Essay date: August 27, 2022

Ignorance is the enemy, not Fentanyl

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

There are no killer drugs. Even the highly toxic Botox can be used safely and for the benefit of humanity in the proper doses.

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.

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


If drug war logic made sense, we would outlaw endless things in addition to drugs. Because the drug war says that it's all worth it if we can save just one life -- which is generally the life of a white suburban young person, btw.
Next essay: Why the Drug War is Worse than you can Imagine
Previous essay: Open Letter to Diane O'Leary

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(seemingly useful organizations)

Sana Collective
Group committed to making psychedelic therapy available to all regardless of income.

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