bird icon for twitter

Drug War Quotes

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

October 24, 2022

tay tuned for MORE Drug War quotes!

add quotes

Bandow, Doug

From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs

Some addicts steal to fund their habits, but that ofen reflects high prices resulting from prohibition. Most of the crimes atributed to cocaine and even crack result from turning drugs over to an illegal market.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, drug use should be treated as a protected liberty.

Barrett, Damon

Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People

In more than 150 countries around the world, access to morphine is virtually nonexistent, in part due to excessively strict drug control regulations.

Bilton, Anton

DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule

There's something that happens with ayahuasca in that you get reverse tolerance. The more you drink, the less you need. I have seen shamans who just smell it, it's enough for them to be able to sing.

Boullosa , Carmen

A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'

The very term 'Mexican Drug War' is profoundly misleading, as it diverts attention from the American role in its creation... But we believe the term to be a misnomer, as the complex phenomena to which it refers were jointly constructed by Mexico and the United States over the last hundred years.

The proscription of narcotics in 1914 (which, unlike the ban on alcohol, was never repealed) spawned a drug- trafficking industry in Mexico, the enormous profits from which were used to corrupt Mexican politicians and law enforcement.

As David Musto notes, it was not fear of drugs per se that drove the prohibitionists, so much as fear of the social groups who used them.

Seeking to stave off plans to fold the [the Federal Bureau of Narcotics] into a larger body, Anslinger gathered up news stories about marijuana's ability to drive men to violence and madness, and deployed them as evidence that it was an extremely dangerous drug, requiring oversight by an independent federal authority.

This complicated system [the "French connection"] had been set in place back in 1947, as Alfred McCoy has demonstrated, courtesy of the youthful CIA, which had backed Corsican gangsters against the French Communist Party in their battle to control the Marseille docks.

The feds, too, were wracked by corruption. As Douglas Valentine shows, Anslinger's Federal Bureau of Narcotics was honeycombed with it. This was a state of affairs from which he averted his eyes until his retirement in 1962, only to have it blow up in a 1968 investigation, which demonstrated that the bureau was itself a major source of supply and protection of heroin.

In a parallel to events in Mexico, the regional office of the BNDD achieved a symbiosis with local Mafiosi, accepting regular bribes to arrest only those dealers nominated by syndicate, which allowed federal agents to accumulate impressive arrest records and rapid promotion, while eliminating unwanted competitors for the mob.

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

If the objection to opium on the part of the Chinese is so strong, it is rather remarkable that they should not only greedily purchase all the Indian opium we can send them, but cultivate the drug to an enormous extent in their own country.

I have daily had in my office Chinese of all classes, seeing them, speaking to them, interrogating them upon different subjects, and I have never found amongst them anyof these miserable victims to opium smoking. On the contrary, more acute, knowing, and intelligent people than these very opium smokers I have rarely met with.

My opinion of it is that it [opium smoking] may become a habit, but that that habit is not necessarily an increasing one. Nine out of twelve men smoke a certain number of pipes a day, just as a tobacco smoker would, or as a wine or beer drinker might drink his two or three glasses a day, without desiring more. - Dr. Ayers.

Many people in this country, I dare say, owing to the false and exaggerated stories which have been disseminated by the advocates of the Anti-Opium Society, think that if they went to Hong Kong they would see swarms of wretched creatures, wan and wasted, leaning upon crutches, the victims of opium smoking. If they went to the colony they would be greatly disappointed, for no such people are to be met with.

The Anti-Opium Society... has been got up to carry out the opinions of a few individuals, most respectable, I admit, but at the same time most enthusiastic-- I may say, indeed, fanatical-- holding views the most incorrect and delusive upon a subject with which they are most imperfectly acquainted.

All these anti-opium articles, speeches, and resolutions are based upon the same model. They assume certain statements as existing and acknowledged facts which have never been proved to be such, and then proceed to draw deductions from those alleged facts.

Burns, Eric

1920: The year that made the decade roar

It is reported to me that the Anheuser-Busch Company and some of the Milwaukee companies are largely controlled by alien Germans (Prohibition activist Wayne Wheeler of the Anti-Saloon League, writing to Attorney General Palmer)

A strong case can be made for viewing the Anti-Saloon League as the death knell for majority rule in the United States, the end of the sovereignty of the people and the transfer of political power to passionately committed special- interest groups who began to sow both money and intimidation throughout the halls of government to achieve their ends.

New York speakeasy owners now paid more than $50 million every year from 1920 in graft to policemen and prohibition agents. (Historian Sean Dennis Cashman)

Most of the profits created by illegal alcohol went to organized crime, which filled the void previously occupied by legitimate businessmen, brewers, vintners, and distillers.

Prohibition turned organized crime into a growth industry; it was the greatest boon ever to the business of wrongdoing,

'Nothing like it had ever happened before,' he writes (Historian Mike Dash). 'An entire American industry-- one of the most important in the country had been gifted by the government to gangsters.'

The Eighteenth Amendment would soon result in a far greater problem than price and availability. It would become, in effect, a means of legally sanctioned chemical warfare against the poor. Sometimes even the rich.

It was the ultimate tragedy of the ultimate in legalized folly (i.e., the death from impure liquor concoctions)

The number of arrests for drunkenness and disorderly conduct in the United States during Prohibition increased 41 percent compared to figures before January 16, 1920.

The number of arrests for drunken driving went up 81 percent (during Prohibition).

The population of federal prisons was up an unprecedented 366 percent and included, among others, both customers and vendors of alcoholic beverages (during Prohibition).

Federal expenditures on penal institutions of all sorts soared a thousand percent!

'Some of [the bootleggers] jokingly referred to the booze they manufactured for the low- end market as 'rotgut.' But it was not a joke: it was an accurate description of the effect of the bottle's contents.'

Regarding industrial alcohol: [The Anti-Saloon League], fearful of its misuse, insisted that industrial alcohol be made into an even more deadly compound by requiring that manufacturers add methanol, or wood alcohol, to it.

That the people who drank industrial alcohol, unaware they were doing so, would also be unaware of the addition of methanol seems not to have occurred to Wheeler and his fellow moralists. With a mantle of rectitude draped over his con- science and worn as proudly as a minister's raiments, Wheeler was as indifferent to the life or death of his fellow man as were the crooks who catered to their thirsts.

'The person who drinks this industrial alcohol is a deliberate suicide,' Wheeler declared, and to one who might have pointed out that a person didn't know he was drinking industrial alcohol, Wheeler would have been unmoved.

[Bootleggers] might have to resort to rubbing alcohol, engine fuels, brake fluids, kerosene, nicotine, shellac, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, camphor, chloral hydrate, benzol, ether, and even perfume and hair tonic as bases-- it made no difference. All were gut-rotters to one extent or another. They might even add antifreeze to their product.

The undiscerning in Kansas City, Missouri, ingested Sweet Whiskey, a wholesome name but 'a distillation of alcohol combined with nitric and sulfuric acids that soon destroyed the kidneys.'

During a single four-day period in 1928, thirty-four people died in New York City from placing orders for Coroner's Cocktails. Just four days. Just Manhattan. Just wood alcohol.

'There is less drinking,' Churchill quoted his friend as saying, 'but there is worse drinking.'

Carpenter, Ted Galen

The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America

in August 2010 former president Vicente Fox stunned both Mexican and U.S. political leaders by advocating an end to the drug war. In a post on his personal blog, Fox called for a rapid end to the military's domestic anti-drug operations. He asserted that the rampant violence was undermining the government's legitimacy.

Chesterton, GK

Saint Thomas Acquinas

That 'God looks on all things and saw that they were good' contains a subtlety which the popular pessimist cannot follow... it is the thesis that there are no bad things but only bad uses of things.

Filan, Kenaz

The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally

When his colleagues recommended [physician Avicenna] to slow down, he reportedly said, 'I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length.'

Understanding the allure of opiates requires far more than a simple knowledge of biology and chemistry. We must learn what they mean to Western culture and what they have meant to others.

Friedman, Milton

Wall Street Journal

Had drugs been decriminalized seventeen years ago, crack would never have been invented. It was invented because the high cost of illegal drugs made it profitable to provide a cheaper version. --Sept. 7, 1989, WSJ

Griffiths, William

Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms

Mushrooms have also been used for thousands of years by the people of Mesoamerica ritually. The Aztecs called it the "flesh of the gods," mushrooms have been widely eaten by cultures throughout the Americas in religious ceremonies. Cave paintings in Spain and Algeria reveal ritualized consumption from 9000 years ago.

There are more than 200 different types of mushrooms on our planet which are "magic." "Magic" refers to the fact that these surprising mushroom types (also called psilocybin mushrooms, shrooms), if eaten or brewed like a tea in the right quantity, can temporarily change your perception, vision and sensations.

James, William

The Varieties of Religious Experience

No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded. How to regard them is the question--for they are so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness.

Mortimer MD, W. Golden

Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas

When used to excess, it is like everything else, prejudicial to the health, yet of all the narcotics used by man Coca is the least injurious and the most soothing and invigorating. -Clements Markham.

It is said that for years His Holiness (Pope Leo XIII) has been supported in his ascetic retirement by a preparation of Mariani's Coca, of which a flask constantly worn is, like the widow’s cruse, never empty.

The chewing of Coca not only removes extreme fatigue, but prevents it. Hunger and thirst are suspended, but eventually appetite and digestion are unaffected. No injury whatever is sustained at the time or subsequently in occasional trials.

These were cases of simple neurasthenia, which appropriate hygienic measures, combined with the administration of Coca remedy, which the homoeopaths have long associated as a specific in cases of timidity and bashfulness-- completely cured.

Linnaeus considered that a medicine differed from a poison not so much in its nature as in its dose.

To this has been added a modern confusion through confounding stimulants with intoxicants, which is erroneous in fact. Quickly digested food is a stimulant, a cup of hot water slowly sipped may be a stimulant, and these or any substance which increases natural action-- which is the true definition of stimulant-- will not necessarily be followed by a period of depression corresponding to the previous sense of well being.

Paley, Dawn

Drug War Capitalism

In Guatemala and Honduras, entire villages have been labeled 'narco-communities' as if to justify mass displacement.

Between 1980 and 2005, the number of people in US prisons and jails on drug charges increased by 1,100 percent (according to writer John Gibler).

(According to Gordon Liddy) Operation Intercept... (a '60s project to prevent marijuana from reaching the US via Mexico) was an exercise in international extortion, pure, simple, and effective, designed to bend Mexico to our will.

Massacres linked to drug trafficking have shaken Guatemala in recent years, and in 2011, Honduras had the highest murder rate in the world.

Molly Molloy, a librarian at New Mexico State University, affirms that since December 2006 (to 2014), over 153,000 people have been murdered in Mexico.

Shulgin, Alexander

PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story

Our generation is the first, ever, to have made the search for self-awareness a crime, if it is done with the use of plants or chemical compounds as the means of opening the psychic doors.

To many people, psychedelic drugs are simply another form of entertainment; nothing profound is looked for, thus usually nothing profound is experienced.

It should be noted that nobody remarked on such drug use (of marijuana) by black people until their new music, which they called jazz, began to attract the attention of whites

(on Mescaline) This world was also marvelous in its detail. I could see the intimate structure of a bee putting something into a sack on its hind leg to take to its hive, yet I was completely at peace with the bee's closeness to my face. The world was a wonder of interpretive insight. I saw people as caricatures which revealed both their pains and their hopes, and they seemed not to mind my seeing them this way.

MDMA is the penicillin of the soul.

Shulgin, Alexander

The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact

(regarding the use of psilocybin for the dying) What a horrible thing that is to have the law and the medical system tell you what kind of care you can have or not have. People should be able to make a living world where you can decide how you want your parting, legal and certified, so your family can have the method of combatting that system, so you can die how you want.

These four drugs constitute the four most broadly used psychotropic drugs in the world [tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, betel nut].... In a world of about six billion you're talking about one out of six having used one of these drugs.

What the hell is hard and soft about a narcotic? I mean, if you scrunch it in your hands or it grits between the teeth, it's hard? And if it flows, it's soft? I frankly do not know what a person means when they say they were hooked on hard narcotics.

The American philosopher Denis Donoghue stated it exactly: "To choose vice is better than having virtue chosen for you."

Tobacco was actually outlawed in several countries and, for short periods of time, had a death penalty associated with its use. The concept of smoking was not in the Bible and was absolutely contrary to any teaching.

If it has this or this or this action, and it is intended for humans, it is a crime, a felony, to have that drug unless it has been approved by the FDA, which, in essence, puts the FDA in the position of approving all human research [regarding the Designer Drug Act of 1986].

Smith, Wolfgang

Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief

It is indeed a remarkable irony that the basic premise of modern materialism should initially have been founded upon theology! (i.e., Descartes' notion that God is veracious)

Smith, Wolfgang

Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology

The worst metaphysics is generally to be found among those who claim not to have any at all.

A worldview based upon physics is bound, therefore, to exclude the "qualitative dimension" of the cosmos -- not because it is not there -- but because this science is categorically incapable of grasping that dimension, that aspect of the world.

Our very conception of "science"-- of rationality almost-- entails the reduction of wholes to an assembly of parts. One might say that the implicit denial of irreducible wholeness has virtually become for us a mark of enlightenment.

Szasz, Thomas

Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers

Society's prevailing view is that being medicated by a doctor is drug use, while self-medication is drug abuse. This justification rests on the principle of professionalism, not on pharmacology. [This] concept of drug abuse symbolizes scientific medicine's fundamental policy that laymen should place their care under the supervision of a physician. This is similar to the belief, prior to the Reformation, that laymen should not communicate directly with God but should place their spiritual care under the supervision of a duly accredited priest. The self-interest of the church and of medicine in such policies are obvious. These policies also relieve individuals of the burden of responsibility for themselves.

Szasz, Thomas

Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt

The psychiatric profession lives off the fact that only physicians can prescribe drugs, and the government has made most drugs that people want prescription drugs.

[Kids are] poisoned in schools with the illegal street drug called speed, which, when called Ritalin, is a miracle cure for them.

The only arbiter of what ails a person 'mentally' and what makes him feel or function better, as he defines better, is the patient.

Isn't it interesting, and troubling, that most people who go to jail for drug abuse, or drug selling, are black and minority, and those that have the license to prescribe are often non-minority, and they get to be heroes in society for essentially selling what is sometimes the same merchandise.

This tendency to call more and more human problems diseases and then try to remedy them, or attack them, as if they were diseases is what I call the therapeutic state.

Wedel, Janine

Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class

Seventy-five percent of NAMI's [the National Alliance for Mental Illness] funding over a two-year period came from the drug industry.

Weil, Andrew

From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs

South American Indians who chew coca leaves ordinarily swallow low doses of cocaine and do not become abusers of that stimulant.

During the Vietnam War many American soldiers got into the habit of smoking large amounts of the high-grade heroin that was cheap and easily available to them in Southeast Asia.... Pharmacologists predicted that most of these soldiers would become heroin addicts, but in fact most stopped using opiates as soon as they came home.

There are no good or bad drugs; there are only good and bad relationships with drugs.

Johann Sebastian Bach is rumored to have been a coffee addict. He extolled the virtues of the new drink in his famous Coffee Cantata.

The pharmaceutical industry has tried hard to convince doctors and patients that these chemicals are revolutionary drugs that specifically reduce anxiety, making people calm and relaxed. In fact, the benzodiazepines are just another variation on the theme of alcohol and other sedative-hypnotics, with the same tendency to produce adverse effects and dependence.

The American-led war against the cocaine trade has caused incalculable social, political, economic, and ecological devastation in the producing countries of South America.

Nicotine is so strong and dangerous that the body quickly develops tolerance for it to protect itself. If someone begins smoking regularly, tolerance for the poisonous effects of nicotine develops in a matter of hours (as compared to days or weeks for heroin and months for alcohol).

Although the Chinese had used opium for centuries, widespread opium addiction did not occur in China until the early 1700s, when Portuguese sailors introduced the practice of mixing it with tobacco and smoking it.

Given by injection, [opium] is a far more powerful and dangerous drug than when taken by mouth. Injection of drugs is relatively recent, dating only to the invention of the hypodermic syringe in 1853. Interestingly, the world's first morphine addict was the wife of the man who came up with that device.

Heroin addicts occasionally die of overdoses, but such deaths result from poor quality control in street supplies of the drug rather than from the properties of heroin itself.

Cravings for opiates are no different from cravings for alcohol among alcoholics, and they are less strong than cravings for cigarettes, because nicotine is a more addictive drug.

By making heroin illegal, a society ensures that its heroin addicts will all be criminals. It is clear that drug laws have done nothing to discourage people from becoming addicts. There are more addicts than ever, and the kinds of addiction are worse than before those laws were passed.

Next essay: The Problem with Following the Science
Previous essay: Kevin Sabet and Drug War 2.0

More Essays Here


The book "Plants of the Gods" is full of plants and fungi that could help addicts and alcoholics, sometimes in the plant's existing form, sometimes in combinations, sometimes via extracting alkaloids, etc. But drug warriors need addiction to sell their prohibition ideology.

essays about

'Good Chemistry' is a good Covid read
'Intoxiphobia' by Russell Newcombe
Fifty Years of Bogus Articles about Creativity
In Praise of Augustus Bedloe
In Praise of Thomas Szasz
In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors
Michael Pollan and the Drug War
Michael Pollan on Drugs
My Conversation with Michael Pollan
Richard Feynman and the Drug War
Richard Rudgley condemns 'drugs' with faint praise
Science Fiction and the Drug War
Sherlock Holmes versus Gabriel Maté
How the Cato Institute is Bamboozled by Drug War Propaganda
The End Times by Bryan Walsh
What Terence McKenna Got Wrong About Drugs
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
Synthetic Panics
Clodhoppers on Drugs
The Drug War Imperialism of Richard Evans Schultes
What Jim Hogshire Got Wrong about Drugs
Noam Chomsky on Drugs
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
'Synthetic Panics' by Philip Jenkins
I've got a bone to pick with Jim Hogshire
Opium for the Masses by Jim Hogshire
Even Howard Zinn Reckons without the Drug War
How Thomas Nagel Reckons Without the Drug War
What Andrew Weil Got Wrong
Review of When Plants Dream
Brahms is NOT the best antidepressant
Step Aside, Entheogens

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, published on October 24, 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)