bird icon for twitter

Another Academic Toes the Drug Warrior Line

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

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 15, 2021

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.

Next essay: Open letter to Professor Troy Glover at Waterloo University
Previous essay: Self-help nonsense in the age of the Drug War

More Essays Here


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.
Many articles in science mags need this disclaimer: "Author has declined to consider the insights gained from drug-induced states on this topic out of fealty to Christian Science orthodoxy." They don't do this because they know readers already assume that drugs will be ignored.

essays about

Unscientific American
How the Atlantic Supports the Drug War Part II
There is a Specter Haunting Science
Open Letter to Lisa Ling
The Problem with Following the Science
Why Americans Can't Handle the Truth about Drugs
Self-Censorship in the Age of the Drug War
Science News Continues to Ignore the Drug War
When Drug Warriors cry 'Censorship!'

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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

You have been reading an article entitled, Another Academic Toes the Drug Warrior Line: in response to the paper entitled LSD, Ecstasy and the Music of Politics by AV Satish Chandra, published on April 15, 2021 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)