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America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 6, 2020

lcohol can kill tens of thousands of Americans a year and we consider it a bargain price to pay for a little harmless fun. But if a demonized psychoactive plant from Mother Nature is merely REPORTED as being somehow related to one single solitary death -- one single solitary death -- the Drug Warrior considers it to be a knock-down argument that the plant medicine in question should be made unavailable, not just to Americans but to everyone around the world, including drug researchers studying Alzheimer's, and that we should even send our army overseas to burn those plants, no matter how many millennia they may have been used responsibly by other cultures.

That's why enemies of the Drug War should think twice before turning the regulation of plant medicine over to the healthcare state. The system is hypocritically rigged to pillory therapeutic plant medicine for statistical trifles while it gladly lets non-therapeutic drugs like alcohol and cigarettes ravage the population at will. That's why Americans are depressed in record numbers. Because we're determined to ban the effective drugs over trifles while ignoring the enormities perpetrated by our go-to drugs of alcohol and tobacco.

Author's Follow-up: September 20, 2022

There's another reason why science and the healthcare state should only play a peripheral role when it comes to psychoactive medicine. That's because, when it comes to such nostrums, the user is often looking for self-transcendence and an ability to maximize one's potential, as the coca leaf provides the endurance and opium, the creativity, to allow one to succeed in life. In other words, use of such substances is often an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to achieve self-actualization in life. For many of us, that is the prime directive. If we were stereotypical robots, we would be walking around saying: "Must have a meaningful life," whereas the robots of the medical tribe would be saying something quite different, namely: "Must maximize safety."

Wrong. That makes enough sense in the realm of physical medicine, but it is a purblind maxim when it comes to psychoactive substances. Yes, safety is a consideration when it comes to using psychoactive medicine, so give me all the facts about actual use -- including the subjective reports of actual users -- but at the end of the day, as the Brits would have it, I would rather live a potentially shorter life in which I am achieving my goals than become a centenarian purely for the satisfaction of chart-wielding doctors.

Of course, historians like Paul Johnson ("The Birth of the Modern") cherry-pick a few cases of opium misuse (as in the case of the drug-friendly but hypocritical Samuel Taylor Coleridge) to conclude that drugs like opium probably do not help creativity -- but Johnson makes the usual mistake of expecting such drugs to act like aspirin. Just as we take an aspirin to ease a headache, we should, he feels, be able to take opium to improve creativity. Otherwise, the drug does not "work." But the efficacy of psychoactive drugs involves a great host of contextual and psychological factors that Johnson ignores. They are not one-size-fits all drugs. The question is not whether opium, say, increases creativity in general, but whether it improves creativity in the case of a given person of a given history with a given desire for a given outcome using a given dose at a given frequency in a given situation. It seems to have worked in these ways for Marcus Aurelius and Benjamin Franklin, not to mention Poe and Lovecraft, the latter's work in particular being full of unapologetic opiate imagery.

Johnson goes on to spitefully GUESS that Franklin "probably" became an addict in his old age, but it's not quite clear why even this should be problematic, unless we want to subject opium use to a moral scrutiny that we never apply to Big Pharma meds, let alone to the coffee that Johnson no doubt drank every day of his adult life, or the alcohol that he imbibed, etc. One wonders what uncharitable future historian will look back on Johnson's life and self-righteously conclude that "he was probably addicted to alcohol."

Those of us who have friends and family that smoke are used to said individuals suddenly disappearing from parties and such. We're originally like, "Where is so-and-so?" until the penny finally drops, and we realize that said person has gone outside for a smoke. If we're going to get on high horses about potentially useful drugs like opium, then by rights we should be indignant about smokers. But again, the Drug War is political, and so we only invoke moral disdain when it suits us for non-health-related reasons.

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You have been reading an article entitled, America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine published on December 6, 2020 on For more information about America's disgraceful drug war, which is anti-patient, anti-minority, anti-scientific, anti-mother nature, imperialistic, the establishment of the Christian Science religion, a violation of the natural law upon which America was founded, and a childish and counterproductive way of looking at the world, one which causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, visit the drug war philosopher, at (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)