Essay date: December 28, 2022

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

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.

Next essay: What Andrew Weil Got Wrong
Previous essay: The DEA Scheduling System is Based on Lies

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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