replacing the modern barbaric treatment of so-called addicts with pharmacologically informed shamanism
Imagine a drug dealer: not just any drug dealer, but a drug dealer with a big heart, a thorough knowledge of all psychoactive plants and fungi, and free and unhindered access to every such substance in the world.
How do you think he (or she) would deal with my desire to get off of alcohol, or heroin - or worse yet, one of the modern brand-name anti-depressants, which, as Julie Holland points out, are often more difficult to quit than heroin.
Do you think this drug dealer would send me to a high-rent flophouse and plop me on a couch for three days of cold-turkey hell (in the case of heroin) or of three months of cold-turkey hell (in the case of antidepressants)?
Of course not. He or she would shun this barbaric pseudoscientific protocol and fight fire with fire. How? By prescribing drugs that shout "YOU ARE OK!" just as loudly (or louder) than my withdrawal symptoms will be shouting "YOU ARE DYING." I'm talking about substances which, in the proper setting which our hypothetical dealer will naturally provide, will give me a new appreciation of the world of nature that surrounds me, will give me new insights into my place in the cosmos, and will help me adopt mindsets hitherto unimaginable for me by dint of which I can buck up against the down sides of withdrawal and march on in spite of them.
This dealer might even do the scientifically unthinkable and creatively use his vast natural pharmacopeia to give me an occasional "high" for no reason at all - or rather for the exact same reason that most people drink alcohol these days: namely, to get a break from full-on "reality" and thus a health-inducing vacation from stress in general.
One thing you can be sure of: My "drug withdrawal" would not necessitate the continual retching and puking that our modern puritanical therapists consider to be the addict's due. Nor would it require my self-abasement in front of a crowd of fellow "addicts," where I'm encouraged to speculate-at-will on the hidden forces and motivations behind my fall from grace.
The best thing that a modern therapist can tell an addict is that there's light at the end of a tunnel, but our drug dealer knows better: he (or she) knows how to light up the tunnel itself and make one's journey through it both bearable and therapeutic.
It's not surprising then that the government has such antipathy toward drug dealers, to the point where Donald Trump even wants to execute them. The drug dealers are the ones who threaten to break modern science's puritanical stranglehold on mental health therapy by revealing that the emperor is wearing no clothes, that the bare-bones ministrations that pass as addiction therapy these days are at once barbaric and ineffective compared to what a pharmacologically savvy empath could provide. That's why the Drug Warrior feels compelled to keep psychoactive substances illegal, not for the benefit of addicts, but rather to ensure that the government and Big Pharma maintain their highly lucrative monopoly when it comes to "treating" them.
Author's Follow-up: August 3, 2022
I knew a "drug dealer" once (almost 40 years ago now) -- and he was a nice guy. At the time, I was already an addict, but I had been addicted, not by a "dealer," but by psychiatry. I was a Valium addict, you see. All perfectly legal, I assure you. I was new to the drug at the time and I figured that, the more Valium, the merrier. And do you know what this dirty evil "drug dealer" told me? He said that he didn't deal in such drugs and would not recommend them. You see, the drugs HE dealt with could be used non-addictively and they could help you "live large." Whereas, Valium, as he well knew, brings neither self-transcendence nor self-insight and it is addictive into the bargain.
What irony! The common sense view of "drugs" was provided for me, not by psychiatry, but by a dirty evil rotten drug dealer!
That's just how ass-backwards America is when it comes to drugs. For the Drug Warriors do not want to keep you off drugs, they want to keep you ON the right drugs, namely those which benefit the healthcare industry. They're interested in their own bottom line, not in the self-actualization of their "patients." Moreover, when I met with that "drug dealer," I was not a patient, I was an actual human being, meeting with him on an equal footing -- unlike my meetings with my "shrink," who sat behind a huge desk covered with vaguely Indian-looking paraphernalia and towered over me as I sat in a chair seemingly designed for grade-schoolers.
Author's Follow-up: August 12, 2022
I sent drug-reform pioneers DJ Nutt and Rick Doblin a copy of my first book a couple of years ago -- in which I describe how Big Pharma had turned me into an eternal patient -- and I never heard back. I wondered why at first, until I realized that both of these otherwise smart individuals (much smarter than myself, I am sure, in everything except philosophy) believe in the lie that psychiatry has found a cure for depression with SSRIs, a fact that I have learned the hard way is absolutely false, through 40-years of addiction to "meds" that turned out to be harder to kick than heroin. This is another of the seemingly endless reasons why the Drug War is so hard to abolish, by the way, because even those who combat it have been sold on the idea that Big Pharma is doing a good job in treating depression.
But I have a lifetime of experience which screams "WRONG!" And if a lifetime of experience counts for nothing (and I'm afraid it does, since, for instance, online psychiatric groups are for psychiatrists only, not for trouble-making "patients" whom they "treat"), then there are the books on this subject by Julie Holland, Irving Kirsch and Richard Whitaker, which tell how antidepressants actually cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix. (This incidentally is why they're so hard to "kick," because once one's neuro-chemical baseline is altered, it does not seem to snap back easily to its pre-anti-depressant status quo. This is presumably why the NIMH found that 95% of long-term Effexor users were back on the drug within three years after giving it up.)
It always irritates me when folks like Doblin, in particular, talk about how psychedelic drugs can help people who are "treatment resistant," since the use of this phrasal adjective implies that Big Pharma antidepressants are working just fine, thank you very much, except that some people are resistant to them, in the same way that some lactose-intolerant people cannot handle milk. If I personally created a drink that sickened 30% of Americans, I would be arrested. When the dairy industry does this, the problem is blamed on the drinkers, and their quirky digestive systems -- in the same way that the failure of antidepressants is blamed on the finicky pill popper, not on Big Pharma drugs.
Why am I irritated? Because folks like Doblin ignore the fact that antidepressant use has turned America into the most chemically dependent country of all time, and that Big Pharma (in collaboration with psychiatry) has been empowered to do this by the Drug War (because it gives Big Pharma a monopoly on providing mood medicines). In other words, perhaps the greatest downside of the Drug War is something that they are dogmatically obliged to ignore, under the naive assumption that antidepressants actually "cure" depression. Never mind the arguments made by Holland and company against this false thesis, this notion does not pass muster philosophically. For if you tell me that you have a cure for my depression, I must ask you, "How do you define cure?" If the idea is to keep me from killing myself, then perhaps you have a pill that will keep me satisfied with an unfulfilled existence... but this is YOUR idea of a cure for depression, not mine. My ideal cure is one that will make me live as fully as possible, like 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 installment plan than a roman candle. At any rate, the last kind of cure that I would want for my depression -- had anyone bothered to ask me -- is one that turns me into an eternal patient and a ward of the healthcare state, which is a downside of the modern pill mill that no one but myself seems to have even noticed so far in America, thanks to the fact that Big Pharma money and propaganda has convinced folks who should know better to toe the party line by using Wall Street-friendly phrasal adjectives like "treatment-resistant."
So when it comes to arguing against the Drug War, Doblin and Nutt are hamstrung by their own credulity about Big Pharma meds. Being so, they are powerless to attack the Drug War in its most vulnerable point: namely, the fact that it has been responsible for the establishment of the greatest mass chemical dependency of all time -- a dystopia that has turned the plot of The Stepford Wives into an American reality, proving that the Drug War is not about getting Americans off drugs, but rather it's about getting America on the right drugs, namely those whose use benefits psychiatry and Big Pharma.
Let us know what you think. Send your comments to me, Brian Quass, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks! Please be sure to mention the title of the essay to which you are responding.
The Drug War is a bipartisan effort, hence its staying power, but if the Republicans have their way, we will have an insurrection to install a president who wants to carry out "the final solution" for the drug war, by executing those who dare to traffic in botanical godsends of which racist politicians disapprove. Yes, Joe Biden himself is part of the problem with his belief in prioritizing fear over facts and incarceration over education. Moreover, he just doesn't "get" the simple fact that prohibition causes violence, it's as simple as that. But the openly traitorous republicans, with the help of Fox News, want to take the drug war to "a whole new level" -- while turning America into a Banana Republic, by getting rid of free elections and installing demagogues by force. Surely the least we can ask of American corporations is that they do not attempt to profit from the peddling of the lies that support this ongoing effort at insurrection. Sign the petition today to tell American businesses that they will be held responsible for supporting networks that openly support insurrection.
*"Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist." -- Heather Ann Thompson, The Atlantic, 2014.
The above numbers may represent undercounts since some of these totals were compiled in late 2021.
The news media just doesn't get it -- or doesn't want to get it. Most stories about the deaths of blacks in inner cities never mention the drug war, as if the fact that prohibition led to armed gangs had nothing to do with the skyrocketing gun deaths that they're reporting on today. For a case in point, check out the article by Micaela A Watts in CommercialAppeal with the headline: "Following 346 homicides in Memphis in 2021, officials consider what's driving the violence."
Yes, that's a real poser, Micaela. The city fathers must really be scratching their heads!
The author notes three major theories for the violence, all of which have nothing to do with the drug war: "Lack of conflict resolution skills," a lack of "fair wages," and (get this) poor mental health.
Looks like the city officials failed to ask themselves why city residents were armed to the teeth in the first place. Hello? That was due to the drugs warriors' substance prohibition which incentivized the poor and poorly educated young people to get into the fantastically profitable business of selling drugs!!!
Substance prohibition created drug gangs and cartels just as surely as liquor prohibition created the Mafia.
Yes, drug warrior, YOU are responsible for these deaths. You! It's a natural result of your ban on medical godsends, some of which have inspired entire religions and have the potential for treating (if not curing) such diverse conditions as Alzheimer's, autism, and depression.
Drug War Victim of the Day
killed in Prince Georges County, Maryland on August 15, 2022
Southeast Washington DC remains a no-go zone, even for UPS drivers, as this latest shooting incident points out, which is 1 in 6 shootings that have taken place in the last week, two of them fatal. If this were happening in Hollywood, California, it would be a scandal. But movie stars are people, and victims of the drug war, especially when poor and black, are what Noam Chomsky calls 'unpeople.'
Yes, even the director of "Bamboozled" is bamboozled about drugs. He agrees with the drug warrior lie that there are psychoactive substances in nature that have no positive uses whatsoever, in any place, any time, any context. This superstitious way of thinking has forced me to go without godsend medicine my entire life. Thanks, Spike. Why do you want people to become drug-hating Christian Scientists, exactly? These things that you call "drugs" have inspired entire religions. The conservatives are laughing as they rush to the polls to elect fascists, because they have bamboozled Spike Lee himself to sign off on the drug war which brings death and incarceration to inner city blacks. Throw away that "just say no" teddy bear with which you were bribed in childhood, Spike, and open your eyes.
Mangual is the author of 'Cities got deadlier in 2020: What's behind the spike in homicides?' in which he never once mentioned the drug war!
Here's my letter to his website:
Hi, Rafael. Just wanted to suggest that you start holding the drug war responsible for inner-city violence -- since substance prohibition incentivized 'dealing' in poor neighborhoods and the guns soon followed. Because no one mentions this 64,000-pound Gorilla, Trump is able to blame the deaths on Democrats, so that, rather than ending the violence-causing drug war, he can begin executing the blacks that drug warriors were previously happy with merely incarcerating.
The Secret World: A History of Intelligence.
New Haven: Yale University Press, 2019.
All warfare is based on deception, said Sun Tzu. Yes, but what is all deception based on? A mistrust of one's fellows. And how do you combat that, Chris? With empathogens like MDMA and psilocybin.
London: East India Publishing Company, 2021.
Pious drug warriors have usually thought of Marcus Aurelius as the perfect replacement for bad evil drugs -- but Marcus had his cake and ate it too. He philosophized under the influence of opium (but don't tell the kids!)
Alice in Wonderland: The Original 1865 Edition With Complete Illustrations By Sir John Tenniel.
New York: Amazon, 2021.
Alice's shroom-powered adventures are a standing reproach to glum-faced drug warriors, who closely resemble the Queen of Hearts, shouting: "Off with their heads, for using godsend medicines of which I disapprove!"
De Quincey, Thomas.
Confessions of an English Opium Eater.
New York: Dover, 1995.
During De Quincey's informed opium use, he "partook" only weekly in order to better enjoy the opera, making his weekday life happier as well, however, thanks to anticipation of use, a benefit of which materialist science takes no account.
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner .
New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018.
A stark reminder that the world is living under a nuclear sword of Damocles. And why? Because it demonizes all the godsend medicines (like MDMA and shrooms) that could bring humanity together in universal harmony.
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys .
New York: Park Street Press, 2011.
First-hand accounts of psychological breakthroughs achieved with the guided use of entheogens, suggesting that one-time givens like "character" and "human nature" are far more susceptible to improvement than we thought.
A Disease in the Public Mind: Why We Fought the Civil War.
New York: Da Capo Press, 2014.
The late historian Fleming cites the popular mob-led public "diseases" of Witch-Hunting, Liquor Prohibition, and Communism -- yet says nothing about the Drug War, which was the great disease in the public mind of his own time!!!
Liberalism and Its Discontents.
New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2022.
Great bipartisan insights, BUT... Francis reckons without the drug war, so, like a good drug warrior, he blames all the ills caused by prohibition on the politically created boogieman called "drugs."
The Dream of Enlightenment: the Rise of Modern Philosophy.
New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2016.
The author seems unaware of the increasingly clear ability of empathogens like MDMA and shrooms to improve the very human nature which grumps like Hobbes portray as being so irrevocably fixed.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics.
New York: HarperWave, 2020.
Julie claims that Nixon criminalized psychedelics for health reasons. What? That's not the Nixon I know. He said himself that Leary was enemy #1. He was removing "users" from the voting rolls, not protecting them.
The Doors of Perception / Heaven and Hell.
New York: Penguin Books, 1970.
Huxley's speculations about perception jibe with modern science, which finds that human beings see what is presumably useful to them, not necessarily what is "really there" in the sensory-rich physical world.
The Birth of the Modern.
New York: Harper Collins, 1991.
Johnson says that opium caused Samuel Taylor Coleridge's problems. Nonsense. Lack of education and irresponsibility causes problems. As Johnson himself says, most Brits used opium as needed without trouble.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead .
New York: University Books, 1964.
Americans have been primed by the drug-war zeitgeist to consider everything Leary writes as nonsense. But he was the first one to announce loudly and clearly that what's really nonsensical is to outlaw plant medicine.
The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath.
New York: Del Rey Books, 1970.
Lovecraft's work is full of opiate imagery that drug warriors want to render impossible for artists to feel: "I would often drift in opiate peace through the valley and the shadowy groves..." (Ex-Oblivione)
In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction.
Toronto: Vintage Canada, 2009.
Gabriel moralizes "addiction." Addiction, however, is a political term. One can use psychoactive Big Pharma meds every day and be a good patient -- use heroin every day, however, and you're just escaping "inner pain." What?
Maupassant, Guy de.
Le Horla et autres contes fantastiques - Guy de Maupassant: Les classiques du fantastique .
Paris: , 2019.
In "La Horla," Maupassant anticipates Huxley by speculating that our perceptual habits blind us to a world of wonders. Many of today's demonized drugs, it appears, can at least partially open our eyes to that world.
Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge A Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution .
New York: Bantam, 1992.
This was the book that reminded me of what I already vaguely knew: that it is tyrannical insanity for a government to outlaw plants. McKenna's philosophical speculations on why we criminalize inspired me to create abolishthedea.com.
Miller, Richard Louis.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, and Ayahuasca Kindle .
New York: Park Street Press, 2017.
Informative interviews with movers-and-shakers in the field, including Rick Doblin, Stanislav Grof, James Fadiman, David Nichols and Robert Whitaker. Packed with eye-opening one-liners about godsend meds.
Out of our Heads.
New York: HiII&Wang,, 2010.
Noe reveals how patients with "locked-in" syndrome have reported being supremely aware of their surroundings during their supposedly brain-dead coma, a fact that puts in question our materialist assumptions about consciousness.
When Plants Dream.
New York: Watkins Publishing, 2019.
I find philosophical problems with most of the books that I read on the subject of psychoactive medicine, but Daniel Pinchbeck is one of the few authors who could teach me a few things on this topic.
Poe, Edgar Allan.
The Essential Poe.
New York: Warbler Classics, 2020.
Because drug warriors never mention the good side of "drugs," we must turn to Poe to learn, for instance, that morphine can bring a surreal appreciation of Mother Nature (see "A Tale of the Ragged Mountains").
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence .
New York: Penguin Books, 2018.
Pollan has yet to realize that the very term "drugs" is just a modern pejorative epithet for "plant medicine of which botanically clueless politicians disapprove. "
Reynolds, David S..
Beneath the American Renaissance: The Subversive Imagination in the Age of Emerson and Melville .
New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.
Exhaustively researched account of the 19th-century zeitgeist, and yet the word "drugs" (as defined, or rather derided, by today's drug warrior) is never even used. Last century's boogieman was liquor, it seems, not "drugs."
Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences Hardcover.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
The psychedelic experience was once characterized as pharmacologically induced madness. Richards shows how the properly guided experience can lead to sanity instead -- and a way of life that is not self-destructive.
Diary of a Dirty Little War: The Spanish-American War of 1898 .
Connecticut: Praeger, 2000.
The war took place 16 years before anti-Chinese Drug Warriors criminalized the poppy plant, and yet opium is only mentioned with regard to a group of unimaginative volunteers who smoked some and "couldn't see the point."
Edmund Burke: A Genius Reconsidered.
New York: Arlington House, 1967.
Burke was a conservative in a sense, but he would not recognize America's Republican party of today. He would surely have seen that prohibition causes all the problems we ascribe to "drugs," and then some.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.
New York: Penguin, 2014.
In 1980, the Air Force nearly blew up Arkansas and irradiated half the country. When Reagan took office the next year, what was his priority? Outlawing plant medicine that could make our species less warlike.
Red Star Rogue: The Untold Story of a Soviet Submarine's Nuclear Strike Attempt on the U.S. .
New York: Pocket Star, 2006.
On March 7, 1968, a rogue Soviet submarine nearly blew up Pearl Harbor with a thermonuclear bomb. Instead of launching a war on nukes, then-President Nixon launched a war on medicines that could inspire peace, love and understanding.
The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler.
New York: RosettaBooks, 2011.
Paraphrase from book: "No one who has not lived for years in a DRUG WAR SOCIETY can possibly conceive how difficult it is to escape the dread consequences of a regime's calculated and incessant propaganda."
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds.
Back Bay Books: Boston, 2019.
Despite griping about the weight she's put on from taking her daily 'meds,' Slater gives Big Pharma a big fat mulligan for consigning 1 in 4 American women like herself to a lifetime of chemical dependency on SSRI antidepressants.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences .
New York: Park Street Press, 2001.
Rick doubts DMT's therapeutic usefulness, but common sense psychology suggests that any break from full-on introspection would be a treat, notwithstanding materialists who aren't even sure that laughing gas could help the depressed!!!
Ceremonial Chemistry: the ritual persecution of drugs, addicts, and pushers.
New York: Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1974.
Filled with inconvenient truths that critics ignore rather than refute, including how politicized science tells us a la God: "Eat of the fruit and you shall die," ignoring the fact that education tells us how to eat of that fruit safely.
Our Right to Drugs: The case for a free market.
New York: Praeger, 1992.
Chock-a-block with all-too-rare common sense: "Doctors, lawyers and politicians started the War on Drugs and continue to wage it, and they are its real beneficiaries -- the drug war's ostensible beneficiaries... are its victims."
Tyler, George R..
Billionaire Democracy: The Hijacking of the American Political System.
Michigan: Pegasus Books, 2016.
Doesn't mention drugs, but illustrates how drug reform can be stymied by just 3% of the public: namely, those holding stock in Big Pharma, etc., especially when these elites can bribe politicians to retain the status quo.
Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America .
New York: Crown, 2010.
Prohibition has facilitated the creation of a psychiatric pill mill upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life. Moreover, these pills cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix.
Zuboff , Shoshana.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power.
New York: Public Affairs, 2019.
Surveillance capitalists and drug warriors share the same goal: to keep human beings predictable: one by rendering us more robot-like and the other by denying us the mind-improving blessings of psychoactive medicine
There are an absolute LEGION of online articles and newspaper stories that get it wrong about so-called drugs. Even those in favor of drug law reform have been subject to drug war propaganda from childhood (and they probably have a DARE teddy bear to prove it!) so speak truth to nonsense and comment on the articles that get it wrong.
Bloody disgusting fact: The Drug War brought almost 800 deaths to Chicago in 2021 by incentivizing the hugely profitable sale of psychoactive medicine in poor communities. And now Trump and his fellow fascist drug warriors want to use that violence as an excuse to KILL drug dealers via execution! Any community leaders supporting the drug war are complicit in this genocide. For as Heather Ann Thompson wrote in The Atlantic in 2014: "Without the War on Drugs, the level of gun violence that plagues so many poor inner-city neighborhoods today simply would not exist."
How America can end inner-city homicides overnight in three easy steps:
Re-legalize Mother Nature's plant medicines
Treat substance abuse as a health problem
Buy back inner-city guns at double their purchase price (even triple the price would be a huge bargain in the long run)
This will, of course, be a huge sacrifice for everyday Americans, who do love their drug war, bless them.