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How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 28, 2022

have been on Effexor for 30 years now and am as depressed as ever -- indeed, if truth be told, I'm more depressed than ever. Thanks for nothing, Big Pharma. Over the last five years, I've learned about the benefits of psychedelics to help my depression, and I was excited about the possibility of using them to help me get off of SNRIs. I contacted the Heffter Group about this possibility and was told that I would have to "get off" SNRIs before participating in any studies. It turns out my SNRI mucks about with my serotonin levels such that psychedelic use may have little effect for me. Thanks again, Big Pharma.

I then looked into getting off of my SNRI, but was astounded to find that almost no doctors (at least no doctor on record) would do this for me in a practical way, that is by upping the dose of an alternative medicine (say Xanax, Adderall or Ritalin) while decreasing the dose of my SNRI. Instead, the doctors all wanted me to spend a year or more going through a presumably excruciating period of "tapering," and only after I was completely "off" the SNRI would I then begin receiving alternative medicine.

This is madness. It puts the convenience of the doctor light-years ahead of the needs of the client. If I were going to a "drug dealer" for my medications, he or she would never insist on such a strategy.

I looked up one site on this subject, and the webmaster piously writes: "You won't like to hear this, but you will have to taper, taper, taper" with the obvious implication being that you could receive no other medication at the time as a replacement. The goal is a hypocritically defined sobriety, rather than the client's self-actualization, as he or she defines that term.

No doubt there are benefits for this tapering approach: it's slightly less dangerous and the doctor can more clearly determine which drugs are causing which symptoms. But these considerations pale in comparison to the downsides that the patients must suffer thanks to such an approach. They have to put their emotionally balanced lives on hold, which most can literally not afford to do. What's more, NMIH studies show the recidivism rate for SNRIs to be so high that it is folly to think of quitting them without simultaneously replacing them with another pharmacologically assisted approach.

This mindset of piously telling the client to "taper" is so anti-patient that it can only be successfully explained with reference to the Christian Science ideology of the Drug War, which puts a higher premium on sobriety in the abstract than on the attainment of self-actualization, as the client defines that term.

This is why doctor hopping is a moral duty in the age of the Drug War, because someone like myself, who does not believe that drugs are bad in and of themselves, must search for a doctor who shares my viewpoint, as opposed to the many doctors who have unconsciously adopted the Christian Science mindset of the Drug War in dealing with patients like myself. They're more than willing to sacrifice several years of my life to an unproductive time of emotionally wrenching "tapering," because they feel that's preferable to seamlessly moving me to yet another psychoactive "drug," even if the drug in question is legal. Why? Because they have internalized the Christian Science ideology of the Drug War, which tells them, "the less drugs, the better."

Yes, but better for whom? The doctor? Yes. The Christian Scientist? Yes. The patient? Not so much.

Author's Follow-up: October 22, 2023

Of course, there would be no issue if medicine were legal. Instead, we have the truly weird situation in which I can be arrested for trying to get my head straight. If this superstitious demonizing and scapegoating philosophy is ever given the boot that it deserves, future generations will be astonished when they look back at the cruel non-sequitur of the Drug War, which severely punishes those who seek to clear their minds and access the spiritual worlds that have been contacted time out of mind by tribal peoples. Apparently it was not enough that we wiped them out physically; now we have to demonize and wipe out the pro-nature mindset that they represented.

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

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.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
Someone tweeted that fears about a Christian Science theocracy are "baseless." Tell that to my uncle who was lobotomized because they outlawed meds that could cheer him up -- tell that to myself, a chronic depressive who could be cheered up in an instant with outlawed meds.
How else will they scare us enough to convince us to give up all our freedoms for the purpose of fighting horrible awful evil DRUGS? DRUGS is the sledgehammer with which they are destroying American democracy.
Science knows nothing of the human spirit and of the hopes and dreams of humankind. Science cannot tell us whether a given drug risk is worthwhile given the human need for creativity and passion in their life. Science has no expertise in making such philosophical judgements.
Amphetamines are "meds" when they help kids think more clearly but they are "drugs" when they help adults think more clearly. That shows you just how bewildered Americans are when it comes to drugs.
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.
Prohibitionists have blood on their hands. People do not naturally die in the tens of thousands from opioid use, notwithstanding the lies of 19th-century missionaries in China. It takes bad drug policy to accomplish that.
More Tweets

essays about

The Myth of the Addictive Personality
Addicted to Ignorance
Addicted to Addiction
America's Invisible Addiction Crisis
Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Sherlock Holmes versus Gabriel Maté
Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism
In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
Night of the Addicted Americans
The aesthetic difference between addiction and chemical dependency
Tapering for Jesus
How Addiction Scientists Reckon without the Drug War
How Prohibition Causes Addiction
Four reasons why Addiction is a political term
Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts
My Cure for Addiction
The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction
Common Sense Drug Withdrawal
Fighting Drugs with Drugs

essays about

Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination

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You have been reading an article entitled, How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale published on December 28, 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)