S. into a penal colony and fomented violence and bloodshed overseas, justifying U.S. intervention to attack the bad guys that our own drug laws have created out of whole cloth

Did I say 8? I meant 9: The use of Mother Nature's plants is the birthright of every Earthling. It is a right guaranteed by natural law, for as John Locke asserts, we human beings have a natural right to "the earth and all that lies therein." Natural laws cannot justifiably be infringed by common law in a free country -- least of all the United States, the first country in the world to be explicitly founded on the notion of a natural law that trumps common law in order to keep despotism at bay.

Don't think that access to plants is guaranteed by natural law? God even granted that access in Genesis, where he claimed that everything he created in nature was for us -- not for our government. If access to plants is not guaranteed under natural law then natural law is meaningless and human beings have only those rights that their governmental overlords deem fit to grant them. Yet confused preachers rant against Mother Nature's plant medicines from the pulpit, meanwhile remaining hypocritically quiet about the death toll racked up by alcohol and cigarettes -- or the death toll racked up by America's war on plants, whose despotic goals the politicians attempt to disguise by calling it a "war on drugs" instead.

FOR PHILOSOPHERS: Note that the urine tests presuppose the unproven proposition that having a given substance in your system makes you incapable of performing a specific job, that, for instance, you are unable to greet customers at Walmart because you smoked a joint three days ago. This, of course, is mere folly, an obvious lie. The truth is probably the opposite, that in many cases the toker might prove a most affable host. But since this drug-testing justification fails so obviously, what is the true purpose of employee drug-testing? Answer: to enforce unpopular laws through extrajudicial means, to turn a non-crime or misdemeanor into a death sentence that bars one from gaining active employment in America. Thus drug testing not only is extrajudicial punishment, but it comes with penalties far beyond anything that a court would ever impose, even for a suspected murderer: namely, eviction from the job market, where the Christian Science deprecation of natural substances is taken as scripture, as American Sharia, often enforced by liquor-swilling CEOs.

You've got to love drug war morality: you can prove you're a good person merely by pissing. And your reward? Well, you may not do much with your life, but at least you can have a headstone that reads: "Passed every single drug test he ever took!" Well done, good and faithful! And if you want to be even MORE moral, you can always turn in your parents for smoking marijuana, maybe even get a photo opportunity with the appropriately titled Drug Czar. Ah! Isn't democracy swell?!

Be sure to piss on demand for all employers and government personnel. Drug testing: it's the new 'free.' Better yet, read more essays on this outrage:

Eight Reasons to End Drug Testing (permalink)

July 19, 2019

Cup of Urine, Pissed By Me

Cup of urine, pissed by me
Got me work at Dollar Tree
Though they didn't have the right
I gave forth without a fight
Bet the owner of these stores
Keeps his d--- inside his drawers

Cup of Urine, Pissed By Me (permalink)

July 19, 2019

This is your brain on Neuralink

In response to Elon Musk's Neuralink plan to fix brain disorders

Musk's idea might sound funny, were it not for the fact that many equally nutty ideas have been implemented in the name of psychiatric "science" over the past 150 years: enema therapy, insulin coma therapy, Metrazol therapy, fever therapy, enforced isolation, and even forced sterilization - all piously claiming a scientific basis for their method of action. As if this past menu of hubristic horrors is not enough, we have modern psychiatry to thank for the fact that, even as I type this, more than 1 in 10 Americans are chemically dependent on SSRIs for a lifetime - never mind the fact that these pills were originally trialed and marketed only as short-term remedies.

To be sure, Musk's comments focus on the use of implanted AI to treat Alzheimer's, but he also makes the grandiose insinuation that no mental trouble will eventually be beyond the mind-correcting powers of his implemented device. (Hopefully there will be an ad-free version of Musk's implant so that our new, improved grandma is not forced to hear occasional commercials for iHop during her neuronal renaissance.)

I used to laugh at the Kurzweils of the world who ran around screaming that "the Singularity is at hand," while I, for my part, could not even make myself understood by a corporate phone-bot, not even when using the most basic of highly articulated English-language phrases. But now I see that the AI proselytizers have to be taken seriously, not because they are on the brink of solving the world's problems, but because they THINK they are and so are liable to create real problems for real patients, unless we see through their enticing sci-fi pretensions to the vapid philosophy that underlies it: materialism, which is to say the philosophy according to which all the nonsense cures cited above once claimed to be justified.

Don't get me wrong: I would be thrilled if Musk could electronically tweak the brain so as to essentially cure Alzheimer's, but his ambitions go far beyond that. He's out to cure "brain disorders" in general, which, given his materialist assumptions, presumably means depression and anxiety as well.

That's where I say "hold everything."

We already know of plants whose use can create new neural connections in the brain, yet we do not even consider using them to treat mental illnesses. Why? Because Americans, who otherwise boast of their scientific prowess, have yet allowed those plants to be rendered illegal for over a half a century now. Plants! To be rendered illegal! In a scientific society? Hello?

We have no right to go casting about in the electronics cupboard for cures for depression and anxiety under such anti-scientific circumstances. Scientists and researchers should instead be rising up en masse to overthrow this government-sponsored prohibition on medical progress. (Better late than never: had they not been snookered by politics and materialist prejudices against psychedelics, scientists would have risen up in this way 50 years ago.)

Instead, almost to a man (and to a woman), scientists ignore their loss of freedom, expunging it from history in the very sentences that they speak. Thus a clinician will claim that they use ECT as a last resort, because everything else has failed for a given patient, when what they really mean is: "We're using ECT because the government refuses to let us use non-damaging and non-addictive plant-based therapies instead." That honesty would serve a profound purpose, by reminding the tabloid-led public how hysteria-based drug laws end up harming everyone in the long run.

I mention these indefensible drug laws because Musk's ambitions only make sense in the light of their pernicious existence. If the depressed and anxious were able to proceed with the informed used of psychedelics to treat their depression and anxiety, then I think Musk's AI plans would appear as laughable to them.

"Let's see," says the giggling psychonaut: "I can use this natural plant here to expand my mind, thus following in the footsteps of the mysteries at Eleusis in which Plato himself took part... or I can have this Elon Musk fellow implant some operating software in my brain - which he'll no doubt update from time to time à la Windows Updates."

Then, reflecting on the countless PCs that have been ruined by Windows' bug-filled Updates...

"Uh, thanks, Elon, but I think I'll stick with my plants!"

This is your brain on Neuralink (permalink)

July 16, 2019

Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts

in response to comments posted on DailyMail.com for the article entitled Trial using MDMA

It amazes me that Brits want to continue the disastrous Drug War of Richard Nixon who only started it to punish his enemies. Kudos to reformed addicts, but please do not tell us to outlaw drugs to help save your lives: you're not the only ones in the universe. Because we set drug policy based on the actions of irresponsible and uninformed drug takers like yourself, we deny powerful medicines to millions of depressed people around the world and foment violence overseas fighting a drug war that can never be won, because people will never give up their God-given right to self-medicate, especially when using the plants of Mother Nature, which are our birthright as denizens of Planet Earth. (What's more, they never SHOULD give up that right -- thus the drug war not only cannot succeed -- but it SHOULD NOT, at least for those of us who value freedom and democracy.)

Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts (permalink)

July 16, 2019

America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:

How the disastrous materialist paradigm ruined psychiatry and addicted entire generations of Americans

I am an expert on the down side of the anti-depressant craze, having been over 40 years on the receiving end of materialist nostrums that I was told would correct my brain chemistry. Now I find that they have hopelessly screwed up that chemistry and have debarred me from profiting from the new psychedelic renaissance in depression therapy, thanks to the fact that SSRI + psychedelics causes Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome -- or, in any case, dampens the effects of psychedelics. Nor am I alone. It is a tragic irony that those of us who have dutifully followed the antidepressant bandwagon are now ineligible for the new non-addictive psychedelic therapy that is meant to replace it.

I decided to get off Effexor to try psychedelic therapy, either in South America or in clinical trials in America. When I mentioned this to my psychiatrist, however, he told me that it was literally IMPOSSIBLE to get off of Effexor. He cited a new NIH study that shows a 95% recidivism rate after three years for those who quit the drug. Bizarrely, my shrink seems to think that this proves that Effexor works. I don't know where to begin in correcting his problematic logic in reaching that conclusion.

If I had been told I was going to be addicted to a drug for life, I would have certainly chosen opium -- like Benjamin Franklin -- and not the drug Effexor. Despite our moral bluster, opium would be drastically better for me, since I could use it on weekends only (which would make the intervening weekdays far more bearable, as it did for De Quincey before an injury led him to take the drug on an addictive daily basis) - and even if I did become addicted, so what? That addiction becomes a problem only if supply is interrupted - and in this sense SSRIs are just as bad as opium. In fact, Effexor is far worse than opium, which an addict can at least theoretically get off of after some major short-term suffering - whereas I'm told that I can NEVER get off of Effexor: ever.

The article that you posted points out some of the problems with relying on self-reporting about SSRI effects. But you failed to mention one problem. Those who find SSRIs to be valuable (at least initially) have nothing to compare their feelings to. Had they had an entheogenic encounter in their life, wherein they were overawed with beauty and meaning, then they would not necessarily consider the SSRI effects to be wonderful. In other words, while entheogens may help them "be all they can be," SSRIs may simply help them become satisfied with an unnecessarily humble status quo, never giving them a therapeutic taste of the heights of self-fulfillment that they might have otherwise reached in their lives.

Long-term Effexor use has not goaded me on to ever new heights: to the contrary, I feel a kind of numbing that I'm told is described by the word "anhedonia." At best, Effexor has made life bearable - but it has never inspired me and I have felt my creative spirit actually diminishing year by year. Moreover, Effexor has depressed me by turning me into an eternal patient and a ward of the healthcare state and a lifetime subscriber to Big Pharma. I used to think that the APA recognized addiction as a bad thing, but they seem to have no problem with it as long as they can call it "chemical dependence" instead - though from a user's point of view, there is really no difference: getting off the drug is hell.

If one is going to pay the high price of addiction, they might at least be on a drug that provides actual emotional highs, if not insights and a sharpened mind. (But materialist APA considers that so much "woo-woo": they're claiming to fix a chemical imbalance after all, not make me merely feel good! )

Yet another reason to end the drug war: Psychiatry hasn't a leg to stand on when it tells folks like myself to "just say no," since they have become the very epitome of the drug pusher, only with complete civil sanction. The corruption of psychiatry is evident in the fact that 1) they don't acknowledge the fact that they have turned folks like myself (for all practical purposes) into addicts and 2) they won't even try to help us get off of their SSRI poison - insisting instead that we make our peace with SSRIs and "take our meds" like the good little interchangeable humanoids that they seem to take us for.

This is why I've started the website ABOLISHtheDEA.com.

Still waiting for an Effexor withdrawal program that will wean me off of Effexor WHILE weaning me ON to the occasional use of therapeutic psychedelics. Most addiction counselors insist on making the addict feel horrible first - partly because they're legally unable to use meds that would ease the pain and partly because of an unexamined Puritan assumption that addiction cures must be painful.

I don't agree - not if the plants of Mother Nature were actually legal again and resourceful and knowledgeable shamans were given carte blanche to use them.

In any case, I don't have time to feel horrible. I have to make a living while dealing with my Effexor addiction.

America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association: (permalink)

July 9, 2019

This is your brain on Drug War propaganda

If you want evidence that the American people have been bamboozled by the Drug War, just search the Web for "famous drug users." Almost all of the "hits" will feature the judgmental term "addiction" (rather than "habituation" or "use") and almost none of the "hits" will refer to addiction to LEGAL drugs, thereby ignoring the astounding fact that 1 out of 10 Americans are chemically dependent on SSRI antidepressants even as I type this.

This evidence is proof of at least two things: 1) that the Drug War has scrambled our brains when it comes to logical thinking, and 2) that the Drug War is not about America's health: it's about disempowering Americans when it comes to controlling their own mental state, meanwhile turning that power over to "health care professionals" and their arsenal of addictive synthetic medications supplied to them by Big Pharma.

In short, it's all about keeping the DEA, psychiatrists, and drug companies in business for many years to come (and patients be damned, addicted and charged high prices), by continuing the American government's immoral and unconstitutional criminalization of the plants of Mother Nature, the birthright of every human being. It's all about what Thomas Szasz called the infantilization of Americans when it comes to psychoactive substances.

It must warm the heart of any DEA hardliner to scan these links which describe Mother Nature as a drug kingpin and describe us human beings as mere babies when it comes to psychoactive substances, as if we're all totally unable to advisedly use the plants of Mother Nature to sharpen our mental acumen and see behind the veil.

The facts show otherwise - as if in a sane and free world we should even need to justify our prima facie human right to the plants and fungi that grow at our very feet.

Bill Gates used "drugs," Richard Feynman used "drugs," Sigmund Freud used "drugs," Thomas Edison used "drugs," Benjamin Franklin used "drugs," Omar Khayyam used "drugs," Marcus Aurelius used "drugs," even Plato himself used what we'd call "drugs" at the Eleusinian mysteries - but you won't see the beaming faces of any of these highly successful people splattered over the front-pages of these moralizing anti-drug websites. Instead, look for the deathly pale head shots of John Belushi, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, the holy trinity of anti-heroes which the Christian Scientists of the Drug War want to keep before our eyes, lest we humans take it into our head that we have the power and the right to decide what plants we'll eat and which we will avoid.

The Drug Warriors (which is to say 95% of the American public, judging by the plethora of moralizing pages returned in the above-mentioned Web search) want the whole "drug" story to be about the John Belushis of the world, the irresponsible drug users, and those who make bad choices. Why? Because they need to keep distracting our attention from the unprecedented injustice that they perpetrated on humanity in the 20th century when they criminalized plants, of all things, thereby denying human beings free access to the therapeutic output of Mother Nature that grows at their very feet. They want the whole narrative to be about 12-step programs and fallen humanity, with nothing about those luminaries who have chosen wisely from Mother Nature's psychoactive bounty and come away better for the experience, with more focus, energy and empathy for humankind.

Americans will play along with the maudlin Drug Warrior narrative (of a weak humanity, ever threatened by nature's far-too-powerful substances) until we finally notice that the Drug War is a religion: namely, Christian Science as applied to psychoactive substances: i.e., the metaphysical notion that we "should not be" using nature's substances to improve our minds.

The latest research on psychedelic therapies shows that this creed is not only wrong, but that it has resulted in untold suffering over the last 50 years, thanks to the fact that the Drug War mindset has strongly discouraged research and clinical trials of these promising new treatments.

We'll know we're finally on the right track when a Web search for "famous drug users" turns up unbiased Web pages that unapologetically reveal how famous Americans have improved their minds with the help of the psychoactive bounty of Mother Nature. What a welcome change that will be from the usual party-line Websites delivering the usual maudlin narrative according to which every so-called "drug" user is a latent John Belushi.

Until then, the drug war remains a violation of natural law and a political pretext to invade other countries on behalf of securing the monopoly interests of Big Liquor against all comers, including those substances that America loves to hate (such as coca, opium and entheogenic plants) that have been used responsibly by non-western cultures for millennia.

This is your brain on Drug War propaganda (permalink)

July 8, 2019

Why Clinton Was Wrong about Drugs

Bill Clinton once quipped that if Mother Nature's plants were not outlawed, then his brother Roger would be dead. This claim is worth analyzing because it embodies all the reasons that the Left has joined the law-and-order bandwagon of the Right in denying valuable medicines to American citizens.

1) With all due respect to Roger Clinton, the actions of an irresponsible drug user should not dictate the availability of drugs to those who desperately need them and are determined to use them wisely.

2) The freely provided plants and fungi of Mother Nature are the birthright of every Earthling and cannot be justly denied to him or her, even if the free use of those substances causes harm to the irresponsible and the uninformed.

3) The legalization of Mother Nature's substances could - and should - be accompanied by a public education campaign, one free of Drug War moralizing, which simply reveals addiction and harm statistics - including those associated with brand-name synthesized drugs, lest we imply that only plants of Mother Nature have the power to do harm. The info thus provided must make it clear that controversial "drugs" like opium and cocaine have been used by highly successful people (Thomas Edison, Richard Feynman, Benjamin Franklin, Sigmund Freud, Plato, etc.) rather than insisting that Janis Joplin and John Belushi be the poster child for every substance that is banned by Christian Science America.

4) Government money should no longer support "Just say no" campaigns, since such initiatives are predicated on the religious philosophy of Christian Science as applied to psychoactive medications: namely, that human beings "should" live their lives without the psychological assistance of Mother Nature's plants. Given the well-documented mind-improving attributes of psychedelic medicines, this priggish outlook on psychoactive drugs is no longer scientifically tenable. When the government finances a "Just Say No" campaign it is supporting the religion of Christian Science. It is proselytizing a highly debatable creed that plants should not be used to improve mental health -- except perhaps when they are synthesized by Big Pharma and turned into addictive substances from which the industry can reap windfall profits.

5) The Left and Right share the neo-Hobbesian fear that society will fall into anarchy if Americans regain their right to freely access the plants and fungi of Mother Nature. Even if this dubious theory proved to be true, why not reply to the resulting chaos with a crackdown on misbehavior, rather than the usual attack on drug users, which is really just the enforcement of pre-crime law in any case, in which we arrest based on the highly flawed assumption that illegal drug use will inevitably lead to crime. Wrong. So save those resources. If you must bust heads, bust the heads of those who misuse drugs (such as Roger Clinton). Give THEM the long prison terms - and more power to you, since those are the ones who have been depriving the rest of us the freedom to use Mother Nature's plants wisely!

6) Let's grant that Roger Clinton is better off when we fight a war on natural plants -- but what about the residents of inner cities worldwide who get caught in the crossfire of drug gangs which naturally arise in a capitalist system that outlaws plants? Should we kill hundreds, thousands, even millions -- all in order to protect the Roger Clintons of the world from themselves? If anyone doubts how much violence the drug war creates, just remember that it has spawned a whole new movie genre focused on drug war-related gun violence. A whole new movie genre of violence -- all so Roger Clinton won't make a bad decision -- never mind the fact that when Roger made his previous bad decisions, it was during a time when drug laws were fully in force. Columbine, Vegas and Newtown shootouts didn't arise out of whole cloth. They arose because Americans armed themselves to the teeth to push the drugs that government banned. That's the result of drug laws that banned natural substances. So we are hypocritical now in wringing our hands about gun violence. Mass shootings in America may not be directly drug-related, but they're rendered likely when a country like America is armed to the teeth -- and that is a direct and predictable result of the banning of natural substances, for which there will always be a market in a capitalist country.

Why Clinton Was Wrong about Drugs (permalink)

July 5, 2019

To Pee or Not to Pee

Ever wonder what Shakespeare might have written had there been drug testing in his time? Well, apparently someone did ask for the bard's piss at some point, given the tenor of this hastily indited rejoinder that William seems to have fired off in response. It's frankly pretty bad poetry, but that only proves how much the wordsmith was rattled by this outrageous demand.

It reads a little bit like the distracted poesy of the Muhammad Ali look-alike in "Police Squad": "Roses are red, violets are blue - I'm gonna break your face!"


To pee or not to pee, that is the question:

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The blatantly unreasonable search of outrageous fascists -

Or to take up arms against the servile status quo

And tell my corporate bosses where to shove it.


To protest, perchance to starve: ay, there's the rub;

For in that valiant stand against drug testing what hunger may come

When we have shuffled off the corporate coil

Must give us pause - there's the respect

That makes calamity of fighting back;


And thus the native hue of just indignation

Is sicklied oer with the pale cast of cowardice

And those who ache to throw their bottle of piss

Right in the face of the Constitution-challenged bastards who are testing them

With this regard their currents turn awry

and lose the name of action. (mumble mumble mumble...) ...

EDITOR'S NOTE : I think Shakespeare has a point. I mean, if demanding a urine test is not "unreasonable search" (especially in the absence of any reasonable suspicion), then what is? Where do these corporate inquisitors (suborned by the U.S. government) draw the line? Perhaps they still balk at requiring candidates for minimum-wage jobs to submit to anal probes for drugs? Forgive the crassness, but one really doesn't know what else to suppose given the anti-American nature of it all.

First the government outlaws the plants of Mother Nature -- then, not satisfied with that usurpation of power, they suborn corporate America to take the very piss of the lower-class work force, to ensure that Americans are kept in their place, banned from improving their minds and seeing past the injustice of it all.

I think if billionaire companies are going to take part in this humiliation and demoralization of the lower-class workforce, then the billionaire CEOs should be forced to publicly provide their own urine samples on live TV -- just to show that the CEO is not above humiliating him or herself as well -- all for the high American motive of criminalizing Mother Nature, bigging up the police force, and denying the depressed and lonely any hope of overcoming -- except through addictive drugs from Big Pharma.

July 2, 2019

Arrest Warrant for DEA Commissioner John C. Lawn


1980s Commissioner John C Lawn

For enforcing drug law by poisoning American citizens with Paraquat

Warning: Lawn is armed with unscientific ideas about Mother Nature's plants and should be concerned a threat to American democracy.

Arrest Warrant for DEA Commissioner John C. Lawn (permalink)

June 29, 2019

Mycologists as DEA Collaborators

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
In response to "Drugged, Castrated, Eager to Mate: the Lives of Fungi-Infected Cicadas", by JoAnna Klein, in the June 28, 2019, edition of The New York Times.

Your article about the cicadas was simultaneously fascinating and depressing. Am I the only one who finds it sad that the DEA has to be consulted by a scientist before he or she can even investigate certain kinds of mushrooms and their byproducts? The fungi in question are grown by Mother Nature after all, not by Pablo Escobar: and when does the government draw its moral right to criminalize the freely offered bounty of Mother Nature?

The government's interference in mycology must steer a lot of scientists away from that field. What scientist would want the government looking over their back on every mushroom-hunting foray? I can't help but feel, therefore, that many of those who remain in the field are complacent about government interference in science and may actually take pride in being DEA collaborators first and mushroom hunters second.

Dr. Kasson himself seems to be in thrall to the Drug War based on his use of terminology. He twice refers to mushrooms as "narcotics," when from a scientific standpoint, this is just plain false. Psilocybin is a psychedelic, not a soporific agent. But in our society, "narcotic" is a drug-war pejorative, and so Kasson's use of the term suggests an unconscious desire to libel those substances of which the DEA does not approve, thereby making a patriotic virtue out of a government-imposed necessity.

As strange as the cicada story sounds, Kasson would not be so flummoxed by it had he read the book by Giorgio Samorini entitled "Animals and Psychedelics: The Natural World and the Instinct to Alter Consciousness." That's a politically incorrect book par excellence, because it demonstrates that the desire to alter consciousness is a fundamental aspect of the animal kingdom, not some evil impulse limited to 20th-century hippies and 21st-century ravers. (As Samorini points out: moths get drunk on the nectar of the datura flower, caribou trip on fly-agaric mushrooms, and cows have such a penchant for locoweed that it caused an agricultural crisis in Kansas in 1883.)

English Biologist JBS Haldane once said (a la Werner Heisenberg's comments about the universe): "Nature is not only odder than we think, but odder than we CAN think." This is no doubt especially true for those who expect the animal kingdom to respect our modern drug-war sensibilities about psychoactive plants.

Mycologists as DEA Collaborators (permalink)

June 28, 2019

Illegal Drugs and the Imp of the Perverse

- You strive to be free of thinking too much about what you're doing. -- David Gray

- To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost. - Edgar Allan Poe

In illegal drugs, we have found an all-powerful boogeyman that we can safely moralize about and condemn regardless of context.

Did Elton John use "illegal drugs"? Then it follows for us in this simplistic psychological view that his success was always IN SPITE of those horrible substances, and that his musical output would have been so much better had he only said "no."

This is mere wishful thinking on the part of a society that has been deluded by the unscientific moralizing of the drug warrior.

True, John may have had a far safer life by "saying no" to drugs (or rather saying no "to non-doctor-administered mental health treatment") but it is mere speculation on our part to say that he would have produced as much and been as popular without the aid of his poison of choice.

To think otherwise is to ignore the psychological phenomenon of "the imp of the perverse," which Edgar Allan Poe explained 150 years ago today, though modern psychiatry continues to pretend that this phenomenon does not exist. "The imp of the perverse" is that voice in the ear of the public singer that whispers: "Oooh, what if my voice came out weak and my throat became constricted: wouldn't that be horrible???" As Poe wrote, merely to think such thoughts is to be lost: for to fearfully imagine such hideous acts of masochism is to bring them about. Is it any wonder then that insecure performance artists will occasionally avail themselves of illegal mood enhancing substances to silence that self-doubting masochistic voice?

Answer: It's no wonder at all - yet we still shake our heads in clueless disbelief whenever we hear of a public performer using "drugs." "Tsk-tsk! Why would they do something so senseless?" we say, thereby displaying our ignorance of what Poe called "the prima mobilia of the human soul," the aforementioned "imp of the perverse," that ineradicable inner voice whose one and only goal is to keep its victim from reaching the top of Maslow's hierarchy of self-fulfillment.

Despite all the de rigueur hand-wringing over Elton John's drug use, what we're really upset about as a society is the fact that he had the nerve to medically control and improve his mood without the assistance of established psychotherapy (in other words without getting on a program of chemically addictive SSRI antidepressants for life!)

But Americans insist on viewing illegal drug use as mere inexcusable hedonism; to think otherwise would force them to confront the fact that the drug war is being fought on behalf of modern medicine; its goal: to disempower Americans by forcing them to rely on others when it comes to controlling one's own mood and mental acumen.

Illegal Drugs and the Imp of the Perverse (permalink)

June 27, 2019

The Psychedelic Secret of Self-Help Books

Have you ever noticed that most psychological self-help books merely describe, over and over again, a way to look at the world that can be engendered naturally with the guided use of entheogens? "Be calm, be focused, be imaginative," they say, "and above all, feel yourself to be part of the great creative forces of the universe that flow around you! See the world in a grain of sand! Dissolve into nature and become a new creative being! Yada yada yada!!!"

Sounds great, but how do we accomplish this feat, exactly? The authors never say. The implication is that we should "just do it," as if their readers were able to control their emotions in the same way that they control their arms and legs. Earth to self-help authors: this does not work.

If the Seth Godins of the world know what's good for them, they should be fighting tooth and nail against the legalization of psychedelics, because the properly guided use of substances like psilocybin, peyote, ayahuasca and even LSD will finally allow the psychologically challenged human being to BE the sort of person that self-help authors only want such people to READ about.

*NOTE: Credit where credit's due: I'm the first one to point out how the self-help movement supports the war on drugs, philosophically speaking. It does so because self-help authors imply that the human being is endlessly malleable, psychologically speaking, to the point where they can accomplish any goal if they only put their minds to it.


But note that if anyone truly believes this demonstrably false proposition, this American mythology, then it follows that one has no need of psychological medicines -- least of all those naturally growing medicines that the government has told us to forget about under penalty of law.

That's why I wish mindfulness writers would put up their pens -- until such time as they have the guts to point out in their books that the best way to mindfulness, for many people, would be through the guided use of psychoactive plants, were they only made legal. By failing to note this inconvenient truth, these self-help authors are tacitly advancing a sort of Christian Science view of psychedelics, according to which we are only entitled to as much higher consciousness as we can achieve WITHOUT the help of Mother Nature.

Meanwhile the drug warriors are delighted with this muddled reasoning: "See, they say," pointing to these endless shelves of self-help books from which the subject of psychoactive drugs has been expunged by the author's self-censorship: "You can do anything you want WITHOUT the help of Mother Nature. All the more reason to arrest you if you use psychoactive plants!"

The Psychedelic Secret of Self-Help Books (permalink)

June 26, 2019

My Letter to Dennis McKenna

Hi, Dennis.

I hope this message reaches you. I've found that when a person like yourself has reached a certain level of celebrity, they become quite difficult to reach online, and even if the message gets through, they may not welcome the imposition on their busy schedule, as I learned to my cost in attempting to contact Rick Strassman last year.

My goal in this message is to advocate a new shamanic therapy to replace psychotherapy as we know it in the United States. I hope you'll find time to read on...


My name is ... and I am the 60-year-old founder of a website called AbolishTheDEA.com, which I describe as a series of essays constituting "one long argument" against America's drug war.

That's just by way of introduction, mind. I'm not writing to plug my website but rather to pick your brain on a novel idea that I have about the shamanic use of psychedelics in such a way as to help millions of depressed Americans. I am thinking specifically of the millions of Americans who are currently unable to profit from the new psychedelic renaissance in medicine for the reason that the SSRIs that they are taking are contraindicated in most psychedelic therapy. So, for instance, these Americans cannot profit from LSD, psilocybin, or ayahuasca therapy for fear that using these substances will result in so-called Serotonin Toxicity Syndrome.

I have a personal interest in the matter.

Like tens of millions of my fellow Americans, I have been forced onto Big Pharma's addictive (or dependence-causing) SSRI antidepressants thanks to the drug warriors' criminalization of the non-addictive bounty of Mother Nature. In my case, I am dependent on Effexor, which appears to be the most chemically addictive substance in history. I say this in light of a recent NIH study which shows that over 95% of those who wean themselves off of Effexor are back on it within three years. My psychiatrist claims that this recidivism rate is proof that Effexor works, but by the same logic, we could say that heroin works for depression, since depression will inevitably return when an addict quits that drug. At least in the case of heroin, the user would have been warned in advance of the addictive nature of frequent heroin use, whereas no such warning was ever given me about the use of SSRIs (though psychiatrists may quibble that SSRIs are not addictive but merely cause chemical dependence, as if this made a difference from the entrapped user's point of view).


To sum up the problem: a large number of depression sufferers in America (perhaps even a majority) are ineligible to benefit from the new psychedelic renaissance. They cannot participate in trials, nor can they travel to South America to take part in ayahuasca rituals and the like: all because of their chemical dependence on SSRIs, which are contraindicated in most psychedelic therapy.


I believe there is a solution for this problem, but it requires a whole new mindset for how we treat addiction and chemical dependency. Rather than relying on modern doctors (with their small arsenal of commercial drugs that have been pitched to them by corporate sales forces) we should rely on empathic shamans, whose pharmacy is the rain forest and the plants and fungi of Mother Nature in general.

We must also question the assumption of "no pain, no gain" when it comes to treating addiction and/or chemical dependency. Certainly, the "patient" in these cases must approach such treatment seriously and with good intentions, but the notion that addicts must join 12-step groups and don sackcloth and ashes must be reexamined. I contend that this approach is based on a puritanical mindset, one which is particularly manifested in our refusal to consider the use of medicines that provide on-the-fly mood elevation and entheogenic insight to the addicted or chemically dependent person "in real-time," so to speak.

Materialism is also the foe of the sort of shamanic addiction therapy that I am advocating here. Materialists insist on treating specific physical "causes" of depression. This is the reductionist focus which gave rise to the fallacious sales pitch that SSRIs were targeting specific chemical imbalances in the brain which cause depression, whereas Richard Whitaker has subsequently shown that Big Pharma's SSRIs actually CAUSE the chemical imbalances that they purport to correct.

Thus both Puritanism and Materialism impede progress in the treatment of the addict. They each have their own reason for distrusting the symptomatic treatment of discomfiture, that discomfiture which is so often the death knell of the addict's attempts at withdrawal from a given substance.

They both also ignore the therapeutic quality of anticipation. As De Quincey wrote, until his back injury, he had no desire to take opium on a daily basis. Why? Because his mood was lifted merely by the foreknowledge that he was going to "use" opium on the weekend in order to better appreciate an opera. In short, he got a mood boost by merely looking forward to his opera experience. Likewise, if the SSRI addict knew that he or she was going to be provided with a mood-elevating psychoactive plant on a regular basis during the withdrawal process, they would have incentive to "keep the course." Again, amazingly, our modern focus on "no pain, no gain" seems to blind us to the symptomatic use of drugs for keeping the addict on track. We want him or her to "struggle through the pain" (and even talk about that pain in front of their fellow addicts) rather than to be lifted by natural substances over the deepest, most painful stages of the withdrawal process.

Materialists cannot be big supporters of entheogens, in any case, since they consider spiritualism itself to just be so much "touchy-feely" nonsense.

I almost despair of making myself understood on this topic because my ideas on this subject are so far from the status quo. Even the most progressive books on addiction these days seem determined to turn a person's depression into a big psychological melodrama focusing on archetypes and childhood memories. Meanwhile, medicines that would "cut straight to the therapeutic chase" are growing at the author's very feet.

For a clearer idea of what I'm driving at, I invite you to read my essay entitled "What Psychotherapists Can Learn From Drug Dealers" on AbolishTheDEA.com. The essay title really says it all. For all the moral shortcomings of many "drug dealers," (meaning those who deal in medicines of which the government does not approve) they deal with the real world when it comes to making their clients feel better. Our society's current therapeutic approach, to the contrary, is firmly based on wishful thinking. We tell the addict to "grin and bear it," as if we have no need to deal with their real-time discomfiture, as if the huge pharmacopeia of Mother Nature does not exist or is somehow off-limits in the symptomatic treatment of withdrawal symptoms. We've convinced ourselves that this psychologically naïve approach to withdrawal symptoms is somehow pious (to the puritanical mindset) and medically correct (from the materialist's point of view).


I have searched in vain for programs that help people get off of Effexor. And I'm sure that this is a problem for SSRI users in general. This is depressing to me because I find that I am ineligible for all the self-insight and mental relief and clarification that could be provided by entheogens, at least to a person who approaches the plants reverently, so to speak, and in good faith.

This absence of withdrawal therapy is a huge problem. I recently attended an online MAPS session about ayahuasca. And the most common question, according to the hosts, had to do with the interaction of SSRIs with ayahuasca. This is not surprising since, by some estimates, 1 in 6 Americans is taking an SSRI antidepressant. And so, thanks to the contraindication mentioned above, the most chronically depressed patients in America are precisely the ones that cannot now benefit from the psychedelic renaissance.

The answer, in my opinion, is the creation of a new world of shamanic therapy, one that avails itself of the vast pharmacopeia of Mother Nature, rather than just those few synthetic drugs whose sales benefit Fortune 500 companies.

In specific, I envision a treatment center at which the SSRI user tapers off of their Big Pharma antidepressant while receiving increasingly higher doses of entheogens. On week one, for instance, I might start using 225 mg of Effexor (given that my current daily dosage is 250 mg) and then given psilocybin or ayahuasca (etc.) at a very small dose. On the following week, I might start using 200 mg of Effexor and be given an entheogen at a slightly higher dosage, and so forth.

Meanwhile, the discomfiture that I experience as withdrawal side effects would be treated by other psychoactive plant and fungi substances of which the shaman is aware, in order to prevent relapsing. Note that the occasional use of euphoriants would be strongly indicated at such times. (I can hear the puritans gasping now - followed shortly by the "tsk-tsks" of the materialists.)

For once we put aside the objections of puritanism and materialism, we can realize (as even many "drug dealers" do) that it is the ANTICIPATION of "guaranteed upcoming joy" that makes life livable under tough conditions. As I know from decades of depression, it is never the depressed feeling itself that is intolerable - but rather the firm conviction on the part of the depressed that "this feeling will never end." It is this fatalistic conclusion that leads to suicide, the conviction that the bad feelings will never end. But with the skillful employment of psychoactive plants, we can change the sufferers' mindset by showing them that psychological relief is always "just around the corner," which understanding, paradoxically, provides the addict with immediate psychological relief.


Having read several books by your brother Terence, I think I have reason to believe that my ideas might make some kind of sense to you, Dennis. If so, I'd appreciate your feedback.

I only wish that I could offer myself to science as a guinea pig, to be a recipient of the kind of shamanic depression treatment that I've attempted to outline above. My goal is to finish my life completely freed from Effexor, after which I hope to occupy my remaining time on earth as a psychonaut, following the Socratic admonition to know myself. But there are currently no realistic options to do this.

Psychiatry itself says that I shouldn't even bother trying to get off of Effexor. Psychiatry has thus made me an "eternal patient," an effective ward of the state, and I find myself rebelling against that fate, so far to no avail. It's not just that I wish to explore entheogens (from which the use of SSRIs debars me) but also the fact that Effexor use increasingly muddles my mind and leads to anhedonia and a loss of the creative spirit that I had prior to beginning my decades-long reliance on SSRIs.

I believe that I could be successfully guided off of Effexor with the help of plant and fungi medicines as used in shamanic-guided healing rituals - until such time as my psychological needs could be met entirely by the intermittent use of entheogens, and even marijuana. (Note: It's my experience that Effexor mutes the effects of marijuana and quashes the longer-term feelings of peace that the drug used to provide me in my pre-Effexor days.)

Something needs to be done. There are thousands of depressed Americans like myself who are chafing at the bit of their SSRI addictions - and almost no one is doing anything about it.

Psychiatry as a profession refuses to even discuss the matter, insisting to this day that SSRIs are some kind of materialist wonder cure. Rather than addressing the issue of chemical dependency, they flip the script and tell patients that SSRIs (initially prescribed as short-term therapy) need to be taken for life, thus freeing themselves of the necessity of telling patients how to get "off" of these "wonder drugs."

I hope you agree with me that, to be truly effective, the new psychedelic renaissance requires a new treatment approach, one that empowers empathic shamans to treat the psychologically suffering patient (addict or otherwise) by choosing advisedly from among the full panoply of psychoactive substances provided to humankind by Mother Nature.

My Letter to Dennis McKenna (permalink)

June 24, 2019

Dr. Houston, We Have a Problem

...with your "go slow" approach to ketamine, that is.

My response to the article by Dr Muiris Houston entitled "Is use of ketamine for treating depression a step too far?" in the Irish Times of June 24, 2019.

Psychiatry does not have a leg to stand on when it argues that ketamine may cause addiction. The treatment with SSRIs -- which were initially introduced for short-term use -- causes such severe chemical dependency in the user that psychiatrists finally made a virtue of necessity and insisted that the pills were intended to be taken for a lifetime.

I recently wanted to get off of Effexor -- to try some of the new depression treatments that you're no doubt worried about -- and my psychiatrist basically told me that it was IMPOSSIBLE. He cited a recent NIH study that showed that over 95% of those who weaned themselves off of Effexor were back on it within three years.

So please stop trying to keep me from using ketamine based on the idea that I might become addicted. Even if I did become addicted, at least ketamine is a drug that I could theoretically get off of again if I tried, unlike Effexor which turns one into an effective drug addict.

If you really want to steer me away from ketamine, then start fighting to give me access to a powerful potential alternative such as psilocybin and LSD. Our Nixon-inspired "go slow" approach (or rather "go nowhere" approach) on psychoactive drugs has set back depression therapy for 50 years already. Let's not set it back another 50 years by invoking a standard for safety that psychiatry itself has never met when it comes to SSRIs.

Dr. Houston, We Have a Problem (permalink)

June 18, 2019

Looking for Magic in All the Wrong Places

Check out this line from "The Librarians," spoken by a self-satisfied "magic hunter" who claims to understand M-Theory.

"Once I notice something, I can't ignore it anymore. I have to find out everything about it."

Really? Then why are you looking for magic in a Victorian frat house? Why not just walk outside and gather the psychoactive mushrooms that grow at your very feet? They are surely the ally "par excellence" in our search for magic in the world around us.

Instead, this know-it-all has censored her own search for magic, obediently looking for it only in those places that her government will allow her to look, in other words, in those places where she's sure not to find it. The conclusion? This magic hunter can and does ignore things - so thoroughly, in fact, that she does not even realize that she is ignoring them! This self-induced amnesia is, in turn, a testament to the drug war's insidious effect on free thinking.

She's just as bamboozled by the drug war mindset as the fuddy-duddy professor in the same episode, the one who vehemently denies the very existence of magic. He's correct, of course, but not for the reasons that he supposes: Magic really does not exist - but only because our government has criminalized the very plants and fungi that can open our eyes to it.

Looking for Magic in All the Wrong Places (permalink)

June 15, 2019

Richard Nixon Gets the Last Laugh on Baby Boomers

I can't help but think of all the depressed Baby Boomers who are starting to molder away in nursing homes, thinking to themselves, "Well, at least we gave Richard Nixon the boot during the Watergate crisis!"

Really? Don't they realize that Richard Nixon has had the last laugh on them after all with his anti-patient drug war? By denying the elderly access to their medicinal birthright, namely the therapeutic bounty of Mother Nature (magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, peyote, etc.), Nixon has single-handedly ensured that depression and fear of death will unnecessarily affect millions (perhaps even billions) as they approach what might otherwise have truly been their "golden years" of life.

To illustrate this sad reality, consider the following typical scene that is taking place, even as we speak, at a nursing home near you:


MARY: Life is shit.

NURSE: Now, Mary, be nice. You've got a nice bingo game to look forward to this afternoon.

MARY: Just let me die.

NURSE: Now, stop that, gloomy puss, or I'll report you to Dr. Pillman, and you know what that means.

MARY: More brain-fogging drugs: I know, I know.

NURSE: That's right.

MARY: You call this life? I can't even walk by myself...

NURSE: I've been trying to get you to attend rehabilitation exercises ever since you moved in here.

MARY: Not much point in walking when the only destination round here is the gloomy group meeting room.

NURSE: Oh, snap out of it. In case you hadn't noticed, it's a lovely day outside.

MARY: Oh, just let me sleep.

NURSE: You've been sleeping all night: now, get up and get dressed. You can't play Bingo in your night gown.

MARY (softly): You know what you can do with your Bingo.

NURSE: I heard that, Mary!

Now fast-forward 50 years, to a day when the medicinal output of Mother Nature is actually legal to access (can you imagine that - a day when our government trusts us mere private citizens with the responsibility of legally accessing naturally growing plants! How considerate of them!):


MARY: Awesome!

NURSE: What's that, Mary?

MARY: What are those tall spiky purple flowers growing outside the window there?

NURSE: Uh... that would be anise hyssop, if I'm not mistaken.

MARY: Do you know, I'm seeing flowers for the first time since last night's psilocybin session?

NURSE: Be that as it may, you'd better get dressed if you're going to attend today's Bingo playoff.

MARY: What's that line: "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower"?

NURSE: Oh, yes. Dylan Thomas, I think.

MARY: Do you know, I actually feel that force today, both inside and outside of me.

NURSE: Well, fine, you can tell the Bingo club all about it, but do get going now!

MARY: Bingo? What a silly game.

NURSE: Now, now.

MARY: But you know what, Ellie? I actually think that I can DO silly now, after last night's session, I mean.

NURSE: Good for you, Mary.

MARY: Yeah, it's funny, but I think I can actually DO silly now!

NURSE: Whatever you say, Mary, but chop-chop, double time!

Granted, that latter sketch represents a best-case scenario in which the proverbially stubborn mind of old age is made to yield to persuasive and targeted psychedelic therapy. That said, there is every reason to believe that psychedelic therapy can work wonders in a large proportion of cases when facilitated by a modern-day Shaman (i.e. an empathic caregiver with a thorough knowledge of the psychoactive power of plants). We know, after all, that such substances have the power to override the "default mode network" of thought. They can also grow new neural pathways. In other words, these plants are godsends that can facilitate a whole new era of empathic psychiatric practice. Unfortunately, modern psychiatry is doing its best to ignore this fact, as it stubbornly clings to its status quo practice of pushing addictive and dependence-causing pills on the public on behalf of Big Pharma.


The Baby Boomers may have successfully removed Nixon from office, but they also "fell" for Nixon's superstitious and bigoted rhetoric about "drugs." They cheered on the drug war, gladly offered to urinate for drug tests, and eagerly went to see the latest shoot-em-up movies about good patriotic Americans cracking heads in Colombia. The Baby Boomers thought: "Sure, why not? Let's make Mother Nature illegal: it does not affect me, after all. To the contrary, it gives me some exciting movies to watch!"

But the Baby Boomers were wrong, as they are now learning to their cost. It turns out that the same drug war that cracked heads in Colombia for the last 50 years has stifled drug research in America for that same amount of time. The result: the elderly baby boomers are now forced to endure old age without the therapeutic godsends that would otherwise have accrued to them had the psychedelic renaissance of the 1950s and 60s been allowed to continue.

These depressed baby boomers believed in the "drug war." Now they themselves must pay the price for that belief.

Richard Nixon Gets the Last Laugh on Baby Boomers (permalink)

June 9, 2019

Addiction Therapy in the Year 2100

(a philosophical satire written to encourage a complete rethinking of our modern attitudes toward addiction and its treatment)

SCENE: 12 adults seated in a circle.

JOHN SMITH: My name is John Smith and I'm a miserable wretch.


SMITH: What? What's so funny?


LEADER: You'll have to forgive us, Johnny boy, but you must not get around much these days.

SMITH: What do you mean? I thought the whole point of addiction therapy was for me to find the protestant God of the Bible.

LEADER: Oh, yeah?

SMITH: Or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof.


SMITH: That's why I started out with the customary self-abasement and grovelling.

LEADER: That is so 21st century of you, dawg. The point of modern therapy is simply to SHOW YOU GOD - or "at least a reasonable facsimile thereof," as you put it.

SMITH: What?

LEADER: Everything else follows from that point, bruh: self-respect, respect for others, temperance, you name it.

SMITH: And just how do you intend to show me God?!

LEADER: Earth to Smith: Americans stopped criminalizing Mother Nature over fifty years ago!!!

SMITH: Meaning?

LEADER: Meaning we have amassed a whole pharmacy worth of psychoactive plants and fungi with which we can now ceremonially lead you on a voyage of inner discovery...

SMITH: Yeah?

LEADER: ...after which you'll see the folly of addiction - always assuming, of course, that you enter our program in good faith, committed to learning from Mother Nature.


LEADER: Get it?

SMITH (reluctantly): Well... I guess...


SMITH: All I can say is that the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous is probably rolling over in his grave right now.

LEADER: To the contrary, the legendary Bill W. was a big fan of treating addiction with LSD therapy...

SMITH: Really?

LEADER: Until a corrupt politician by the name of Richard Nixon criminalized the substance in his effort to crack down on hippies.


LEADER: That's right: "Alcoholics be damned," said Nixon, "as long as I can get my own back against Timothy Leary!"

SMITH: Fair enough, I guess, but...


SMITH: I still don't get how you're gonna make me see God.

LEADER: As far as the specifics of the process, I'd better turn you over to our team pharmacologist, Terence McKenna VIII. Terence?

TERENCE: Well, jefe, the precise combination of plants that we use is a trade secret, of course, kind of like the 11 herbs and spices still used to this very day by KFC.

LEADER: True dat. (Love me some KFC.)

TERENCE: But I can give you a random list of some of the big-hitters in our line-up of therapeutic plants.

LEADER: Proceed when ready.

TERENCE: We've got Acorus calamus, Amanita muscaria, Anadenantherea peregrina, Ariocarpus retusus Scheidw, Atropa belladonna, banisteriopsis caapi, Boletus manicus Heim—

LEADER: Enough, dawg. We don't want to provide a shopping list for our competitors in the therapy biz.

TERENCE: Not to worry, bruh: these substances are useless (yea, even deadly) when used in the wrong doses...

LEADER: I heard that.

TERENCE: ...or in the wrong set and setting.

JOHN: But then why are we sitting around in a circle?

LEADER: So you guys can get acquainted before we start our plant-guided rituals next week.


LEADER: Speaking of which, why don't you introduce yourself again?


LEADER: But this time, go easy on the self-abasement, would ya?

JOHN: Will do.

LEADER: I think we can take it as a given that we all have much to learn from our plant friends. No need to dwell morbidly on that fact during this introductory session.

Addiction Therapy in the Year 2100 (permalink)

June 7, 2019

The Hypocrisy of the Gun-Owning Drug Warrior

It's amazing how many American gun owners fiercely defend their right to firearms while gladly relinquishing their right to the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet. Talk about misplaced priorities! Any government that claims the right to criminalize naturally growing plants will not refrain from outlawing man-made firearms should the winds of political expediency happen to blow in that direction. Yet these gun owners gladly (and even proudly) support the Drug War's efforts to keep naturally-occurring plant remedies out of the hands of those who need them most: the depressed, the lonely, the anxious, and the victims of chronic pain - all because our government (conveniently assisted by tabloid journalism and a self-interested medical establishment) has launched a propaganda campaign to paint all such users of these substances as irresponsible outlaws and hooligans.

Gun owners like to style themselves as defenders of liberty, insisting proudly with Clint Eastwood that:

"They can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers."

But if these gun fanatics were truly interested in individual rights (and not just in the fetishization of this man-made object known as a "gun"), then they would transform their defiant mantra as follows:

"They can have my psilocybin mushroom when they pry it from my cold dead fingers."

The Hypocrisy of the Gun-Owning Drug Warrior (permalink)

June 6, 2019

Alan Schatzberg's One-Sided Views on Ketamine

The following is my reply to Mandy Erickson's article entitled 5 Questions: Alan Schatzberg urges cautious approach to ketamine use, posted on the Stanford Medicine News Center website on June 5, 2019.

1) While recreational addiction to ketamine should be taken into account, Schatzberg should distinguish between the daily use of ketamine at high abusive doses and the intermittent use of ketamine at lower therapeutic doses. To fail to do so is to ignore the basic fact of pharmacology: that any substance that is good at one level (whether it's salt or ketamine) can be fatal at a higher level. Alan's un-nuanced thoughts on this subject pander (albeit unwittingly) to the anti-patient mindset of the Drug Warrior, which says that if a substance can be misused by a subset of young adults, that substance must therefore be withheld from all responsible patients who are in need of that substance's therapeutic benefits. It is dogmatic thinking like this that has withheld non-addictive antidepressant medicines from the public now for the last half-century, forcing us instead to become chemically dependent on the few remaining legal antidepressants that Schatzberg appears to champion.

2) Like most materialist scientists, Schatzberg has nothing but scorn for the dissociative state induced by ketamine, referring to it as "wigging out." There is, however, reason to believe that the dissociative state is a crucial factor in the ability of psychedelics to override the "mental default mode," thereby allowing the depressed patient to think more creatively about their condition and the world around them. For evidence of this claim, I would point Schatzberg to the detailed accounts of researchers such as Roland Griffiths and Amanda Feilding in "Psychedelic Medicine," 2017, Park Street Press, compiled by Richard Louis Miller.

3) Schatzberg speculates that esketamine may induce "a sort of dependence" because clinical studies have shown that depression returns in some folks who are taken off of the J&J spray in clinical trials. But this is just a case of putting a negative spin on a positive outcome. For if esketamine really works in a uniquely powerful way to break through the mental fog of depression, what could be more natural than that depression would return for those who stop using esketamine? If the returned depression now seems worse, it's only because the patient is now comparing their dreary lifelong status quo to a new higher level of reality that he or she had not even known existed prior to using the spray.

4) Schatzberg seems to fear that such an efficacious but temporarily acting drug would need to be taken for a lifetime, but surely psychiatrists cannot complain about that. They routinely prescribe SSRIs "for life" (although most of them were never originally intended as long-term cures) and some of these mass-produced anti-depressants are so chemically habituating that the patient could not cease to use them prematurely even if they wanted to. Effexor, for instance, is arguably the most chemically addicting substance on the planet. According to a recent study by the NIH, over 90% of long-term users were back on Effexor within three years after weaning themselves off of the drug.

In short, if modern psychiatrists want to argue convincingly against using ketamine to fight depression, they'll have to do better than merely suggesting that it could cause "a sort of dependence."

Alan Schatzberg's One-Sided Views on Ketamine (permalink)

June 5, 2019

This is your brain on Effexor

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
In response to the article entitled Psychedelic drugs: would you accept a prescription? It depends if you've tried them before by Adam Winstock and Rupert McShane.

1) Let's not rush to dismiss the dissociative state as a mere "side effect" of ketamine. Recent research suggests that it is precisely this dissociative state that helps the user rise above the so-called "default mode network" in their brain, thus enabling them to see their problems in a new, more creative light.

Let's not let today's materialist bias in science bring us to rashly assume that the psychedelic aspect of the ketamine experience is something that we should try to dispense with. It may be the goose that lays the golden therapeutic eggs.

2) The negative attitudes toward psychedelics that you reference are a mere artifact of the Drug War, during which the Drug Warrior has considered hyperbole and lies to be fair game in their fanatical efforts to denounce all illegal psychoactive substances. The Partnership for a Drug Free America bamboozled a whole generation of Americans with their ad which featured an egg sizzling on a frying pan while the deep-throated voice-over warned the viewer that "This is your brain on drugs."

This was an outright lie when it comes to psychedelics. Far from frying your brain, drugs like psilocybin, ayahuasca, and even ketamine have been shown to grow new neural pathways, new neural connections, and even new neurons.

Ironically, the "frying pan ad" would make sense if its purpose were to warn us about Effexor, a standard SSRI anti-depressant which has turned out to cause chemical dependency and anhedonia in long-term users. As a long-term user myself, I actually do have the feeling that Effexor is, slowly but surely, frying my brain. It's certainly not providing me with any creative insights into my condition here on planet earth, as psychedelics have been shown to do.

3) As for those in the survey who "wouldn't touch psychedelics," let's ask them again when they are considering psychedelic therapy as an alternative to committing suicide. Hopefully at that time, they won't be so bamboozled by our Drug War superstitions as to opt for the latter of those two choices.

4) Like most articles about treating depression, this one downplays the problems with the status quo. Commonly prescribed SSRIs such as Effexor create such a chemical dependence that users literally cannot kick the habit (according to a recent report by the NIH, which shows a relapse rate of 95% in those who attempt to "kick" Effexor after long-term use). It's amazing that I have to actually point out that this is a problem, so convinced are most Americans that the drug-war status quo is some kind of rationally considered baseline that we must accept without analysis.

Once America has a level playing field in which all drugs are legal, the doctor's goal will no longer be for a treatment to help a patient "get by" in life, but for a treatment will help them THRIVE.

As for Prozac, the question in the new age of psychedelic therapy will no longer be: does Prozac "work," but does Prozac help you "be all that you can be"? The answer, from my experience, is a definitive no. To the contrary, Prozac seems to help you be all that SOMEONE ELSE can be, by actually changing one's personality for the worse. Perhaps you've heard the story of the news reporter who was at first optimistic because Prozac made him happy, only to realize that it also made him shockingly unemotional at his own parent's funeral.

5) Finally, the price point for legal ketamine treatment is an outrage and points to a fundamental problem with the current healthcare system in America, if not the world. A depressed person of modest means might scrape together the 3,000 required for an initial two-week session of ketamine infusions, but only a depressed fat-cat will be able to afford the biweekly follow-ups of ketamine spray at $600 a pop. Meanwhile a street dose of the drug costs a mere $8.

Given that outrageous price disparity, can we really blame the depressed for violating our superstitious drug laws in order to access crucial treatment? It is not the safe route, of course, but it is the one that we are encouraging with our current Nixonian drug policies and their disastrous effects on drug availability and pricing.

This is your brain on Effexor (permalink)

June 2, 2019

Ketamine Bashing at UroToday.com

I submitted the following complaint/comment to UroToday.com after reading their ketamine-bashing article by Thenappan Chandrasekar (see hyperlink below).

Good morning.

I am writing to express my concern about an article entitled AUA 2019: Urological Association of Asia Lecture: Ketamine Uropathy: A Decade On by Thenappan Chandrasekar.

The article discusses urinary problems associated with ketamine abuse but says nothing about the effects of ketamine when used at rational doses, nor does the article even mention the fact that ketamine is being used successfully today to treat depression. I know your site is about urology, but your writers should not ignore the rest of the world. By doing so, they give the impression that ketamine is a terrible drug, when in reality it is a life saver for depressed patients.

As a depressed patient myself who is interested in undergoing ketamine therapy, I wanted to double-check your article's implicit claim that ketamine was bad for everyone. So I spoke by phone to Dr. Gerald Grass, founder of the Ketamine Institute and former director of the Yale Pain Medicine Fellowship Program. He told me that he has never encountered bladder problems in patients who have used ketamine at prescribed levels. You should clarify this in your articles. (He also pointed out that many ketamine abusers are known to abuse other drugs as well, meaning that the bladder problems being reported may be exacerbated or even caused by chemical agents other than ketamine.)

Regarding Dr. Chu, the featured scientist in your article: She claims that her biggest accomplishment was making harsher penalties for ketamine use in Hong Kong. She apparently felt that these penalties were necessary because ketamine could cause bladder problems at high doses. But under the same rationale, she should be pushing to ban Tylenol in Hong Kong, too, since it can cause liver problems at high doses.

In short, her conclusions about ketamine are illogical and unscientific. Scientists and philosophers have known from the time of the Ancient Greeks that substances are neither good nor bad in the abstract: they are good or bad depending on the doses at which they are used. There's no reason to ban salt, for instance, merely because it would kill you if you ate two pounds of it at one sitting.

Dr. Chu's illogical crusade against ketamine demonstrates what's wrong with Drug Warriors: they always want to create laws to target drug abusers; what they forget is that those same laws that they create are going to have a huge negative impact on those who wish to use the drugs in question in a responsible way and for good reasons.

I find it highly improbable that Dr. Chu's efforts to further criminalize ketamine have wiped out ketamine abuse in Hong Kong, as she claims. But even if that were so, she has no reason to pat herself on the back. For those same efforts of hers have also ensured that thousands of depressed and suicidal residents of Hong Kong will have to wait many years, perhaps many decades, to receive those reasonable and therapeutic doses of ketamine that might have even saved their lives.

Ketamine Bashing at UroToday.com (permalink)

May 30, 2019

What Psychotherapists Can Learn from Drug Dealers

So, you're hooked on the antidepressant Effexor, which you find to be increasingly ineffective and mind-numbing. You'd like to switch to the therapeutic use of psychedelics (presumably available somewhere in South America) to truly lift you above the fog of depression.

Let's first imagine what psychotherapy can do for you, and then let's see what a savvy drug dealer has to offer.


DOC: So, Ballard, you want to get off of Effexor in order to try new psychedelic treatments?

BALLARD: Bingo, Doc. You got it in one.

DOC: Because psychedelics can't be used by folks taking most SSRIs.

BALLARD: That's right.

DOC: Well, I'm sorry, my man, but the latest NIH study shows that getting off of Effexor is essentially impossible.


DOC: Yes. They found there's a 96% relapse rate within three years for those who have weaned off of it.

BALLARD: That's horrible.

DOC: To the contrary, that shows that Effexor works!


DOC: It must work, since you get so damn depressed after giving it up!

BALLARD: Huh? It works??? [mumbling] Apparently my emotions never got the memo!

DOC: What's that, Ballard?

BALLARD: Never mind.


DEALER: So, Ballard, you want to get off of Effexor in order to try new psychedelic treatments?

BALLARD: Bingo, dawg. You got it in one.

DEALER: No problemo.


DEALER: We'll decrease your Effexor intake by 25mgs per week...

BALLARD: Yes, yes?

DEALER: ...while occasionally giving you some unidentified "happy pills" to help you through the negative symptoms and to give you incentive for achieving your goal.

BALLARD: Cool beans.

DEALER: In other words, no matter how bad it gets on a given day, you'll always know that you're less than a few days away from a sweeeeet-feeling break from your withdrawal symptoms!

BALLARD: Fair enough.

DEALER: And that will keep you going, get it?

BALLARD: I got it.

DEALER: It's just plain common psychological sense after all.

BALLARD: But what if I get addicted to the happy pills?

DEALER: Not to worry, dawg. Unlike modern-day psychiatry, I have a large enough pharmacopeia available to me that I can give you a variety of feel-good drugs, each of which works by different mechanisms, hence you will not become addicted...


DEALER: ...certainly not as addicted as those bastards made you to Effexor, which they now say that you can NEVER get off of!

BALLARD: Now, now, be nice.

DEALER: Then, once I've got you off that Big Pharma junk and kept you from freaking out...

BALLARD: Yes, yes.

DEALER: ...we can switch you to that non-addictive psychedelic therapy that you hanker after.

BALLARD: You rock, dawg.

DEALER: Hey, I'm only doing my job.

BALLARD: Yeah. Now if psychiatry would only do THEIR job and actually start making people feel good - rather than serving as a mere distribution arm for Big freakin' Pharma.

Disclaimer: Relax, I'm not suggesting that anyone visit a drug dealer to beat depression; I'm just satirically pointing out some inconvenient truths about the sorry state of psychotherapy in America, where the "pharmacopeia" for fighting depression consists of a mere handful of synthetic drugs that foster chemical dependence - and which debar the user from trying any of the new potent therapeutic psychedelics that are showing such promise in recently revived clinical trials.

What Psychotherapists Can Learn from Drug Dealers (permalink)

May 29, 2019

Drugging Our Kids on Behalf of Eli Lilly

Posted in response to When anxiety happens as early as preschool, treatments can help by Sujata Gupta in Science News magazine, April 21, 2019.

Isn't Big Pharma happy enough having 1 in 6 adult Americans on SSRIs? Now they have to go after the preschool market? This is irresponsible in the extreme (see Richard Whitaker's "Anatomy of an Epidemic" for many of the obvious reasons why this is immoral). What about the demoralizing effect of placing a child on a substance that could make them a pill popper for life? and the anhedonia that eventually results from such a regimen? Why should we trust psychiatry to treat our child when their "go to" pharmacopeia consists of a mere handful of chemically addicting drugs -- while hundreds of powerful non-addictive psychoactive medicines are growing at our very feet but are outlawed by our anti-patient drug wars? Let's not fog the kids' minds to make them manageable in the short run, only to make them chemically dependent in the long run.

Drugging Our Kids on Behalf of Eli Lilly (permalink)

May 27, 2019

How Huston Smith was Bamboozled by the Drug War

The late Huston Smith ended his preface to the second edition of "The Road to Eleusis" by posing the following question:

"Can a way be found to legitimize, as the Greeks did, the creative, constructive use of entheogenic heaven and hell without aggravating our serious drug problem?"

The very wording of this question suggests that Huston was writing under the influence of Richard Nixon's muddle-headed drug policy. Can psychedelic medicines be used without aggravating the drug problem? The question is beside the point.

The real question is:

Did government have the right to outlaw access to the freely given bounty of Mother Nature in the first place?

For those of us who insist that the answer is a loud "no," it is superfluous to worry about any hypothetical misuse of the substances in question: psychoactive plants and fungi are both freely bestowed gifts of Mother Nature: get over it. If a minority of citizens are hellbent on misusing plants and fungi, that does not imply that our birthright to Mother Nature's bounty should be withdrawn from everyone, any more than we should renounce jury trials, property ownership, or free speech, merely because some people are determined to abuse those rights.

When we fail to acknowledge Mother Nature's bounty as a birthright, we fall prey to the childish Drug War assumption that any scandalous newspaper story about drug abuse presents, in and of itself, a knock-down argument in favor of drug prohibition. The hypocrisy of this assumption becomes clear when we consider that the folks who hold such a view would never want to fight drunk driving by banning liquor, even after reading a news article about the death of a dozen or more young children in a horrible drink-related accident.

Whence the double standard? It results from the fact that the Drug War propagandists have taught us to see all illegal drug use as hedonistic, as lacking any therapeutic or cognitive benefits, and thus we feel free to hold such use to a standard of safety that can never be met - since there will always be some "drug-related" scandal somewhere that's vying for space in the local tabloid.

That's why the DEA continues to lie to this day by denying the therapeutic value of psychoactive plants in its self-serving and anti-patient drug scheduling system; for if they actually told the truth, Americans would see that the DEA's chief "success" over the past 50 years has been withholding valuable psychoactive cures from suffering soldiers and the millions of other victims of depression and PTSD.

Can psychedelic medicines be used without aggravating the drug problem?

One is tempted to "play ball" with Huston and answer his question by pointing out that psychedelics WERE indeed used in a safe and effective manner before the arrival of Richard Nixon's drug war, as therapy for alcoholics and the chronically depressed. But by thus answering Huston's question prosaically and with a straight face, the respondent "signs off" on Huston's problematic assumption that government had a right to take naturally growing entheogens from Americans in the first place.

They didn't - and those of us who promote the spiritual use of entheogens should go on the offensive to point that fact out loudly and clearly, that the government has stolen our God-given birthright. There is no need whatsoever to go on the defensive, as Huston's question implies, to assure our materialist opponents that these psychoactive substances will never be misused after they regain their time-honored legal status. That would be like arguing for freedom of speech in a totalitarian country by assuring one's fascist opponents that this particular freedom will never be abused. Not only is it impossible to give such a guarantee, but we're under no obligation to provide it given the fundamental nature of the right that we are demanding.

How Huston Smith was Bamboozled by the Drug War (permalink)

May 25, 2019

Too White to Use Mushrooms

 - from AbolishTheDEA.com
In 1975, a U.S. court ruled that the Church of the Awakening could not use "magic mushrooms" in its rituals because (get this...) the congregants were white and hence came from a people that had no history of using entheogens in religious ceremonies.

First, that premise is wrong (besides being blatantly racist, of course). The Eleusinian Mysteries were celebrated in the West on a yearly basis for almost 2,000 years, and this longevity (along with the many mystical accounts of the rite) only makes sense under the supposition that a powerful entheogen was involved. You don't continue a tradition 2,000 years, non-stop, if it's just another convivial fad.

Second: based on this rationale, I could never convert to Islam because "my people" had no experience with that religion. Nor need we grant civil rights to African-Americans under this theory since they often came from non-democratic countries that had no history of such protections.

In 1975, a U.S. court ruled that the Church of the Awakening could not use "magic mushrooms" in its rituals because (get this...) the congregants were white. More proof that Americans will lie, cheat, and steal in order to keep the Drug War in place, and if it means blatantly enshrining bigotry into judicial case law, so be it.

In other words, the 1975 ruling reveals the fundamental tyranny of the Drug War: not only does it deny Americans the pursuit of happiness (by outlawing the substances that can facilitate that happiness) but any exceptions to the rule are based on racist and anti-democratic rationales.

What could be less American than telling me that I cannot attend a given church due to the color my skin?

Yet this is the type of injustice to which a war on plants naturally leads. Being itself a violation of a basic human right, namely our access to the plants and fungi that grow unbidden around us, it should come as no surprise that government should not stint at protecting this anti-democratic status quo by any means necessary, including in this case an implicit repudiation of everything that America purports to stand for, especially freedom of religion and the right to be judged by the content of one's character as opposed to the color of one's skin.

Too White to Use Mushrooms (permalink)

May 19, 2019

My Cure for Addiction

I'm watching another one of those movies wherein the antihero is struggling with opioid addiction and is constantly tempted to relapse. Movies like this are always depressing because Hollywood (like western society itself) considers such serious addictions to be largely unbeatable. The viewer just knows that the on-screen addict is going to eventually relapse - and for the rest of the movie, the addict is behaving so damn anxiously that the viewer almost wishes they WOULD relapse at long last and get it over with! At least they'd be happy for a few more moments in their otherwise miserable lives!

But, Earth to Hollywood: there is an answer to this problem of opioid addiction, even though it's one that our puritanical and materialist mindset has so far refused to even imagine, let alone to thoughtfully consider.


You set these nervous nellies up on a monthly (or even bi-monthly) schedule to visit a psychiatrist's office, where an empathic spiritual guide administers psychedelics (anything from vision-making LSD to the pseudo-psychedelic ketamine) to a group of addicts in a set and setting that's designed to give them peace and to facilitate self-understanding. You then proceed to wean them off of the opioids on a slow-but-steady basis.

That's it. Cure accomplished.

Why would this work, you ask?

The simple psychological fact (always ignored by materialist psychiatry) is that an addict can easily put up with the downtimes in their life PROVIDED THAT they can see a ray of light at the end of the anxiety-spawning tunnel that they appear to inhabit. They don't need to take the traditional addictive meds such as Valium or Xanax every day of their life to cope with their emotional downtimes, they simply need to know - for certain - that help is on the way. The reason that an addict stares so wistfully at that remaining supply of fentanyl that they've hidden in their dresser drawer is because they have no other relief to look forward to, no guarantee of ever regaining the peace of mind that they seek except through the use of that one particular substance to which they've become addicted.

But by instituting the psychedelic therapy suggested above, the addict suddenly DOES have the realistic hope of achieving peace and understanding WITHOUT the use of terribly addictive substances. And so these monthly psychedelic sessions are valuable in two separate senses: first, they foster self-insight through the psychoactive properties of the psychedelic drugs themselves; and second, they make life psychologically bearable for the addict, since he or she knows that they are never more than one month away from experiencing at least a modicum of peace and understanding that these psychedelic sessions provide, hence they have the incentive and patience to withstand the siren call of the opiates. Again, this is because the opiates no longer have a monopoly when it comes to making them feel "okay with their world."

Why is this obvious cure for addiction never even considered by western society, let alone made available to the psychologically suffering on an ASAP basis? It's because of our anti-patient drug laws that are created and supported by the unholy trinity of puritanism, materialism, and law-and-order conservatism. Puritans mistrust ecstasy, materialists dislike emotions, and law-and-order conservatives assume that those who use psychedelics are mere hedonists - and worse yet, they are hedonists that can be counted on to vote for the other candidate in every election (which is little wonder, really, considering the conservative's brainless determination to rid the world of powerful non-addictive treatments for depression and addiction).

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is merely to advance a philosophical rationale for treating addiction with psychedelics. Any specific therapy of this kind would, of course, require the involvement of a qualified physician to determine the relevant kinds and doses of psychedelics to achieve the desired effect given the patient's history and the precise details of their addiction.

My Cure for Addiction (permalink)

May 18, 2019

The Philosophy of Getting High

The world has been so thoroughly bamboozled by Richard Nixon's jaundiced view of so-called "drugs" that it cannot begin to visualize anybody "getting high" for any but the most selfish and irresponsible of reasons. This is a shame, because the philosophical mindset of the Western world was chiefly established by folks who got high. In fact, these people not only got high, but they considered their moments of inebriation to be the best and (ironically) the most real moments of their lives. I'm speaking, of course, about the famous alumni of those long-running Eleusinian mysteries (circa 1600 b.c.e. to 392 c.e.), wherein a psychoactive substance (probably ergot) was used to put the participant in touch with immortality and the meaning of life.

Socrates' belief in forms, Aristotle's belief in catharsis, Plutarch's belief in an afterlife: these were not just armchair philosophies based on abstract premises: these were truths that were confirmed to the ancient Greeks and Romans upon drinking the psychedelic kykeon. The fact that we modern humans disdainfully refer to such profound experiences as "getting high" betrays our puritan distaste for improving our consciousness with the help of Mother Nature's bounty. This distaste might have originally been justified on religious grounds, perhaps under the assumption that such a psychedelic intervention was somehow an affront to the deity, but in these modern agnostic times, we have no such religious excuse for ignoring the therapeutic value of drug-induced ecstasy.

Unfortunately, our puritan biases are so ingrained that it took the disingenuous bluster of only one determined law-and-order politician, namely Richard Nixon, to revive our contempt for any pharmacologically altered state of consciousness. (Almost overnight, truth seekers became scumbags, should they attempt to fathom the world with the help of natural psychoactive substances.) And thus Richard Nixon forced us by law to "just say no" to almost 2,000 years' worth of compelling evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelic drugs, forcing the depressed wisdom seeker to rely instead on legal drugs that fogged the mind rather than illuminating it.

But then Nixon was not the first despot to tell us to "just say no" to drug-induced mental clarity and cosmological insight. The Eleusinian mysteries were shut down in 392 c.e., not because they were a long-running fad that had finally run its course, but because the Christian emperor Theodosius saw the popular mysteries as a challenge to Christian orthodoxy - more proof that the modern Drug War represents the establishment of a de facto religion, albeit a materialist religion that takes a dim view of Mother Nature and of its potential role in improving human consciousness.

The Philosophy of Getting High (permalink)

May 15, 2019

How Americans Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Drug War

It all started in 1914 when bigoted politicians decided that lower-class Americans could not be trusted to use opium wisely. Suddenly Mother Nature went from being a gift-giving goddess to a common drug kingpin. Enter Richard Nixon in the sixties, who decided to further blaspheme Mother Nature by criminalizing a host of additional psychoactive substances that happened to be used by his political enemies.

It's always disappointed me that Americans have thus far hobbled together so little pushback against this denial of a birthright, this outlawing of the freely given gifts of Mother Nature, this unprecedented coup against the therapeutic goddess of humanity. The government took away our right to control our own pain and to control our own psychic condition and Americans seem to have merely sighed, asking their government, "Okay, so you want me to give up my natural birthright? Fair enough. Oh, and you want me to urinate on command to prove that I am faithful to my government? No problemo. Gee, isn't democracy just swell?"

Nowadays, w