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Depressed? Here's why you can't get the medicines that you need

how the FDA's drug approval process is based on big-money politics and the drug war ideology of substance demonization

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 21, 2022

An open letter to Roland Griffiths, Professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dear Professor Griffiths:

As a 64-year-old depressive who could benefit from MDMA use, I am frustrated by the FDA's hypocritical and unscientific standard for approving psychoactive drugs. They seem to think that one study that cites potential long-term negative effects can block approval, as if the only stakeholders in the approval game were juvenile delinquents who might misuse the drug. What about the millions of Americans living lives of what Thoreau called "quiet despair"? What about the thousands of American soldiers who have gone for the last four decades without a godsend therapy for PTSD? What about the thousands of kids in South America who have lost parents to our Drug War or the kids killed in our inner cities due to the violence that Prohibition creates out of whole cloth? Why are the only stakeholders considered to be white American sons and daughters who have to be saved from their own ignorance, an ignorance that we support by teaching them to fear psychoactive substances rather than to understand them?

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

In fact, the use of MDMA has been MORE than safe, historically speaking; it has been BENEFICIAL too. Yes, beneficial. It has resulted in a literally unprecedented world in which everybody got along. As one British rave-scene DJ said: "It was black and white, Asian, Chinese, all up in one building." But, of course, that's of no concern to the FDA. They never consider the "up" sides of psychoactive drugs because Drug War ideology tells them that there can be no "up" sides to "drug use." The Drug War is far more important than mere peace, love and understanding, apparently. Meanwhile, questions like these are never asked in the FDA drug approval process: "How many suicides might the use of this drug prevent? How many cases of road rage? How many school shootings? How many users might cut back on cigarettes and alcohol, or else never start using them in the first place?"

Okay, let's grant that the long-term and excessive use of MDMA may be problematic, though folks like Rick Doblin and Charles Wininger disagree: why not publicize that fact rather than using it as an excuse to block use by anyone, ever, at any time, for any reason? But let's not be hypocritical. If overuse of alcohol and anti-depressants results in downsides, then let's be sure to trumpet those as well, if only to keep young people from cynically rejecting all government warnings based on the FDA's obvious hypocrisy in singling out MDMA for such criticism.

This go-slow approach to drug approval (more accurately called a "go-glacial approach") has now kept me from accessing plant medicine for my entire life. Moreover, it is glaringly political in nature. Although it has been used safely for generations now, MDMA is criminalized based on a mere thread of potentially negative evidence; meanwhile 1 in 4 American women are chemically dependent upon Big Pharma meds for life, most of which were never intended for long-term use, and the FDA has no problem with that whatsoever. In fact, thousands of these "patients for life" are screaming bloody murder on the Internet about the downsides of SSRI withdrawal, which are far from theoretical in nature: brain zaps, dizziness, foggy thinking, etc. And yet anti-depressants remain the go-to drug for depression and other mood disorders, and those who fail to respond to them, we're told, just have to find the right brand name. In other words, the drugs themselves are supposedly beyond reproach. The problems, if any arise, are blamed on the user's finicky response to them.

The whole system reeks of politicization, big money, and double standards.

And now scientists like Dr. Robert Glatter are holding laughing gas to the same absurd standard, a standard that is never applied to Big Pharma drugs.

BUMPER STICK: Just say no to addictive psychotherapy

Anti-depressants weren't meant to be taken for life. Only when Big Pharma learned they were addictive did psychiatrists tell us to stay on our meds FOREVER.

Instead of telling the millions of depressed how to use laughing gas safely, the FDA assumes that the only stakeholders in the approval process are juvenile delinquents who cannot be educated, and so they slam on the brakes of legalization, ignoring the many invisible stakeholders who must pay the price for their purblind analysis: folks like myself, who have spent their entire life without godsend psychoactive medicines, all because the FDA has a hypocritical and money-driven approach to approving drugs. And so laughing gas, a drug whose use inspired the ontology of William James, is placed off-limits, not just for the depressed but for the philosopher and truth seeker as well.

Thank you for your time. As you continue your work with drugs like MDMA, I urge you to speak up on behalf of folks like myself, one of the millions of forgotten stakeholders in America's corrupt and biased drug-approval process. For I fear that many who watch your interviews get the impression that the FDA is moving slowly but wisely toward legalizing drugs like MDMA -- whereas the FDA's drug-approval decisions are clearly based on politics and a variety of false assumptions inspired by the drug-war ideology of substance demonization.

Related tweet: January 13, 2023

The use of laughing gas changed William James' ideas about the very nature of reality. To outlaw such substances is to outlaw human advancement.

Next essay: News Flash: Drug Use Can Be a Good Thing!
Previous essay: The Michael Pollan Fallacy

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

If NIDA covered all drugs (not just politically ostracized drugs), they'd produce articles like this: "Aspirin continues to kill hundreds." "Penicillin misuse approaching crisis levels." "More bad news about Tylenol and liver damage." "Study revives cancer fears from caffeine."
The Partnership for a Death Free America is launching a campaign to celebrate the 50th year of Richard Nixon's War on Drugs. We need to give credit where credit's due for the mass arrest of minorities, the inner city gun violence and the civil wars that it's generated overseas.
Until we get rid of all these obstacles to safe and informed use, it's presumptuous to explain problematic drug use with theories about addiction. Drug warriors are rigging the deck in favor of problematic use. They refuse to even TEACH non-problematic use.
Amphetamines are "meds" when they help kids think more clearly but they are "drugs" when they help adults think more clearly. That shows you just how bewildered Americans are when it comes to drugs.
Of course, prohibitionists will immediately remind me that we're all children when it comes to drugs, and can never -- but never -- use them wisely. That's like saying that we could never ride horses wisely. Or mountain climb. Or skateboard.
Materialist scientists are drug war collaborators. They are more than happy to have their fight against idealism rigged by drug law, which outlaws precisely those substances whose use serves to cast their materialism into question.
In 1886, coca enthusiast JJ Tschudi referred to prohibitionists as 'kickers.' He wrote: "If we were to listen to these kickers, most of us would die of hunger, for the reason that nearly everything we eat or drink has fallen under their ban."
I could tell my psychiatrist EXACTLY what would "cure" my depression, even without getting addicted, but everything involved is illegal. It has to be. Otherwise I would have no need of the psychiatrist.
And where did politicians get the idea that irresponsible white American young people are the only stakeholders when it comes to the question of re-legalizing drugs??? There are hundreds of millions of other stakeholders: philosophers, pain patients, the depressed.
Don't the Oregon prohibitionists realize that all the thousands of deaths from opiates is so much blood on their hands? Prohibitionists, j'accuse!
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You have been reading an article entitled, Depressed? Here's why you can't get the medicines that you need: how the FDA's drug approval process is based on big-money politics and the drug war ideology of substance demonization, published on December 21, 2022 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)