Essay date: February 3, 2023

Drug War? What Drug War?

how scientists pretend that the drug war does not exist

hen Galileo was censored by the church in 1633 for his heliocentric views on astronomy, he knew he was censored. The Chief Inquisitor, Father Vincenzo Maculani, left no doubt about that. Not only was Galileo sentenced to house arrest, but many of his writings were banned and he had to publicly renounce his ecclesiastically incorrect views. He was even forced to recite The Seven Penitential Psalms once a week for three years.1 (That'll teach him!)

His fate has since become a cause célèbre for scientists everywhere, who bristle at modern-day restrictions on their own research, always with this 17th-century backstory in mind. "Never again" seems to be their motto as they scoff at the benighted clerics of the past.

What they fail to realize, however, is that science today is censored every bit as much as it was censored in Galileo's time. In fact, today's censorship is worse because it is self-censorship on behalf of an ideology: namely, the ideology of the Drug War, which tells us that most psychoactive substances have no positive uses whatsoever, not for anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason, at any dose, ever. The fact is, of course, that there are no such substances in the world. To say otherwise is to ignore both science and history. Even cyanide has positive uses. Moreover, some of the medicines that we're talking about here (like soma, coca and ayahuasca) have inspired entire religions. How can they not be without reasonable uses?

Meanwhile, psychedelic medicines can increase neuronal connectivity and even grow new neurons in the brain, but scientists are highly discouraged from following up such leads, since the outlawing of such substances scares away most potential research funders, including the government itself. But the Drug Warrior's claim that psychoactive substances have no good uses is a self-fulfilling prophecy, for Drug War prohibition keeps scientists from looking for the very positive uses which the Drug Warrior has told us do not exist.

For some concrete examples of how scientists ignore the Drug War, consider the following articles about the mind from Science News. None of these articles even mention the existence of the Drug War, let alone the fact that it outlaws hundreds of psychoactive medicines whose considered use could change the very way that we think about the brain and consciousness. These articles are therefore written without the customary scientific disclosure. The authors are pretending to write from a natural baseline, when the government has actually forced them to look for only certain kinds of answers to their scientific questions, namely those that promote a materialist view of the mind, of consciousness, and of the world at large.

Recent Science News articles about human psychology and the mind

"Psychology has struggled for a century to make sense of the mind"2
MY COMMENT: No wonder, considering that the Drug War has outlawed all the medicines that can give us experiential hints about the nature of mind and consciousness. William James' entire philosophy was inspired by his use of laughing gas3, yet today's scientists and philosophers are forbidden from following up his work because the Drug War will not allow them to "go there."

"50 years ago, an experimental drug hinted at serotonin's many roles in the brain"4
MY COMMENT: The author who cites these experimental "hints" from the 1970s fails to tell us that such research (combined with Drug War prohibition) eventually led to the biggest pharmacological dystopia of all time, thanks to which 1 in 4 American women are now dependent on Big Pharma "meds" for life. Once again, we see the propaganda of omission at work in the Drug War.

"Our brains, our future -- how we might heal our brains"5
MY COMMENT: Spoiler alert: the healing in question will not be provided by those naughty medicines that politicians have told us have no good uses whatsoever.

"Brain Zapping Implants are inching closer to reality"6
MY COMMENT: I think I'd say that they're "creeping" closer to reality instead. Scientists muck about with implants and zap the brain, but they will not even consider the possibility of using time-honored medicine to improve mood. This brain zapping sounds like a "kinder, gentler version of Electroshock therapy" to me, which amazingly is still used today. ECT is a crime against humanity in the age of the Drug War, since we never use such treatment as a last resort, but rather because our government has forbidden the use of godsend substances that have cheered up entire societies (like the Inca with coca) and inspired entire religions (like the Vedic with soma).

"Brain discoveries open doors to new treatments"7
MY COMMENT: Materialists continue to cast about for "new" treatments, while the mere existence of time-honored old treatments is no longer even acknowledged. Career advancement first, after all, science second.

"U.S. drug deaths dipped in 2018, but cocaine and meth overdoses rose"8
MY COMMENT: The only time that Science News comes close to mentioning the Drug War is when they publish an alarmist article on "drug use," in which they uncritically promote the view that the use of demonized psychoactive substances can only lead to despair and death.

Yes, Science News does publish the occasional upbeat story about the potential use of psychedelics to help the depressed, but they continue to play ball with the Drug War by implying (mostly by the omission of all contrary facts) that demonized substances really do have no good uses for anyone ever. That's not just a lie, but it's an anti-scientific lie, one that a scientific organization should not countenance.

Why this lack of concern about the Drug War that's killing Mexicans even as we speak and causing record crime sprees in inner cities thanks to the incentivization of violent black markets?

The roaring silence from scientists no doubt springs in part from the fact that they have a materialist bias and so are in no hurry to sign off on substances whose use simply makes a depressed person feel good. Materialists do not care if someone feels good, they want to know if they REALLY feel good, by which they mean, "Do we see the relevant changes in brain chemicals?" That's why psychiatrist Dr. Robert Glatter could ask with a straight face in his 2021 article in Forbes magazine, "Can laughing gas help with treatment resistant depression?"


In preparation for writing an objective book about coca in 1901, author W. Golden Mortimer sent out 10,000 queries "to professors in the several medical colleges, and to those prominent in local medical societies," in order to learn their thoughts about the properties of coca. This was before the "official" beginning of the Drug War in 1914, when the Harrison Narcotics Act first violated natural law by effectively outlawing a plant medicine, namely opium. And yet a sizable percentage of the author's respondents were already approaching the topic from a "moral" point of view, telling Mortimer that he was wrong to be publishing such a factual book because it might lead to more use of a substance whose use conduced only to immorality. Some of the respondents held this view although they readily admitted that they had no firsthand knowledge of the drug whatsoever, but had "a vague fear of insidious danger which they were not prepared to explain, and even preferred not to inquire into."9

It's odd how many scientists assume moral airs when it comes to the study of naturally occurring medicines and yet they have no problem whatsoever with the ongoing scientific study of weapons of mass destruction, like thermonuclear bombs, such as the one that was accidentally dropped on Goldsboro, North Carolina in the '60s. (You know, the H-bomb which came close to obliterating at least half of the East Coast of America, Washington, DC included). When it comes to technology, we're told that it can't be stopped, that its ongoing widespread use is inevitable - but when it comes to medicines that have inspired entire religions, we're told that it's immoral to even understand them. For in the age of Drug War censorship, science is a handmaiden of the government, advancing its pernicious policy of substance demonization. As long as modern scientists are in denial of this fact, they have no right to get on a high horse about the Church's treatment of Galileo in 17th-century Rome.

Next essay: Why Scientists are not qualified to study the effects of DMT
Previous essay: Using Ecstasy in Church

More Essays Here

essays about

The Problem with Following the Science
Doctor Feel Bad
How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Why Scientists are not qualified to study the effects of DMT
Science Set Free... NOT!
How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation

...end the war on drugs. Shop today. And tomorrow.

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

In 1987, the Monticello Foundation invited the DEA onto the property to confiscate Thomas Jeffersons poppy plants, in violation of the Natural Law upon which the gardening fan had founded America

The Drug War Censors Science - Bumper Sticker

Drive the point home that the Drug War censors scientists -- by outlawing and otherwise discouraging research into the kinds of drugs that have inspired entire religions.

Protest The Dea Bumper Sticker

Millions have needlessly suffered over the last 50 years because the DEA has lied about psychedelics, claiming that they are addictive and have no therapeutic value. Stop the lies, start the research.

Reincarnation is for Has-Beens

In a former life, I bought this bumper sticker myself. My friends got quite a kick out of it, as I recall!
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).

Nature Abhors a Vacuum - drink tile

Actually, Nature likes several of the latest Dyson models, but those are really the exception to the rule.

I Brake for Honeybees

Do your part to fight Colony Collapse Disorder: Show the honey bees your true feelings with this unBEElievable bumper sticker

Thinking of You

Face it, even your friends sometimes tick you off: Show them your true feelings with this novelty gift card -- and don't worry, the inside text reads: PSYCH! Just kidding.

What Would Socrates Do - bumper sticker

What would Socrates do if he drove a BMW? He'd sell it at once to show he wasn't tempted by luxury -- but he'd keep the kewl bumper sticker designed by that came with it.


old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

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. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.

It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it 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.

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

  • Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
  • Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company
  • 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
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
    • Blum, Richard "Society and Drugs" 1970 Jossey-Bass
  • 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
    • Carroll, Lewis "Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel" 2021 Amazon
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
    • Cohen, Jay S. "For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health" 2011 Tarcher/Putnam
    • De Quincey, Thomas "Confessions of an English Opium Eater" 1995 Dover
    • Ellsberg, Daniel "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner " 2018 Bloomsbury Publishing
    • Fadiman, James "The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys " 2011 Park Street Press
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
    • Fleming, Thomas "A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War" 2014 Da Capo Press
    • Friedman, Milton "Wall Street Journal" 1989 WSJ
    • Fukuyama, Francis "Liberalism and Its Discontents" 2022 Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
    • Gootenberg, Paul "Cocaine: Global Histories" 1999 Routledge
    • Gottleib, Anthony "The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy" 2016 Liveright Publishing Corporation
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
    • Holland, Julie "Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics" 2020 HarperWave
    • Huxley, Aldous "The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell" 1970 Penguin Books
  • 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
    • Jenkins, Philip "Synthetic Panics: The Symbolic Politics of Designer Drugs" 1999 New York University Press
    • Johnson, Paul "The Birth of the Modern" 1991 Harper Collins
    • Leary, Timothy Ralph Metzner "The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead " 1964 University Books
    • Lovecraft, HP "The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath" 1970 Del Rey Books
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
    • Mate, Gabriel "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction" 2009 Vintage Canada
    • Maupassant, Guy de "Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique " 2019
    • McKenna, Terence "Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution " 1992 Bantam
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
    • Miller, Richard Louis "Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle " 2017 Park Street Press
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
    • Noe, Alvin "Out of our Heads" 2010 HiII&Wang,
    • Paley, Dawn "Drug War Capitalism" 2014 AK Press
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
    • Pinchbeck, Daniel "When Plants Dream" 2019 Watkins Publishing
    • Poe, Edgar Allan "The Essential Poe" 2020 Warbler Classics
    • Pollan, Michael "How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence " 2018 Penguin Books
    • Reynolds, David S. "Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville " 1988 Oxford University Press
    • Richards, William "Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover" 2015 Columbia University Press
    • Rosenfeld, Harvey "Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 " 2000 Praeger
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
    • Russell, Kirk "Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered" 1967 Arlington House
    • Schlosser, Erich "Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety" 2014 Penguin
    • Sewell, Kenneth Clint Richmond "Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. " 2006 Pocket Star
    • Shirer, William "The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler" 2011 RosettaBooks
  • 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
    • Slater, Lauren "Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds" 2019 Boston
  • 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
    • Straussman, Rick "DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences " 2001 Park Street Press
    • Streatfield, Dominic "Cocaine: An Unauthorized Biography" 2003 Picador USA
    • Swartzwelder, Scott "Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy" 1998 W.W. Norton
    • Szasz, Thomas "Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers" 1974 Anchor Press/Doubleday
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
    • Szasz, Thomas "Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market" 1992 Praeger
    • Tyler, George R. "Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System" 2016 Pegasus Books
    • Watts, Alan "The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness" 1965 Vintage
  • 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 "Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America " 2010 Crown
    • Zinn, Howard "A People's History of the United States: 1492 - present" 2009
    • Zuboff , Shoshana "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power" 2019 Public Affairs
    Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at