Essay date: May 25, 2020

End the Drug War Now

an open letter to American Senators in Washington, D.C.

How the American Drug War is an imperialist and racist violation of natural law, traveling worldwide to burn plants that have been used responsibly by other countries for millennia, replacing them with the Christian drug known as alcohol

The following is an open letter to American Senators in the US Congress.

Dear Senator:

I am a 61-year-old depression sufferer from Basye, Virginia, and I have been a victim of America's Drug War my entire life. This is because the Drug War has resulted in the outlawing of thousands of psychoactive plants that could have worked wonders in my life had they been available for me to use, particularly with the help of an empathic counselor with the know-how to use such natural medicines in the safest and most efficacious manner. Instead, thanks to the DEA's anti-scientific and self-serving "scheduling" system, the mere research of these plants has been all but impossible over the last four decades. The result: I have been forced, along with millions of sufferers like myself around the globe, to treat my depression with a handful of Big Pharma meds that have proven highly addictive and are often harder to quit than heroin. Even as I type this, 1 in 8 American males and 1 in 4 American females are addicted to modern antidepressants.

This is a scandal and an outrage that would only be possible in a Drug Warrior country that has anti-scientifically concluded that Mother Nature's plant medicines are to be avoided at all costs, even if it means turning said country into the most addicted nation on Earth.

For reasons such as these, I urge you to abandon America's war on Mother Nature's plants (which we disingenuously refer to as a "Drug War") and let freedom ring, so that researchers may freely investigate Mother Nature's bounty and those who are suffering can receive the plant medicine that should be their birthright merely for having been born on planet Earth.

Permit me to highlight just a few of the many reasons why the Drug War (the war on plants) must end, at least if America really considers itself to be a free country, and one that is open to unfettered scientific investigation.

1) The Drug War is a violation of natural law. It seeks to deprive human beings of their birthright: namely, the plants and fungi that grow at their very feet. Please recall that the United States was founded on the notion of natural law, according to which human beings have rights upon which the government cannot justifiably encroach, and surely there is no more self-evident right than our right to the flora and fauna that grow unbidden around us. As natural-law advocate John Locke pointed out: We have the right to "the use of the land and to all that lies therein." Certainly, Thomas Jefferson would have been outraged to have the government tell him that there are plants that he cannot grow. We all know that Jefferson was spinning in his grave when the DEA stomped onto his estate in jackboots in the 1980s and confiscated his poppy plants. What a tyrannical and brazen-faced attack on the very notion of natural law, perpetrated against a president who gave those tyrant DEA agents the very rights that they were now trampling into dust, as if determined to show their utter disdain for the core principles upon which America was founded.

2) The Drug War (the war on plants) has introduced so much violence into the world that it is responsible for a whole movie genre worth of bloodshed. At least half of the TV cop shows of the last 50 years would not have been possible were it not for the bloodshed that the Drug War introduced into American life. Where was all this violence before 1914, before American politicians decided to punish minorities by outlawing what they perceived to be their drug of choice? Answer: there was no massive amount of drug-related violence until Americans decided to punish the sort of "pre-crime" of drug possession - rather than punishing the way that people actually behaved. The ever-rising death count of the last 50 years is the result of the Drug War, not of drugs.

3) The DEA has an ENORMOUS conflict of interest built into their very charter. They have been charged both with punishing drug crimes and with deciding which drugs should be criminalized and to what extent. As a result, it is in their vested interest to keep as many substances as criminalized as possible. And they freely act on that interest. They have thus lied about psychedelics for the past four decades, insisting they have no therapeutic value, despite reams of evidence to the contrary. (To the extent that scientific evidence is limited on this point, it's only because the DEA has made it almost impossible to study psychedelics, even scientifically.) Thus, while Americans are giving their lives overseas in America's military, the DEA bureaucrats are holding onto their jobs in the States by criminalizing MDMA against the advice of their own counsel, thus denying war-scarred soldiers a highly promising treatment for PTSD.

4) The DEA poisons Americans. DEA Chief John Lawn used chemical weapons against pot-smoking Americans in the 1980s by lacing marijuana crops with paraquat, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. So if the war on plants really is a "Drug War," then John Lawn is a war criminal. For, even if the Americans had been foreign combatants, it would have been a criminal act to poison them with weed killer. But the Drug War is so detached from reality, accountability, and sanity, that War Criminal Lawn could get away with it - and continues to get away with it to this very day, when a free country would put him on trial, or better yet send him to the Hague for punishment.

5) Drug warriors are liars. Remember that ad that says: "This is your brain on drugs." That is not just a lie, but it is the exact opposite of the truth. Cocaine sharpened the mind of Sigmund Freud. Opium gave Benjamin Franklin new ideas. Liberal doses of LSD helped Francis Crick identify the DNA helix. If any drugs actually "fry the brain," they are modern antidepressants, whose long-term use has been found to conduce to emotional-flatlining (aka anhedonia).

I could go on with this list, but in my view, the above arguments testify so powerfully against the Drug War and against the folly of criminalizing Mother Nature's plants, that I feel it's pointless to continue. I can't help but feel that anyone who is not already convinced must be championing the Drug War for selfish reasons that they do not have the guts to share openly. After all, there are many parts of society that benefit handsomely from the Drug War, some of which include:

BIG PHARMA: Pharmaceutical companies have seen their profits skyrocket since the Drug War began, since that war has given them a monopoly on creating medicines for depression and anxiety. Of course, the drugs in question are extremely addicting, but the beneficiaries of this monopoly just call their pills "medicines" instead of "drugs" and so the great addiction of the American people is hidden from view by a verbal trick.

PSYCHIATRY: Psychiatry has benefited handsomely from the Drug War, because they have the monopoly on dispensing the Big Pharma meds. Accordingly, they have changed their business model so that modern psychiatry is little more than a pill-pushing scheme, with many psychiatrists still conveniently glossing over the fact that Big Pharma meds are often more addictive than heroin. (Heroin can be kicked in one arduous week. Antidepressants may take months or longer, because they alter brain chemistry in unpredictable ways.)

LAW ENFORCEMENT: Law enforcement also has a vested financial interest in the continuation of the Drug War. They thrive on so-called drug forfeitures by means of which they inherit the property of drug offenders. Like the DEA itself, they profit precisely to the extent that mother nature's medicines are illegal, and so many sheriffs and corrections officials are all too happy to have the Drug War carry on unchecked, despite its effects on the average citizen, whose choice of mood medicines is thereby enormously restricted to a handful of addictive drugs. And, of course, anyone who rejects this tyranny and seeks to access Mother Nature's plants in spite of it is branded a "drug user" by law enforcement (and a "self-medicator" by psychiatry) and promptly thrown in jail.

BIG LIQUOR: The Drug War provides a lot of monopolies, as noted above. One of the biggest is the monopoly that it supplies to Big Liquor, since all drugs that provide a temporary "escape from oneself" are vigorously outlawed by the Drug War - with the glaring exception of liquor, despite the fact that it provides one of the shabbiest such escapes possible, an escape which (unlike that of most other plant medicines) conduces to vomiting and headache and gives the user no insights into their own nature and identity, but to the contrary, serves to render the user's mind more egotistically clouded than ever.

I maintain for these reasons that a sane freedom-loving country must reject the Drug War and let unbiased substance education and informed choice win the day at long last. To this end, we should exchange the Drug Enforcement Agency with the Drug Education Agency, whose job will be simply to report the statistics regarding both the risks and (yes) the perceived benefits of employing various plant medicines in order to alter mood, improve concentration, increase creativity, achieve insight, and so forth. After so doing, things can't be any worse than in the days prior to 1914, when all plants were still legal, at which time there was far less addiction than exists in the present day thanks to Big Pharma antidepressants. Of course, back then, they still referred to addiction with the nonjudgmental term of "habituation," because that was a time when they still judged people by how they actually behaved, not by what substances they may have, whether in their house or in their digestive system.

Yours Truly,

Brian Quass
Basye, Virginia

PS The most monstrous thing about the Drug War is the fact that America has exported it overseas, often using financial blackmail to make its allies "play ball," although dictatorial countries have followed suit of their own accord, realizing that a "Drug War" gives them a new and powerful means of keeping their own populations in check. And so it's not enough for Drug Warriors to deprive me of valuable mood medicine here in the States, but they have made sure that I cannot find such relief anywhere on the globe. In fact, America still travels to foreign countries to burn plants that have been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia. The war on opium, which started the Drug War, was a racist attempt to combat a plant medicine associated with the Chinese, a medicine that had been used responsibly by other cultures for millennia. The US is no less racist when we travel overseas, not simply to burn the poppy plant but to replace the opium that it yields with the American Christian go-to drug known as alcohol.

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

Next essay: Drug Warrior Lies on the Internet Movie Database
Previous essay: Six Reasons Why Americans Are Bamboozled by the Drug War

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Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
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Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature
Open Letter to Variety Critic Owen Glieberman
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Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
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How the Drug War Screws the Depressed
How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities
Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Predictive Policing in the Age of the Drug War
Speaking Truth to Big Pharma
Teenagers and Cannabis
Teenagers and Cannabis
Psychedelics and Depression
The Drug War and Armageddon
The Invisible Mass Shootings
The problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts
The Menace of the Drug War
The Mother of all Western Biases
Top 10 Problems with the Drug War
Why CBS 19 should stop supporting the Drug War
Why DARE should stop telling kids to say no
Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
The Drug War Cure for Covid
Another Cry in the Wilderness
Open Letter to Vincent Hurley, Lecturer
Canadian Drug Warrior, I said Get Away
Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff
Open Letter to Roy Benaroch MD
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment


(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").

(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)

In short, the drug war 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.

PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

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

  • 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
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • 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
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • 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
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • 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
  • 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
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • 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 "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at