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How Scientific American reckons without the drug war

in response to 'A Talking Cure for Psychosis' by Matthew M. Kurtz

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 6, 2023

open letter to Professor Matthew M. Kurtz, in response to 'A Talking Cure for Psychosis' in the March 2023 print edition of 'Scientific American'

Dear Professor Kurtz:

When we say that drugs by themselves have not solved the problem of psychosis, I think we must specify which drugs we are talking about. As you know, we live in a country in which almost all psychoactive medicine is outlawed. So when we say that "drugs are ineffective," we are really saying that "drugs that work according to reductionist criteria" are ineffective. The latter is a very different statement from the former.

I would also caution against the reductionist approach in treating psychological disorders. I have been chemically dependent for over 40 years now on drugs that purported to treat my depression via scientific reductionist criteria. Not only has my depression not been "cured," but I have been turned into a ward of the healthcare state, taking expensive pills that tranquilize me rather than empower me to live large.

You write of a "new era of psychology," but psychology remains blind to all the obvious reasons why banned psychoactive drugs could help the depressed: Even if these substances did nothing but elate, they could be used intermittently to give the patient something to look forward to (which is far better than shocking a patient's brain or having them commit suicide). Moreover, coca wine has empowered the lives of HG Wells and Jules Verne, helping them to work harder, giving them greater self-esteem, creating a virtuous circle. In the 19th century, poets used opium wisely, in what author Richard Middleton called "a series of magnificent quarterly carouses," improving their work and giving them "something to look forward to," again creating a virtuous circle. Alexander Shulgin has synthesized hundreds of non-addictive drugs that elate and inspire the user. These drugs have not been found to be ineffective in treating psychological problems: rather they have been completely ignored in fealty to the Drug War ideology of substance demonization.

Scientists are blind to the benefits of such "drugs" because to acknowledge them would be to violate Drug War orthodoxy, which tells us that certain substances have no positive uses, for anybody, anywhere, at any time, ever -- which, of course, is an anti-scientific lie, as there are no substances of that kind in the world. Even cyanide and botox have legitimate medical uses.

Science today is censored by the Drug War. And this will never end as long as we continue to pretend that the Drug War does not even exist.

Sincerely Yours,
Brian Quass

Next essay: Science Set Free... NOT!
Previous essay: Materialism and the Drug War Part II

More Essays Here


Live and learn. I'm told that science is completely unbiased today. I guess I'll have to go back and reassess my beliefs in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
I think there needs to be a law -- or at least an understanding -- that it's always wrong to demonize drugs in the abstract. That's anti-scientific. It begs so many questions and leaves suffering pain patients (and others) high and dry. No substance is bad in and of itself.
When we say so, we knowingly blind ourselves to all sorts of potential benefits to humankind. Morphine can provide a vivid appreciation of mother nature in properly disposed minds. That should be seen as a benefit. Instead, dogma tells us that we must hate morphine for any use.
I might as well say that no one can ever be taught to ride a horse safely. I would argue as follows: "Look at Christopher Reeves. He was a responsible and knowledgeable equestrian. But he couldn't handle horses. The fact is, NO ONE can handle horses!"
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.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."
He'd probably then say: "In fact, we'd better outlaw this substance for now until we understand its biochemical mechanisms of action. We should follow the science, after all."
This is the mentality for today's materialist researcher when it comes to "laughing gas." He does not care that it merely cheers folks up. He wants to see what is REALLY going on with the substance, using electrodes and brain scans.
I'd tell him knock yourself out, except that his expensive and purblind research is used by prohibitionists to say: See? There's no scientific proof that laughing gas helps the depressed.
This, by the way, is why we can't just "follow the science." The "acceptable risk" for psychoactive drugs can only be decided by the user, based on what they prioritize in life. Science just assumes that all users should want to live forever, self-fulfilled or not.

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
Drug War? What Drug War?
Science Set Free... NOT!
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
A Quantum of Hubris

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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You have been reading an article entitled, How Scientific American reckons without the drug war: in response to 'A Talking Cure for Psychosis' by Matthew M. Kurtz, published on March 6, 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)