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Getting Off of Big Pharma Meds Using Teacher Plants

or Why I'm Moving to Peru

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 1, 2024

n order to understand the reasons for my upcoming trip (and eventual move) to the Sacred Valley of Peru1, the reader has to know my psychological backstory, especially the fact that I have been a chronic depressive from my teens and that I can say definitively after 50 years of therapeutic failures that the western "meds" provided for my "condition" have proven useless - or rather worse than useless insofar as they have turned me into a ward of the healthcare state thanks to the dependence-causing nature of the drugs in question. It's possible that such legal medicines that I have been prescribed over the years have kept me from committing suicide at several crisis points in my life, but that is scarcely a ringing endorsement for meds that were touted as cures for depression. And even that one benefit of pills like SSRIs and SNRIs - that they keep me from committing suicide - comes with a high price, since these medications numb my reactions to the world at large and keep me from fully experiencing both the joys and the tragedies of life. That's why the practical goal of my upcoming move is to get off of antidepressants entirely.

You might say that I could do that just as well in the United States, but the western protocol for withdrawing from a drug is based on the Christian Science notion that the goal of the withdrawal process should be a drug-free life2, whereas my goal is to get off of "manmade" antidepressants while "getting onto" what I consider to be the far more sacred and valuable drugs of Mother Nature, probably starting with the empathogen huachuma3 and then the entheogen ayahuasca, to be followed by a list of other substances largely unknown to the west but which show great promise for changing mindsets while yet not establishing dependency, let alone addiction, in the user.

Such a cure is hard for materialist scientists to understand, because they are obsessed with finding biochemical proof of a drug's efficacy. That's why they have remained largely silent about the patently obvious benefits of the coca leaf, or MDMA, or laughing gas, or opium: because they are not interested in making the depressed laugh and be happy: they want to make the depressed REALLY happy, which means that they are happy thanks to some biochemical cause and effect that can be clearly depicted and analyzed in PowerPoint presentations for organizations like NIDA and the FDA.

Basically, then, I'm going to Peru in order to perform the sort of clinical trials that materialists4 refuse to perform, trials in which I investigate the power of sacred medicines to help end pharmaceutical addictions, not by changing one's biochemistry but rather by changing their attitude toward life and hence toward the withdrawal process itself. In other words, I will be using myself as a guinea pig, or rather as a participant, in a clinical trial of my own creation. (I will, however, be employing local guides with knowledge of plant medicines, the kind of guides whose help is rarely solicited in stateside lab settings.)

This is all the more necessary since anti-depressant junkies like myself are ineligible for participation in psychedelic drugs trials in the states thanks to liability concerns related to so-called "serotonin toxicity syndrome,5" which is a very rare syndrome indeed, to the extent that it actually exists. My experience with SSRIs is that they dull the experience of other drugs rather than exacerbating them. Besides, I am more than willing to take risks in my search for a better life: indeed, who isn't, with the exception of the incorrigible couch potato, of course? But the research community will say that they are protecting folks like myself by disqualifying us for drug trials; but let's be honest: what they are really doing is protecting themselves. They know that statistics mean nothing to the Drug Warrior. For them, one swallow makes a summer. They will parley a single participant death into a big deal in the age of the Drug War, even if the death only seemed to be drug-related.

And so it is that stateside clinical trials place an absurd focus on safety, to the point where they prevent the most deserving recipients of psychedelic medicines -- those whom the Drug War has turned into eternal patients - from participating in psychedelic trials. And yet the NIH itself reports that "most cases of serotonin syndrome are mild and will resolve with the removal of the offending drug alone." It is thus clearly a prejudicial and cowardly overreaction to use the syndrome as an excuse to ignore the needs of the millions of depressed Americans whom the Drug War has turned into wards of the healthcare state.

By the way, the foregoing quotation about serotonin toxicity appears on a web page from the "NIH: National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information," and this is part of the problem. Psychoactive drugs are about psychology and religion, not just biology, let alone biotechnology. What needs to change inside me are my goals in life, and those are unique to myself and are derived from a wide variety of forces, both from nature and from nurture. The biotechnologist, on the other hand, posits the human being as an interchangeable biological unit, one that is subject to one-size-fits-all cures for emotional shortcomings. That's why the FDA recently fast-tracked the therapeutic use of LSD: because the drug makers have turned it into a one-size-fits-all treatment, one for which visions and euphoria are considered to be unwanted side effects (in other words by removing everything for which the drug had been rightly revered: namely, its power to inspire new ways of thinking about the world)6.

And so I am moving to Peru, not just to escape drug laws, but to escape the materialist assumptions about how drugs should work, those assumptions which would wrongly give medical doctors the right to decide how and how much I should be allowed to think and feel in my life, those flawed assumptions according to which the goal of safety is valued more than the goal of self-knowledge and of living a full spiritual and emotional life.

My interest is not so much in drugs, however, as it is in the power of the human mind when empowered by drugs. This is a power that has been left largely untapped and uninvestigated by human beings, partly because of the west's intoxiphobia7 and partly because of hierarchical tribal limits on who could use psychoactive drugs and in what circumstances. Yet it is astonishing to me that the consumption of a mere plant or fungus should have anything at all to do with our outlook on life, let alone the ability to transform it profoundly. Moreover, such medicines seem to have been made with ourselves in mind insofar as we human beings possess precisely the kind of neural mechanisms which are necessary to benefit from them. Certainly, the idea that we should refrain from using them is a mere religious idea, not a logical conclusion. To be specific, it is the religious idea of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the drug-hating religion of Christian Science.

This is why I say that I am moving to Peru for religious freedom, just like my forebears who came to North America for that purpose. The irony, of course, is that those same champions of religious liberty are now the ones who are preventing me from enjoying religious liberty in the USA.

Stay tuned for updates on my investigations of plant teachers in Peru and how they might be used for fighting addictions and dependencies!


1 The Sacred Valley: Peru, South America, Lonely Planet, (up)
2 Quass, Brian, Christian Science Rehab, 2021 (up)
3 Seer, Balam, The Beginner’s Guide to Healing with Huachuma (San Pedro), 2019 (up)
4 Quass, Brian, How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed, 2022 (up)
5 Simon, Leslie V., Serotonin Syndrome, NIH National Library of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2023 (up)
6 Quass, Brian, LSD for puritans, 2024 (up)
7 Quass, Brian, 'Intoxiphobia' by Russell Newcombe, 2022 (up)

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Addiction Tweets

ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
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.
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Chesterton might as well have been speaking about the word 'addiction' when he wrote the following: "It is useless to have exact figures if they are exact figures about an inexact phrase."
The government causes problems for those who are habituated to certain drugs. Then they claim that these problems are symptoms of an illness. Then folks like Gabriel Mate come forth to find the "hidden pain" in "addicts." It's one big morality play created by drug laws.
Chesterton wrote that, once you begin outlawing things on grounds of health, you open a Pandora's box. This is because health is not a quality, it's a balance. To decide legality based on 'health' grounds thus opens a Pandora's box of different points of view.
Using the billions now spent on caging users, we could end the whole phenomena of both physical and psychological addiction by using "drugs to fight drugs." But drug warriors do not want to end addiction, they want to keep using it as an excuse to ban drugs.
Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic.
And this is before we even start spending those billions on research that are currently going toward arresting minorities.
When doctors try to treat addiction without using any godsend medicines, they are at best Christian Scientists and at worst quacks. They are like the doctors in Moliere's "M
As Moliere demonstrated in the hilarious finale, anyone can be THAT kind of doctor by mastering a little Latin and walking around pompously in the proper uniform.
Like the pompous white-coated doctor in the movie "Four Good Days" who ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.

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You have been reading an article entitled, Getting Off of Big Pharma Meds Using Teacher Plants: or Why I'm Moving to Peru, published on April 1, 2024 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)