AbolishTheDEA.com May 16, 2021

How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine

by Ballard Quass

In the story "Tale of the Ragged Mountains," Edgar Allan Poe describes the astonishingly deep appreciation with which a morphine "habitue" named Augustus Bedloe was enabled to see the world around him during his morning walks in the forested mountains around Charlottesville, Virginia. We're told that the external world of this politically incorrect anti-hero was endowed "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.

Americans have been taught to shake their heads upon reading such a story and denounce Augustus Bedloe with the morally tinged epithet of "addict." But this is by no means the only sane reaction to the story. Personally, the story makes me envy Augustus Bedloe. I don't want to live my life seeing the natural world around me with bleary eyes: I want to appreciate it and understand it to the extent possible. I'm not saying that I would therefore choose to use morphine. In the absence of the Drug War, there would no doubt be plenty of less habit-forming alternatives that could be chosen to achieve the appreciation that I covet.

But I refuse to adopt the usual Drug Warrior reaction to this story, which turns it into a morality tale about addiction. The real bombshell for me is the story's revelation that there is at least one drug out there that can awaken such an enthusiasm for the natural world around us. Yet this is a lesson from the story that Americans cannot see, primed as they are by Drug War propaganda (both of omission and commission) to feel a Christian Science contempt for characters like Bedloe who avail themselves of psychoactive medicine -- especially when they do so without the blessing, or at least the reluctant toleration, of the medical industry.

As for Bedloe's habituation to morphine (what we would describe today moralistically as addiction), America has no leg to stand on in denouncing it. 1 in 4 American women are addicted to Big Pharma meds, yet this medical dystopia is completely ignored by Drug Warriors, proving that we simply do not consider addiction to be a problem per se. But if addiction is not a problem, then the real question becomes: is the substance upon which we're dependent something that is WORTH being dependent upon? As a 30-year veteran of the Big Pharma pill mill, I can tell you that the tranquilizing antidepressants of Big Pharma are most definitely not worth the lifelong dependency that they cause. And that even if they were, I would drop them in a heartbeat to accept an alternative that helped me to see Mother Nature through the eyes of Augustus Bedloe, an addiction that would be no more problematic than an addiction to SSRIs were the Drug War not in force to run interference between myself and a safe supply of my poison of choice.

In a sane America where we do not politically demonize substances, we would be excited about morphine's ability to stimulate an interest in the world around us. After learning of this godsend property, we would start asking questions that would power new research projects, such as: What other substances are out there, especially in the natural world, that can help us appreciate the world around us, and what are the safest protocols for using them. We would, of course, warn the world about the addictive potential of drugs like morphine (something that psychiatry failed to do when they introduced what turned out to be their extremely addictive SSRIs), but in a sane world, we would not limit our reaction to morphine to merely demonizing it. The fact that we do so is another indication that Americans live in a Christian Science theocracy where we're obliged to consider all criminalized substances as worthless, in spite of the contrary evidence that we see around us every day -- and of which we're reminded in stories written before that fatal day when American racists first started demonizing substances in order to remove minorities from the voting rolls.

Why do I care?

Because the Drug War has turned me into an eternal patient. By outlawing all the less-addictive psychoactive plant medicines of Mother Nature (including marijuana, the coca plant, the poppy, mushrooms, and a whole rainforest full of psychoactive medicine), the Drug Warrior has left a chronic depressive like myself with nothing but highly addictive Big Pharma meds to alter mood, and these medicines are expensive and have to be taken every day of my life. Worse yet, they are extremely demoralizing, since I have to travel 45 miles every three months of my life to visit a doctor who is, at most, only half my age in order to get his or her approval to keep taking an SNRI "medication" that the NMIH has determined to be harder to quit than heroin. They might as well give me a placard to wear which reads "eternal patients." Worse yet, these drugs neither inspire me, nor increase creativity, nor prod me toward self-fulfillment in life, as can the "drugs" described by Edgar Allan Poe. Instead, they numb me to disappointments and keep me feeling tranquilized.

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