Essay date: April 15, 2021

Another Academic Toes the Drug Warrior Line

in response to the paper entitled LSD, Ecstasy and the Music of Politics by AV Satish Chandra

Enumerating the drug war fallacies to which Satish falls prey in his paper at entitled

ritten in response to the paper "LSD, Ecstasy and the Music of Politics," by AV Satish Chandra at

Dear Satish:

The Drug War represents a substance demonization campaign that is unprecedented in human history. Yet you write as if LSD and Ecstasy can be judged to be evil merely if they cause one single problem. That's the odd standard that folks hold for psychoactive substances of which politicians disapprove. If alcohol, tobacco (or even coffee or aspirin) were held to that standard, all three would be immediately outlawed.

The fact is that LSD was successfully treating alcoholics in the 1950s, before President Richard Nixon outlawed it, NOT in order to improve public health but in order to charge his political enemies with felonies and thereby remove them from the voting rolls.

The 1990s Rave Scene in England represented the first time that groups of every race and color came together peacefully on the dance floor. It should have been seen as a way forward for world peace and a way to escape nuclear Armageddon. (Pakistan and North Korea have "the bomb," as will Iran. Does anyone really think that anything but a major inner change in human hearts is going to prevent eventual wholesale catastrophes?)

And yet the Drug Warriors hated that peaceful scene because it was induced by a substance that politicians had chosen to demonize. The fact is that MDMA is a godsend for depression and could be used to end gun massacres because it brings out a love for humanity and one's fellow creature. It has been shown to help soldiers with PTSD when nothing else works.

But Drug Warriors don't care. They'd rather have the ravers using aggression-inducing drugs like alcohol.

When they cracked down on Ecstasy, the dance scene became so violent that special forces troops were called in to keep the peace. Special Forces!

I invite you to read my article entitled: "How the Drug War Killed Leah Betts and ended the peaceful rave scene."

I ask you, Satish: Which sounds like the best way forward to you : a world in which all plants are legal and are evaluated without bias for their actual beneficial uses -- or a world in which botanically clueless politicians decide in advance which plant substances are bad and forbid science from even studying them after that -- and even send armies overseas to eradicate the hated substances from the face of the earth? Which system sounds more grown-up to you?

Benjamin Franklin enjoyed opium. Sigmund Freud thought cocaine was a godsend for his depression. Francis Crick discovered the DNA helix with the help of generous amounts of psychedelics. Thomas Jefferson rolled over in his grave when Drug Warriors confiscated his poppy plants.

If you want to see what the Drug War has accomplished, look at America's crowded prisons and the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines and the civil war in Mexico.

So, please, reconsider the Drug Warrior habit of demonizing a substance merely because it is susceptible of misuse by a teenager. Whole religions have been founded based on the psychoactive power of plants. Don't let politicians demonize plant medicine -- let's be rational and praise substances that conduce to world peace, rather than dogmatically implying that they are evil. That's the judgment of racist politicians, not science -- and it is ahistorical, since time out of mind, the substances that we banish have been used to enhance creativity and increase religiosity.

June 14, 2022

Almost all academic papers about the politically created category of "drugs" have to do with misuse, abuse and addiction. This is really a kind of Drug War propaganda in and of itself, because the collective effect of these papers is to give the layperson the impression that psychoactive substances are pure evil the moment that they have been outlawed by pharmacologically clueless politicians. In a sane world, we'd have articles that talked about morphine's ability to give the properly educated user an intense appreciation of mother nature, a la the morphine-fueled delights of amateur naturalist Augustus Bedloe in Poe's short story entitled "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains." We'd find articles about the ability of pedagogically employed psilocybin to heighten musical appreciation, and the power of coca to aid in focus on a wide variety of computational tasks, including everything from proofreading to creating crosswords -- or, as Jules Verne and HG Wells knew, to increase our ability to focus long enough to write coherent and powerful short stories.

Instead, researchers just crank out paper after paper about the abuse and misuse of psychoactive substances, in lockstep with the Drug Warrior lie that such demonized substances can be used for nothing but hedonistic and immoral purposes. For the Drug War ideology insists that we assume, a priori, that demonized plant medicines have no legitimate uses whatsoever, a glaring falsehood that has fried the brains of not just the public, but of American psychologists and scientists as well, almost all of whom find it more than their jobs are worth to push back against the know-nothing mendacity of the Drug War.

For more information on how academics (even many of those who denounce drug prohibition) are getting it wrong when it comes to the Drug War, check out "The Problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts."

October 2, 2022

It's strange that Satish Chandra is blasting psychoactive medicines for statistical trifles given the fact that the Vedic-Hindu religion itself was inspired by psychedelic medicine. But it's also not surprising since it's US government policy to ignore all beneficial uses of psychoactive plant medicine. Just look at the original charter of Joe Biden's Office of National Drug Control Policy, and you find a proviso which forbids government employees from even discussing potential positive uses of "drugs" -- i.e., those medicinal godsends from Mother Nature which botanically and historically clueless politicians have decided to outlaw.

The Mayans considered 'magic mushrooms' divine, the Inca had the same idea about the coca plant. And Plato's view of the afterlife was inspired by the psychedelic fueled Eleusinian Mysteries, and yet so-called 'scientific' America has taught the world to demonize all such substances and to turn the hypocritically defined category of "drugs" into an all-purpose scapegoat for social problems. That's a conscious move by conservatives who are determined to keep America's eye OFF the prize, so that Americans are too busy being arrested and drug-tested to demand social policies that the skin-flint 3% do not wish to help pay for.

It's hard to overstate how huge of a scandal this is. There is a prima facie case for using drugs like psilocybin, LSD and MDMA to treat Alzheimer's and autism sufferers, given the fact that said substances have been shown to create new neuronal connections and even grow new neurons in the brain. Yet our government demands that we ignore such obvious approaches to treating these modern-day scourges, because they believe that substances called "drugs" can have no good uses for anyone, anywhere, ever: an idea that would be laughable were it not productive of so much unnecessary suffering in the world.

And to their shame, scientists are willing to play ball. That's why you never see an academic paper on treating Alzheimer's or autism in which the researcher is honest with the reader and publishes a disclaimer saying that the solutions that they can entertain are limited by the US government and its laws against almost every powerful psychoactive medicine in the world. And that's, of course, another reason for the Drug War's staying power, i.e., the fact that American researchers pretend as if the Drug War does not exist, that they are working from a natural baseline when fighting mental problems, which is absolutely false.

October 24, 2022

Of course, we have scarcely touched on the injustice of the Drug War. As if censoring science, warehousing minorities, killing blacks, denying morphine to dying children, and Nazifying the English language were not enough, the Drug War is busy making Latin America safe for capitalism by fostering right-wing corruption at every level of government.

Paley, Dawn. "Drug War Capitalism." AK Press. October 20, 2014.

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


By reading "Drug Warriors and Their Prey," I begin to understand why I encounter a wall of silence when I write to authors and professors on the subject of "drugs." The mere fact that the drug war inspires such self-censorship should be grounds for its immediate termination.
Next essay: Open letter to Professor Troy Glover at Waterloo University
Previous essay: Self-help nonsense in the age of the Drug War

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(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