Essay date: August 16, 2020

How Cocaine could have helped me

Psychiatry has been cowed by the drug war into denying the obvious: that drugs like cocaine can fight depression by creating circumstances under which a human being can succeed in life.

ver since I was young, I have not understood the drug war mentality. Why, for instance, could I not use cocaine in my late teens and early 20s when the symptoms that it produced were exactly what I was looking for at the time: namely, a release from morbid self-consciousness, thanks to which I could have capitalized on my innate talents for DJing - instead of self-destructing vocally before the microphone through self-doubt. Freud himself praised cocaine to the skies, claiming that it relieved his depression without depriving him of energy needed for work. Indeed, he expected cocaine to "win its place in therapeutics side by side morphine and superior to it." Nor did the drug hopelessly addict him. To the contrary, he used cocaine while it was useful to his work and quit it without fanfare (or the release of a self-pitying autobiography) when the drug no longer served his purposes in life.

Yet whenever I talked like this to psychiatrists, I was met with blank stares, and eventually warned that I sounded like an "addictive personality." An "addictive personality"! How ironic, considering that these same psychiatrists then went on to addict me for an entire lifetime to Big Pharma pills, which I must take every day of my life, to this very day, and which I couldn't quit if I wanted to, not because I lack willpower but because my own shrink has told me not to bother, since the Effexor I'm on has a recidivism rate equal to that of heroin.

An "addictive personality," indeed. Well, if you're just going to addict me anyway, why can't I be addicted to my poison of choice? Why can't I use cocaine instead of SSRIs and SNRIs?

The psychiatrist's absurd answer to that question illustrates all that is wrong with psychiatry today.

The psychiatrist will claim that cocaine "only targets the symptoms," you see, while Big Pharma has created pills that go right to the chemical imbalances that create depression in the first place.
This is wrong on a number of levels.

Notice that if the drug-warrior psychiatrist had had his or her way, Freud would never have been allowed to succeed in life. Cocaine, after all, would have been a big no-no. Instead, like myself, Freud would have been scheduled for weekly sessions where talk therapy would try to get "to the bottom" of his depression, the supposed "real" psychological cause - or where drugs would have been prescribed that would have supposedly targeted the "real" chemical cause. Result: we would have never heard of Freud today, but you can be sure that he would have been dutifully "taking his meds" until the last day of his life.

In fact, if the drug-warrior psychiatrist had gotten ahold of Robin Williams in time, the same thing would have happened to him: the world would have missed out on a comic legend, because Williams' coke use would have been considered a disease that needed to be cured so that Robin's "real" problems could be addressed, by talk and/or Big Pharma chemicals.

Unfortunately, the drug-warrior psychiatrists did get ahold of me, however. That's why you've never heard of me as a DJ. The psychiatrists gave my self-doubt and depression free rein. My life was put on hold as I was told to wait for the "real" cures to "kick in."

Well, it's been over four decades now, and I'm still waiting.

But on the upside, psychiatry's meds have made life just bearable. Perhaps that's the only benefit of modern SSRIs: they help one survive without achieving self-actualization in life. In fact, I am not a conspiracy theorist, but one could argue that the whole point of modern antidepressants is to turn the user into a good consumer, one who will be tranquilized just to the point that he or she can stand the absurdity of modern life - without turning the user into a potentially disruptive force by actually helping them achieve self-actualization.

How can psychiatry hold a viewpoint that is so at odds with common sense? How can they so blatantly ignore the "patient's" need for self-actualization in life? Why do they insist that patients survive on theories rather than on the real politik of drugs that actually do something to positively effect behavior? In short, why was cocaine a godsend for Sigmund Freud but a devilish drug as far as I'm concerned?


Because psychiatrists have been cowed by the drug war into denying the obvious: that many illegal psychoactive substances do have therapeutic uses: not because they "cause" happiness in and of themselves (as the philosophically-challenged drug-warrior would require them to do) but because they facilitate behavior that creates success. As noted above, this success then improves self-image, creating a positive feedback loop viz the patient's personality. Result: the patient can succeed in life, oftentimes without the long-term use of the substance that created this "virtuous circle" in the first place.

Until psychiatry realizes these simple truths and ceases its pretentious search for "real causes" (that search that has resulted in the addiction of 1 in 4 American women to the supposedly real "targeted cures" mentioned above) they will continue sacrificing the vocational lives of ambitious Americans like myself on the altar of drug war superstition.

POSTCRIPT: Yes, I was an addictive personality: I was addicted to self-actualization and I demanded it. I wasn't willing to accept the second-best life that psychiatry was proposing for me with its feeble theoretical half-measures.

Next essay: How the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
Previous essay: Marijuana Critics Just Don't Get It

More Essays Here

essays about

Corner on Coca!
Drug War Bait and Switch
Smart Uses for Opium and Coca

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
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
Drugs CAN Be the Answer

end America's disgraceful drug war: visit to learn more

No Drug War Keychains

The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

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.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • 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
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at