May 25, 2020
End the Drug War Nowby Ballard Quass
an open letter to American Senators in Washington, D.C.
The following is an open letter to American Senators in the US Congress.
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.
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.