bird icon for twitter

Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl

open letter to Lynn Walker of the Wichita Falls Times Record News

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

August 27, 2022

ear Lynn:

Quite frankly, your article demonstrates everything that is wrong with America's Drug War. First, the headline: "Police, DA declare a war on killer drug fentanyl."

There are no killer drugs. Even the highly toxic Botox can be used safely and for the benefit of humanity in the proper doses. The "killer" here is ignorance, not fentanyl: ignorance combined with substance prohibition that incentivizes dealers to find and sell the most addictive substances that happen to be "ready to hand," without regard for drug safety or substance purity. A fentanyl crisis would be unimaginable in a country where psychoactive plant medicine (all of it being far less addictive than fentanyl) was legal and people were taught how to use it as safely as possible.

Second, in a sane world, a story about fentanyl deaths would feature photographs of health and education experts, not law enforcement. But then the Drug War has never been about health: it's been about repressing minorities. It's no coincidence that the first drug law in 1914 banned the use of opium, for that was a time of anti-Chinese sentiment stoked by demagogue politicians. Just so, the outlawing of the coca plant was originally a response to anti-Black sentiment, the outlawing of marijuana was anti-Mexican, and the outlawing of psychedelics was anti-Hippies.

Drug war ideology combined with substance prohibition has caused civil wars overseas, forced children in hospice to suffer rather than giving them morphine, and forced us to let our elderly parents die by "taking them off life support" rather than letting them drift off to a peaceful death, again with morphine. It has censored scientists who can not legally investigate potential cures for Alhzeimer's and autism, and it has forced billions around the globe to go without godsend medicine for depression (like the Peruvian's 'divine coca leaf' and MDMA) instead shunting them off onto Big Pharma 'meds' that cause a chemical dependency, thanks to which 1 in 4 American women must take Big Pharma pills every morning of their life.

Meanwhile, it has turned our inner cities into shooting galleries. Why? Because prohibition creates armed gangs out of whole cloth in poor neighborhoods (a fact that even Drug Warriors know full well from America's disastrous experiment with liquor prohibition, which created the American Mafia as we know it today). That's why there were 800 black deaths in Chicago alone in 2021: because substance prohibition encouraged inner-city gangs to arm themselves to the teeth. So, thank you very much, law enforcement: for nothing, that is.

It's an outrage that law enforcement is now using the problems that they themselves have created to call for yet another "crackdown" on minority drug dealers. We should rather be cracking down on racist politicians who want us to fear substances rather than to understand them. We should crack down on politicians who want to demonize mother nature's psychoactive pharmacy while yet giving a big fat Mulligan to the two deadliest drugs of all, tobacco and alcohol, which together cause half a million deaths per year in America.

Again, fentanyl is not the problem: neither is coca nor opium.

The problem is prohibition combined with ignorance -- the ignorance that the Drug War knowingly promotes. In fact, Joe Biden's Office of National Drug Control Policy has a charter that bars them from even considering safe use of demonized substances, since their goal is spreading drug-war propaganda, not keeping Americans healthy and safe. In other words it is government policy to keep Americans ignorant about psychoactive substances so that we can continue superstitiously making "drugs" the scapegoat for all of America's social problems. Conservatives love this, of course, because it allows them to spend government money on law enforcement and the military, rather than on education for the poor. What both liberals and conservatives fail to notice, however -- or at least fail to admit -- is that the Drug War causes all of the problems that it purports to solve -- and then some.

August 27, 2022

Of course, the Wichita Falls News is another one of the "faux local" newspapers. It's actually owned by Gannett Corporation, who bought it from Scripps, who bought it from Harte-Hanks. We should note also that Brian attempted to post this as a comment, but the Gannett corporation will only accept comments from those who have a Facebook account. So I guess that if Brian wants to diss the idea of Facebook membership in a comment, he has to join Facebook in order to do so.

Author's Follow-up: September 7, 2022

After causing the drug problem in the first place, folks like Joe Biden are now claiming credit for fighting it by confiscating huge quantities of Fentanyl. This is, of course, a fool's way to solve a problem. You could get rid of Fentanyl overnight and there would be another "devil drug" around the corner to take its place. This is precisely why the DEA and the entire DRUG WAR ESTABLISHMENT love this approach to "fighting drugs," because they have jobs for life when it comes to fighting this boogieman that the government itself has created.

It's the approach that's wrong. We should be fighting ignorance, not drugs. Instead, we're demonizing substances and teaching kids the lie that nature's psychoactive medicines can be used only for evil. What absolute rot. There are no substances on earth that are evil, none in the world that need to be banned. All substances need to be understood however in order to ensure safe use, and Joe Biden and his Drug Warriors are determined to keep us fearing boogieman substances like Fentanyl rather than understanding them.

Educate, do not incarcerate.

Re-legalize Mother Nature's medicines so folks who are seeking self-transcendence do not have to avail themselves of the handful of more dangerous substances whose sale is incentivized by prohibition.

Extra Credit

September 22, 2022

The next time you see a bunch of self-important police officers in a press conference standing in front of a cache of bad-evil-horrible "drugs," picture them wearing KKK hoods -- because that's what the Drug War is all about, breaking the heads of minorities. That's why Chicago had 797 gun deaths in 2021 and the media simply does not care. Gannett, Sinclair, and the handful of other companies that own local and national papers refuse to point out that the Drug War created the armed gangs in inner cities in the first place, exactly as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.

That's your second extra-credit assignment: see how many newspaper articles you can find that talk about inner-city violence without even MENTIONING substance prohibition and the war on drugs. Believe me, you'll be spoiled for choice!

Author's Follow-up: February 3, 2023

It's quite depressing to follow Twitter on this topic and see all the unnecessary suffering going on in the world because the DEA is second-guessing doctors when it comes to their prescribing of pain medication. The DEA and the politicians do not realize that when it comes to pain medication, the experience of the patient is the key issue and how they experience that pain -- not the muddled ideas of politicians as to how much pain relief they "should" be receiving according to some cut-and-paste figure determined by the gut instinct of bureaucrats -- bureaucrats whose main concern is keeping their jobs, not helping people in pain.

Author's Follow-up: May 17, 2023

It can't be said enough -- mainly because it hasn't been said at all -- that Trump became president because of the Drug War. Prohibition killed black voters and threw millions of survivors into prison -- far more than enough retired votes to swing elections for racist republicans and their legion of democrat facilitators and enablers.

Next essay: Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
Previous essay: Open Letter to Diane O'Leary

More Essays Here

Prohibition Tweets

Democratic societies need to outlaw prohibition for many reasons, the first being the fact that prohibition removes millions of minorities from the voting rolls, thereby handing elections to fascists and insurrectionists.
When folks die in horse-related accidents, we need to be asking: who sold the victim the horse? We've got to crack down on folks who peddle this junk -- and ban books like Black Beauty that glamorize horse use.
Today's Washington Post reports that "opioid pills shipped" DROPPED 45% between 2011 and 2019..... while fatal overdoses ROSE TO RECORD LEVELS! Prohibition is PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE.
The goal of drug-law reform should be to outlaw prohibition. Anything short of that, and our basic rights will always be subject to veto by fearmongers. Outlawing prohibition would restore the Natural Law of Jefferson, which the DEA scorned in 1987 with its raid on Monticello.
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."
Prohibition turned habituation into addiction by creating a wide variety of problems for users, including potential arrest, tainted or absent drug supply, and extreme stigmatization.
If we let "science" decide about drugs, i.e. base freedom on health concerns, then tea can be as easily outlawed as beer. The fact that horses are not illegal shows that prohibition is not about health. It's about the power to outlaw certain "ways of being in the world."
The formula is easy: pick a substance that folks are predisposed to hate anyway, then keep hounding the public with stories about tragedies somehow related to that substance. Show it ruining lives in movies and on TV. Don't lie. Just keep showing all the negatives.
Then folks like Sabet will accuse folks like myself of ignoring the "facts." No, it is Sabet who is ignoring the facts -- facts about dangerous horses and free climbing. He's also ignoring all the downsides of prohibition, whose laws lead to the election of tyrants.
That's the problem with prohibition. It is not ultimately a health question but a question about priorities and sensibilities -- and those topics are open to lively debate and should not be the province of science, especially when natural law itself says mother nature is ours.
I personally hate beets and I could make a health argument against their legality. Beets can kill for those allergic to them. Sure, it's a rare condition, but since when has that stopped a prohibitionist from screaming bloody murder?
I can think of no greater intrusion than to deny one autonomy over how they think and feel in life. It is sort of a meta-intrusion, the mother of all anti-democratic intrusions.
Enforced by the blatantly rights-crushing solicitation of urine from the king's subjects, as if to underscore the fact that your very digestive system is controlled by the state.
Until prohibition ends, rehab is all about enforcing a Christian Science attitude toward psychoactive medicines (with the occasional hypocritical exception of Big Pharma meds).
Philip Jenkins reports that Rophynol had positive uses for treating mental disorders until the media called it the "date rape drug." We thus punished those who were benefitting from the drug, tho' the biggest drug culprit in date rape is alcohol. Oprah spread the fear virally.
This is the "Oprah fallacy," which has led to so much suffering. She told women they were fools if they accepted a drink from a man. That's crazy. If we are terrified by such a statistically improbable event, we should be absolutely horrified by horses and skateboards.
This hysterical reaction to rare negative events actually creates more rare negative events. This is why the DEA publicizes "drug problems," because by making them well known, they make the problems more prevalent and can thereby justify their huge budget.
The Partnership for a Death Free America is launching a campaign to celebrate the 50th year of Richard Nixon's War on Drugs. We need to give credit where credit's due for the mass arrest of minorities, the inner city gun violence and the civil wars that it's generated overseas.
In 1886, coca enthusiast JJ Tschudi referred to prohibitionists as 'kickers.' He wrote: "If we were to listen to these kickers, most of us would die of hunger, for the reason that nearly everything we eat or drink has fallen under their ban."
Drug Warriors never take responsibility for incentivizing poor kids throughout the west to sell drugs. It's not just in NYC and LA, it's in modest-sized towns in France. Find public housing, you find drug dealing. It's the prohibition, damn it!
I don't believe in the materialist paradigm upon which SSRIs were created, according to which humans are interchangeable chemical robots amenable to the same treatment for human sadness. Let me use laughing gas and MDMA and coca and let the materialists use SSRIs.
What prohibitionists forget is that every popular but dangerous activity, from horseback riding to drug use, will have its victims. You cannot save everybody, and when you try to do so by law, you kill far more than you save, meanwhile destroying democracy in the process.
Prohibition is based on two huge lies: 1) that there are no benefits to drug use; and 2) that there are no downsides to prohibition.
The 1932 movie "Scarface" starts with on-screen text calling for a crackdown on armed gangs in America. There is no mention of the fact that a decade's worth of Prohibition had created those gangs in the first place.
The worst form of government is not communism, socialism or even unbridled capitalism. The worst form of government is a Christian Science Theocracy, in which the government controls how much you are allowed to think and feel in life.
The Shipiba have learned to heal human beings physically, psychologically and spiritually with what they call "onanyati," plant allies and guides, such as Bobinsana, which "envelops seekers in a cocoon of love." You know: what the DEA would call "junk."
And where did politicians get the idea that irresponsible white American young people are the only stakeholders when it comes to the question of re-legalizing drugs??? There are hundreds of millions of other stakeholders: philosophers, pain patients, the depressed.
Yes, BUT when they say "drugs plus therapy," they don't mean drugs in general. They mean a small selection of drugs that pass muster with pharmacologically clueless politicians.
I agree that Big Pharma drugs have wrought disaster when used in psychotherapy -- but it is common sense that non-Big Pharma drugs that elate could be used to prevent suicide and obviate the need for ECT.
There are a potentially vast number of non-addictive drugs that could be used strategically in therapy. They elate and "free the tongue" to help talk therapy really work. Even "addictive" drugs can be used non-addictively, prohibitionist propaganda notwithstanding.
We need to start thinking of drug-related deaths like we do about car accidents: They're terrible, and yet they should move us to make driving safer, not to outlaw driving. To think otherwise is to swallow the drug war lie that "drugs" can have no positive uses.
The DEA outlawed MDMA in 1985, thereby depriving soldiers of a godsend treatment for PTSD. Apparently, the DEA staff slept well at night in the early 2000s as American soldiers were having their lives destroyed by IEDs.
Imagine someone starting their book about antibiotics by saying that he's not trying to suggest that we actually use them. We should not have to apologize for being honest about drugs. If prohibitionists think that honesty is wrong, that's their problem.
I, for one, am actually TRYING to recommend drugs like MDMA and psilocybin as substitutes for shock therapy. In fact, I would recommend almost ANY pick-me-up drug as an alternative to knowingly damaging the human brain. That's more than the hateful DEA can say.
A pharmacologically savvy drug dealer would have no problem getting someone off one drug because they would use the common sense practice of fighting drugs with drugs. But materialist doctors would rather that the patient suffer than to use such psychologically obvious methods.
If there's any doubt about this, check out the 2021 article in Forbes in which a materialist doctor professes to doubt whether laughing gas could help the depressed. Materialists are committed to seeing the world from the POV of Spock from Star Trek.
If the depressed patient laughs, that means nothing. Materialists have to see results under a microscopic or they will never sign off on a therapy.
Oregon's drug policy is incoherent and cruel. The rich and healthy spend $4,000 a week on psilocybin. The poor and chemically dependent are thrown in jail, unless they're on SSRIs, in which case they're congratulated for "taking their meds."
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.

essays about

Kevin Sabet can Kiss My Effexor Prescription
The Infuriating Philosophical Idiocy of Kevin Sabet
Kevin Sabet and What-About-Ism
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment
Drugs: the great American scapegoat
How the drug war promotes drug abuse
America's Blind Spot

essays about

Fentanyl does not kill! Prohibition does!

essays about

Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Open Letter to Anthony Gottlieb
Open Letter to Congressman Ben Cline, asking him to abolish the criminal DEA
Open Letter to Diane O'Leary
Open Letter to Erowid
Open Letter to Francis Fukuyama
Open Letter to Gabrielle Glaser
Open letter to Kenneth Sewell
Open Letter to Lisa Ling
Open Letter to Nathan at
Open letter to Professor Troy Glover at Waterloo University
Open Letter to Richard Hammersley
Open Letter to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Open Letter to the Virginia Legislature
Open Letter to Variety Critic Owen Glieberman
Open letter to Wolfgang Smith
Open Letter to Vincent Rado
Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Critique of the Philosophy of Happiness
Heroin versus Alcohol
End the Drug War Now
How the Drug War Screws the Depressed
How the Monticello Foundation betrayed Jefferson's Legacy in 1987
How to Unite Drug War Opponents of all Ethnicities
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Predictive Policing in the Age of the Drug War
Speaking Truth to Big Pharma
Teenagers and Cannabis
Teenagers and Cannabis
Psychedelics and Depression
The Drug War and Armageddon
The Invisible Mass Shootings
The problem with Modern Drug Reform Efforts
The Menace of the Drug War
The Mother of all Western Biases
Top 10 Problems with the Drug War
Why CBS 19 should stop supporting the Drug War
Why DARE should stop telling kids to say no
Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War
The Drug War Cure for Covid
Another Cry in the Wilderness
Open Letter to Vincent Hurley, Lecturer
Canadian Drug Warrior, I said Get Away
Open Letter to Margo Margaritoff
Open Letter to Roy Benaroch MD
How Bernardo Kastrup reckons without the drug war
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment

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, Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl: open letter to Lynn Walker of the Wichita Falls Times Record News, published on August 27, 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)