Essay date: March 29, 2020

The DEA's War on Alzheimer's Research

and how philosophers completely ignore the great philosophical problem of our times

how philosophers ignore the anti-scientific role of the drug war in stifling scientific research, preferring to focus on problems like, 'do we really exist?' or 'is truth passe?'

unny 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

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

Next essay: How the Drug War Punishes the Elderly
Previous essay: The Educational Use of Psychoactive Plants

More Essays Here

A Misguided Tour of Jefferson's Monticello

Calling Doctor Scumbag

A Dope Conversation about Drugs

COPS presents the top 10 traffic stops of 2023

PSA about Deadly Aspirin

PSA about Deadly Roller Coasters

PSA about the Deadly Grand Canyon

PSA about Deadly Horses

essays about

A Goliath that even David is afraid of
Rat Out Your Neighbors
Twelve Reasons why the DEA should be abolished
The Dark Side of the Monticello Foundation
Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA
Defund the DEA
The DEA: Poisoning Americans since 1973
How the DEA determines if a religion is true
Put the DEA on Trial
Running with the DEA -- er, I mean the Devil
Torture 101 at DEA University
DEA Guilty of Crimes Against Humanity
Mycologists as DEA Collaborators
Running with the torture loving DEA
The DEA Scheduling System is Based on Lies
Drug War Bait and Switch
COPS: TV Show for Racist Drug Warriors
My conversation with the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
A Misguided Tour of Monticello
How the Jefferson Foundation Betrayed Thomas Jefferson


(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").

(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)

In short, the drug war causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.

PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at