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How the Drug War Killed Amy Winehouse

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

April 9, 2022

merica turns the fate of all supposed "drug abusers" into a morality tale about the evil of "drugs" and, by implication, the moral weakness of those who use them. But instead of asking psychologically naive questions like, "Why did Amy think she needed drugs?" (hint: it's the self-transcendence, stupid), we should be looking in the mirror, asking: "Why did WE not bother to teach her how to use drugs wisely?" For the villain of this piece is the Drug War itself, a Drug War which 1) limits Amy's available pharmacopeia to the problematic and addictive substances whose sale is incentivized by Drug War prohibition, and 2) discourages the substance-related research that could lead to safe use guidelines for all psychoactive medicines.

Of course, Amy's fate was especially easy for Christian Science America to spin into a Drug War morality tale in which "drugs" were the bad guy. One of the last songs that Amy sang contained the heretical lyrics: "He's tried to make me go to rehab, but I won't go, go, go." And at the Oscars, she was quoted as telling her friend Juliette that, "This is so boring without drugs."

When these facts were shown to contestants on Gogglebox in 2014, there was plenty of backhanded sympathy for Amy from the reality-show couch potatoes, with the general consensus being that she had unfortunately caved before the evil temptress known as "drugs."

No one ever asked the apparently heretical question: "What if we had researched all drugs that provided personal transcendence and educated Amy about how to choose among them and use them wisely?"

But Drug Warriors do not think this way because they completely ignore the motivation for drug use, which is self-transcendence. Even if they do recognize the impulse, they insist that self-transcendence must come only from supposedly "natural" sources, such as church, yoga, meditation, jogging, and the like. (The Drug Warrior might even suggest stoicism as an alternative to drugs, failing to realize that the paragon of that discipline, Marcus Aurelius, was himself a big fan of opium.) But this notion about "drugs" being unnatural or a "copout" is a mere Christian Science prejudice and not an ineluctable truth to which all intelligent humans are led upon rational reflection. It's certainly not a "truth" that would naturally occur to someone who grew up in a botanically rich rainforest.

In point of fact, the mind truly boggles at the plethora of treatment possibilities that would have been open to Amy had she been able to meet with a pharmacologically savvy empath who had unrestricted access to every psychoactive plant in the entire world. Amy might have been led through an emotionally restorative journey on psylocibin to see the world in a new way, been given something to look forward to in the form of weekly cocaine or opium use, or provided with morphine on special mental "holidays," whereby she could see the natural world in exquisite detail a la August Bedloe in "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains" by Edgar Allan Poe. She could have had her head screwed back on straight with the strategic use of the drugs which Americans have been taught to scorn.

But such cures run counter to the Christian Science notion that "drugs" are evil. And so Drug War society could only sit back impotently and watch Amy's decline, as one watches a slow-motion car crash, unable to offer her anything more enticing than pious suggestions that she renounce her desire for self-transcendence and join a 12-step program instead.

How The Drug War Killed Andy Gibb

Next essay: Top 10 Problems with the Drug War
Previous essay: Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

If politicians wanted to outlaw coffee, a bunch of Kevin Sabets would come forward and start writing books designed to scare us off the drink by cherry-picking negative facts from scientific studies.
The DEA rating system is not wrong just because it ranks drugs incorrectly. It's wrong because it ranks drugs at all. All drugs have positive uses. It's absurd to prohibit using them because one demographic might misuse them.
We need a few brave folk to "act up" by shouting "It's the drug war!" whenever folks are discussing Mexican violence or inner city shootings. The media treat both topics as if the violence is inexplicable! We can't learn from mistakes if we're in denial.
Drug warriors do not seem to see any irony in the fact that their outlawing of opium eventually resulted in an "opioid crisis." The message is clear: people want transcendence. If we don't let them find it safely, they will find it dangerously.
Typical materialist protocol. Take all the "wonder" out of the drug and sell it as a one-size-fits all "reductionist" cure for anxiety. Notice that they refer to hallucinations and euphoria as "adverse effects." What next? Communion wine with the religion taken out of it?
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.
"Dope Sick"? "Prohibition Sick" is more like it. For me the very term "dope" connotes imperialism, racism and xenophobia, given that all tribal cultures have used "drugs" for various purposes. "Dope? Junk?" It's hard to imagine a more intolerant, dismissive and judgmental terminology.
Alcohol is a drug in liquid form. If drug warriors want to punish people who use drugs, they should start punishing themselves.
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.
It's an enigma: If I beat my depression by smoking opium nightly, I am a drug scumbag subject to immediate arrest. But if I do NOT "take my meds" every day of my life, I am a bad patient.
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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, How the Drug War Killed Amy Winehouse published on April 9, 2022 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)