Essay date: April 1, 2020

How the Drug War Punishes the Elderly

How the drug war and its anti-scientific laws punish the elderly by denying them godsend natural medications that can cheer them up and even help them make their peace with death.

re the elderly depressed? America wouldn't have it any other way.

How many readers know of an elderly friend or loved one wasting away in a nursing home? Let me see a show of hands.

Now, how many people know that this is a tragedy created by the Drug War?

Mother Nature's pharmacopeia contains a world of psychoactive substances that can be used in a strategic manner by a pharmacologically savvy empath to not only elevate mood, but to give the treated individual a new perspective on life, while encouraging the growth of new neurons in the brain.

But Drug Warrior America wants none of this. Why? Because they hold a masochistic Christian Science view that says it is somehow wrong to use psychoactive substances in this fashion, a view that's supported, unfortunately, by a breed of scientism that treats the human body as an interchangeable widget (a robotically functioning Newtonian animal) for which we must find one-size-fits-all "cures" that can be marketed in pill form by any psychiatrist with a prescription pad.

The result: as much as we Americans wring our hands about the suffering of the elderly, we wouldn't have it any other way. The Drug War mentality has fostered in us a knee-jerk association between psychoactive substances and hedonism, and we use that as an excuse to willfully ignore the myriad utopian scenarios whereby such substances could, in the hands of a pharmacologically savvy shaman, give the depressed elderly new hope and even help them make their peace with death.

In this sense, drug law sharia is a godsend to modern psychiatrists because it gives them the perfect excuse for doing such a poor job in treating the elderly. If we confront these psychiatrists with the utopian possibilities inherent in nature's pharmacy, they have only to respond that all the substances that could be used in that fashion are illegal. And so drug law sharia keeps an entire new treatment paradigm at bay, leaving psychiatrists with nothing but a handful of heavily marketed addictive pharmaceuticals wherewith to treat severe emotional deficits - and then we have the gall to ask where the opioid crisis comes from. {^The opioid crisis results from the fact that we have outlawed all of the non-addictive substances that can powerfully affect mood, leaving those who seek self-transcendence with few choices except for the highly addictive ones offered by Big Pharma.}{

It should come as no surprise that the Drug War leads to such hideous outcomes, since the Drug War is anti-scientific by design. It represents the triumph of politics over science, propaganda over logic, common law over natural law, and if the casualties of that doctrine include the depressed elderly, then so be it. America really wouldn't have it any other way. After all, pharmacologically informed shamanism can't be neatly fit into a capitalist format that can enrich shareholders. Besides, it would involve ending the Drug War, which is the goose that lays the golden eggs for law enforcement and the corrections industry. And it would keep America from intervening in the country of its choice by playing the "narcotics" card, saying in effect: "You are dealing in plants that pose a threat to Big Liquor, therefore we can remove you from office."

And so the honest Drug Warrior would stand by the side of the depressed loved one and say: "Sorry, Mama, we'd like to make you feel better by ending the Drug War, but then America would no longer have an excuse to intervene in countries of whose politics we disapprove!"

Author's Follow-up: August 21, 2022

Speaking of anti-elderly, the Drug War ideology of substance demonization teaches us that it's morally right to "take the elderly off of life support" should they request it, and yet it's morally wrong to allow them to use morphine in order to painlessly leave the world. This is the twisted morality of the Drug War, which is equally anti-children. Why? Not just because of all the drug-war orphans that America's imperialist Drug War leaves behind in South America, but because some countries refuse to give children in hospices morphine, under the twisted Drug Warrior belief that it's better to let children suffer than to give them dirty evil "drugs." This is Christian Science with a vengeance, supported by state governments in fealty to damnable Drug War superstition.

August 21, 2022

Brian should also add that the above-mentioned goose is laying golden eggs by the dozen for the healthcare industry, which, beginning in 1914, was slowly but surely given a complete monopoly not just for treating physical ills, but for treating mental states as well, thereby turning countless Americans into demoralized wards of the healthcare state, including the 1 in 4 American women who are hooked on Big Pharma meds for life. How did this come about? Because the Drug War was to eventually outlaw almost all effective psychoactive medicines in the world. And yet pundits today scratch their head and wonder why there are so many depressed and anxious. The answer is easy: an overreaching state has run interference between human beings and the botanical medicine that grows all around them. And so America is now simultaneously the most depressed nation in the world and the one that pops the most pills. Another one of the seemingly endless Pyrrhic victories for America's unprecedented political war on inanimate substances.

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

Next essay: The Drug War as a Make-Work Program for Law Enforcement
Previous essay: The DEA's War on Alzheimer's Research

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Sana Collective
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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