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.
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at email@example.com. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.