Essay date: June 2, 2022

In praise of doctor hopping

he DEA monitors prescriptions to make sure that doctors are not going overboard in prescribing addictive pills -- but this is politics and philosophy at work, not science. For what constitutes "going overboard"? Except in cases of outright poisoning, that is an aesthetic question, not a scientific one. After all, the DEA has no problem with the fact that one in four American women are chemically dependent on antidepressants for life. So apparently it's not "going overboard" if you prescribe multiple addictive pills for the same patient to be taken every single day of their life until death do they part. Why then is the DEA upset about a dependency on more exhilarating drugs, like opium and coca? These latter drugs are merely potentially addictive, after all, while the addictive quality of SSRIs is a feature of those medicines, not a bug. Besides, it's well known that one can live a full life while yet using heroin or morphine every day of that life. The problems only come when one withdraws from the med, but problems also come when withdrawing from SSRIs, so much so, in fact, that some Big Pharma drugs, like Effexor, have a 95% recidivism rate for those long-term users who seek to kick that habit. (This is a closely guarded secret, by the way. I once had a psychiatrist who was fired for sharing this factoid with me.)

The DEA has no scientific reason to pooh-pooh the so-called "hard drugs" while affirming Big Pharma nostrums. Rather the DEA first has a philosophical idea of what constitutes "the good life," and then they crack down accordingly. They believe that this good life is predictable, low-key and not subject to major mood swings: in short, the good life, according to the DEA, results in a good consumer, and pills are good to the extent that they lead to that end. Yet some of us want to live a fully engaged life in which we're constantly involved in the world, constantly wondering anew at mother nature, constantly feeling and experiencing, without any overreliance on the capitalist system and the next big and expensive thing. These are the live-wires of whom Jack Kerouac wrote: "The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn burn like fabulous yellow roman candles." (The Effexor I take daily reminds me more of a lobotomy on the instalment plan than a roman candle.)

Yet, the DEA, and the establishment it represents, are intimidated by such lives and so demonize those drugs that facilitate such a lifestyle. They call them "crutches," although they never tell us why Big Pharma meds are not crutches as well. It's just more Drug War hypocrisy: Big Pharma pills are important "meds", naturally occurring godsend medicines are "crutches."

Newspeak aside: Doctor Feelgoods are simply doctors who prescribe what their patient wants rather than what the DEA wants for that patient. But for the medical world to keep power, these doctors have to be suppressed, because in the age of criminalized plant medicine, it is the medical community that decides what we need, emotionally speaking, not the patient, and if we don't like their idea of the "good life," then tough luck. We can either play the game or incur the wrath of the medical gods by going "doctor hopping."

Of course, some Doctor Feelgoods take advantage of the poorly informed and young, but then so do psychiatrists, by putting them on meds that they will end up taking for life.

But when mature and responsible adults go to a doctor for mood medicine, they should ask and receive what THEY want, not what the medical community wants them to have based on that community's unspoken assumptions about what constitutes the good life.

Oh, and when a Doctor Feelgood dies, the patients will commit the big Drug War no-no of going "doctor hopping" in search of another doctor with the same prescription philosophy. Respectable doctors scream that this is morally wrong, but there is nothing wrong with doctor hopping. In fact, doctor hopping is a duty, if we're to be true to ourselves and our own needs and desires rather than those of the doctor (who in some of our cases is decades younger than we are). Doctor hopping would only be wrong if we assume that mental health therapy is entirely scientific and not based on assumptions about what constitutes the good life for individual patients. But anyone who believes that is kidding themselves. Mental health specialists may like to think that they're scientific because they're using pills that target a chemical imbalance, but that has long since been proven to be wrong: in fact the psychiatric pill mill dispenses meds that cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix. Even if it were not so, I want the prescriptions I receive to reflect my own needs and desires, not the needs and desires that the materialist creator of SSRIs thought I should have.

In short, there's nothing scientific about the crackdown on "Doctor Feelgoods." It's an esthetic call to decry their prescription practices. Of course, there are always "bad eggs" among every type of doctor, and some will abuse their position to prescribe addictive drugs to the immature. But the answer to these threats lies in education combined with re-legalization of mother nature's medicines, which would allow empathic doctors to shamanically, as it were, shift patients from one drug to another through guided incentivizing empathogenic journeys. In other words, even addiction is not the end of the world when psychoactive medicine is understood and used aggressively by empathic guides, rather than being feared and used in such a miserly way that we outlaw nature's pharmacopoeia almost entirely. In still other words, the answer to any addiction - to the extent that the addiction is not desired by the patient him or herself - is to harness the therapeutic power of entheogens and empathogens, after which psychiatric counselling can finally work like it was always supposed to do, with an honest and willing confab between client and healer. Indeed, some say that one day of MDMA therapy can do the work of years of counselling.

We need only to break the medical world's vise-like self-serving grip on the keys to the medicine cabinet, re-legalize Mother Nature, and let patients, not the DEA, decide how - and how much - they are allowed to think and feel in this life.

Author's Follow-up: September 30, 2022

Speaking of drugs that give you years' worth of 'counseling' via one drug experience: Paul Stamets tells us, in the 2019 documentary "Fantastic Fungi," that he was able to cure himself of his childhood stuttering problem thanks to one afternoon that he spent under the influence of a psilocybin mushroom (you know, one of the many psychoactive substances that the DEA tells us has no potential therapeutic uses whatsoever).

Author's Follow-up: April 21, 2023

Incidentally, the Drug Warriors are libeling God himself when they tell us that drugs have no positive uses and are "junk" and "dope." In the book of Genesis, the deity tells us that the world he created was good. For this reason, the Catholic church has always found that good or bad resides in individuals, and that they are labels that cannot meaningfully be ascribed to "things." In other words, the Drug War advances a religious viewpoint, one at odds with Christianity.

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


Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
"I can take this drug that inspires me and makes me compassionate and teaches me to love nature in its byzantine complexity, or I can take Prozac which makes me unable to cry at my parents' funeral. Hmm. Which shall it be?" Only a mad person in a mad world would choose SSRIs.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Next essay: Time to ACT UP about the racist drug war
Previous essay: Open Letter to Anthony Gottlieb

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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