bird icon for twitter

Drugs CAN Be the Answer

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 27, 2023

Harvard psychiatrist recently tweeted that "Drugs are not the answer" when it comes to preventing school shootings.

This is a commonplace admonition that is often voiced not just by prohibitionists, but by opponents of the Drug War, as I take this professor to be. In fact, if divided Americans agree on one thing, it's that "Drugs are not the answer."

But does that statement make sense?

Should we tell Americans that they should not get vaccinated against Covid because drugs are not the answer? Should we tell them to forego their "heart pills" because drugs are not the answer?

Why then would we tell a hateful hothead not to use a love-inducing drug like MDMA -- or any of the hundreds of other empathogens in the world, including the 200+ psychedelics synthesized by Alexander Shulgin -- because drugs are not the answer? After all, a prima facie case can be made that a hothead's chances of shooting up a grade school will decrease in proportion as he or she is under the influence of empathogenic medicine.

Sure, MDMA is unlikely to provide a full answer to the problem of school shootings -- but neither will antiviral medicine provide a full answer to the Covid crisis.

The fact is that we have a double standard about drugs. An instinctive fear of psychoactive "drugs" has been instilled in us from childhood as part of the very air that we breathe. Drug-hating is part of the modern weltanschauung of the west. How did we get here? With 100+ years of Christian Science indoctrination, that's how, spread by schools, TV shows, movies, academia, and the workplace.

DARE tells school kids as young as six years old that drugs have no positive uses for anybody, ever (which, of course, is true of no substance on earth and is thus a mere superstition). The high schooler turns to academia and finds only articles concerning the misuse and abuse of psychoactive drugs, almost none about positive uses for drugs (like, say, inspiring entire religions). By adulthood, they will have seen thousands of hours' worth of shows (some of them subsidized by the US government's Office on National Drug Control Policy) whose plot revolves around the misuse and abuse of drugs. In the workforce, they find that they can't even get a job flipping hamburgers if they are found to have used a substance that politicians have demonized, even if said substance was used daily by the likes of HG Wells, Jules Verne, Marcus Aurelius or Benjamin Franklin.

True, "drugs are not THE answer," but that's a truism with which any sensible person would agree. The problem is that most people who speak those words mean more than that; they mean something like the following: "Drugs are part of the problem. The REAL answers are [fill in the blank with the non-drug-related answer(s) of which the speaker approves]."

The problem with this attitude is that it prevents us from seeing what would be obvious to us in the absence of the Drug War weltanschauung in which we've been raised. If we lived in a society that promoted the positive use of psychoactive medicines for the benefit of humans and humanity, we would immediately be struck with the idea of using empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin to treat hotheads and teach them to love their fellows. Now, such a protocol may not prove to be a silver bullet; nevertheless, it would be a no-brainer to try such an approach absent the drug-war ideology of substance demonization in which all westerners have been indoctrinated since their birth. We would also be quick to try psychedelics for treating Alzheimer's, given that the latter class of drugs have been known to grow new neurons in the brain -- but drug propaganda keeps such prima facie protocols off the radar of modern science -- which, incidentally, is an inexcusable blind spot for which a deprogrammed futurity is sure to judge us harshly.

No, "drugs are not THE answer," but they are certainly PART of the answer, if we value peace, love and understanding over war -- which, let's face it, many Americans do not, especially if they hold stock in Halliburton or similar companies that thrive by signing lucrative nation rebuilding contracts with stockholding warmongers. As for the Brits, they are so sure that drugs are not the answer that they cracked down on the incredibly safe drug known as MDMA, which was creating unprecedented peace, love and understanding on the dance floor in the 1990's. The result of the crackdown? Concert promoters had to hire special forces troops to keep the peace as dancers switched from MDMA to violence-promoting alcohol.

This is why I wince when I read tropes like "Drugs are not the answer," because they imply the acceptance of many Drug War assumptions that do not survive philosophical scrutiny and whose influence on modern social policies is disastrous.

That said, I myself am tempted to use the phrase "Drugs are not the answer," but when I do so, I am always thinking of the dependence-causing SSRIs that have turned me into a patient for life. Such drugs are neither the answer, nor even part of the answer. They are part of an enormously expensive and disempowering treatment protocol that makes zero sense in a world in which we outlaw Mother Nature's godsends, which God himself told us were good.

Author's Follow-up: April 27, 2023

Why do Americans think that "drugs are not the answer"? Because fearmongers have taught us to believe that vulnerable young people are the only stakeholders in the drug game. That's false. There are millions, perhaps billions, who could benefit from drugs like MDMA, coca and nitrous oxide, but the masses of the depressed and anxious are not considered stakeholders in discussions about drugs, neither are the elderly, folks in hospice, soldiers with PTSD, etc. I take this personally because this is the reason that I have had to go a lifetime without godsends that grow at my feet: all because we limit our considerations about drugs to the effects they might have (in our most lurid puritan imaginations) on reckless young people -- and reckless white young people at that. We never think of the young people who are killed and who lose parents to the vicious Drug War in Central and South America that is forever waged on our behalf, or the black kids who are killed in drive-bys in the inner-city "no go zones" that we have created with our prohibition, thanks to the financial incentives that this policy creates for gun violence.

This purblind focus on young people is doubly absurd: not only does it keep godsends from millions, it also puts the young people in danger by persuading us to criminalize rather than teach. We thereby perpetuate a prohibition which causes all of the problems that we dread. How? By subjecting our uninformed youth to an unregulated drug supply. Until we stop fearmongering about drugs and start teaching about safe use, this madness will continue in a vicious cycle, in which we keep blaming drugs for all of the negative consequences that we ourselves are causing with drug prohibition.

Author's Follow-up: May 22, 2023

The Drug Warriors have always known this, of course. Here's what Nixon staffer John Ehrlichman told CNN about the Drug War: "We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities."

Author's Follow-up: May 29, 2023

When Americans tell us that "drugs are not the answer," we should just shake our heads sadly and tell ourselves: "Poor brainwashed wretches. They've been indoctrinated since childhood in the cult of the Drug War, according to which there are exactly ZERO positive uses for so-called 'drugs'. How could they have any other thought except that big bad evil 'drugs' are not the answer. They have been taught their entire lives -- including in med school -- to hate psychoactive medicine. As Ali would tell us, we should 'pity the fool!' -- and then send them off to a deprogramming camp!"

Next essay: Opium for the Masses by Jim Hogshire
Previous essay: The Drug War Mindset

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.
There are a potentially vast number of non-addictive drugs that could be used strategically in therapy. They elate and "free the tongue" to help talk therapy really work. Even "addictive" drugs can be used non-addictively, prohibitionist propaganda notwithstanding.
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.
When folks die in horse-related accidents, we need to be asking: who sold the victim the horse? We've got to crack down on folks who peddle this junk -- and ban books like Black Beauty that glamorize horse use.
One merely has to look at any issue of Psychology Today to see articles in which the author reckons without the Drug War, in which they pretend that banned substances do not exist and so fail to incorporate any topic-related insights that might otherwise come from user reports.
M. Pollan says "not so fast" when it comes to drug re-legalization. I say FAST? I've gone a whole lifetime w/o access to Mother Nature's plants. How can a botanist approve of that? Answer: By ignoring all legalization stakeholders except for the kids whom we refuse to educate.
This is why America is creeping toward authoritarianism -- because of the prohibitionists' ability to get away with everything by blaming "drugs." The fact that Americans still fall for this crap represents a kind of collective pathology.
Drug Warriors never take responsibility for incentivizing poor kids throughout the west to sell drugs. It's not just in NYC and LA, it's in modest-sized towns in France. Find public housing, you find drug dealing. It's the prohibition, damn it!
Cop and detective shows are loaded with subtle drug war propaganda, including lines like, "She had a history of drug use, so..." The implication being that anyone who uses substances that politicians hate cannot be trusted.
That's another problem with "following the science." Science downplays personal testimony as subjective. But psychoactive experiences are all ABOUT subjectivity. With such drugs, users are not widgets susceptible to the one-size-fits-all pills of reductionism.
More Tweets

essays about

Hurray for Self-Medicating
Re-Legalize Opium Now
Doctor Feel Bad
In Praise of Doctor Feelgood
In Praise of Drug Dealers
The Politically Incorrect Cure for the Common Cold
In Praise of Augustus Bedloe
Why I Am Pro Drugs
Drug Use as Self-Medication
El Chapo Crappo
Smart Uses for Opium and Coca
Saying Yes to Drugs
Saying Yes to Drugs
How Cocaine could have helped me
Just Say Yes to Mother Nature's Pharmacy
In praise of doctor hopping
Why Drug Free Zones are Dangerous and Unconstitutional
News Flash: Drug Use Can Be a Good Thing!
Time to Glorify Drug Use
A message for unhappy campers

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, Drugs CAN Be the Answer published on April 27, 2023 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)