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Legalizing Opiates

Some Thoughts about the Formal Recommendation for drug policy changes by Harm Reduction Specialists

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 14, 2024

or some specific ideas on creating safe supply for opiates, check out this Formal Recommendation from Harm Reduction Specialists of Philadelphia, PA.

I agree with the plan1 entirely. I love the idea of the economic impact that legalization would have on neighborhoods previously penalized by drug laws. But I do have a few caveats. These are not so much criticisms as they are "riffs" on the various topics broached in the document.

1) This document is presented as a strategy in "harm reduction," which is understandable given the current accepted narrative, according to which there is no rational reason for "drug use." Therefore we have to have harm reduction strategies in place to help save users from at least the worst possible consequences of their bad decisions2. This, of course, represents a Christian Science attitude toward drug use, however; therefore I hope that we can eventually transcend this way of framing the situation and begin talking about "benefit creation" of drug use, for drug use can actually have benefits, despite the fact that we have been indoctrinated since grade school to believe the opposite. As William Brereton notes in "The Truth About Opium,"3 nightly smokers of the drug have long lives, steady jobs, and they do not beat their wives. These are benefits.

2) This brings up a corollary issue: the document also calls for educating children in non-use. Now, that's fine if we are talking about non-use by children, but I do not think that our goal should be to make sure that children grow up as abstainers. It's one thing to worry about the safety of kids; it's another to impose our philosophical and religious principles upon those kids as adults. The fact is that smoking opium can be done safely, despite the endless lies of the Drug Warrior, and that such use does have benefits, of a poetic and temperamental kind -- real benefits -- especially when compared to the opiate derivatives which were created in response to the outlawing of opium. Moreover, we are a society in which 25% of American women take one or more Big Pharma meds every day of their life4. It is strange that we should think that this is fine -- indeed it is their medical duty -- while yet telling them to keep away from opium, a drug that medical men from Avicenna to Galen to Paracelsus considered to be a panacea.

3) I am also leery of the "prescription requirements for higher potency opioids," which essentially means the continued criminalization of the same. I think the take-home message of America's drug problems is that criminalization is the problem, so I see no need for this exception. This does not mean that we need to make higher potency opioids available on every street corner, but we need to finally learn the lesson that prohibition causes far more problems than it solves -- and so such an exception to the idea of legalization is going to have its own downsides, downsides that we never seem to take into account when we make such caveats.

4) This leads naturally to my next concern, that we have to consciously start thinking of all the many Drug War DOWNSIDES whenever we contemplate the subject of legalization versus criminalization. We cannot simply calculate the number of white American kids whom we think will or will not be "saved" by our drug laws: we must also think of the many stakeholders that we always seem to ignore. Our current opioid policy has had a ruinous effect on healthcare in India, where most hospitals no longer carry morphine. Why? Because fearmongers in the States have so demonized such drugs that hospitals have been burdened with red tape and expenses whenever they wish to use them. And so we ignore the needs of pain patients around the world when we outlaw drugs in the states5. Other stakeholders include the artists who would like to benefit from opiate insights. Another stakeholder is the philosopher, whom William James himself told us should investigate altered states. In other words, when we criminalize drugs, we think that we're just "saving junior," whereas we are actually inflicting pain and censorship on the rest of the world. But, alas, in Congress, no one can hear them scream.

5) By the way, punishing people for using drugs should be recognized as the non-sequitur that it is. We may as well harass people and remove them from the workforce for failing to follow a government approved diet.

6) We also need to limit employee drug testing to the goal of finding impairment, rather than it being a fishing expedition in search of demonized substances. It will do little good to legalize opiates if we continue to deny people jobs for actually using opiates.

7) One of the best ways to stop UNNECESSARY or FRIVOLOUS use of opiates would be by providing alternatives, and so we should legalize drugs like MDMA and laughing gas as part of our opiate program. For if opiates are the only way available for people to achieve self-transcendence in life, we should not be surprised if a lot of those people choose opiates.


1 Formal Recommendation, My Safe Supply: Harm Reduction Specialists, Philadelphia, PA, 2024 (up)
2 I do not mean to suggest that Harm Reduction Specialists holds these views, merely that these views are the accepted narrative about drug use. (up)
3 Quass, Brian, The Truth About Opium by William H. Brereton, 2023 (up)
4 Quass, Brian, Speaking Truth to Big Pharma, 2019 (up)
5 Barrett, Damon, Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People, IDEBATE Press, 2011 (up)

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William James Tweets

William James knew that there were substances that could elate. However, it never occurred to him that we should use such substances to prevent suicide. It seems James was blinded to this possibility by his puritanical assumptions.
So he writes about the mindset of the deeply depressed, reifying the condition as if it were some great "type" inevitably to be encountered in humanity. No. It's the "type" to be found in a post-Christian society that has turned up its scientific nose at psychoactive medicine.

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You have been reading an article entitled, Legalizing Opiates: Some Thoughts about the Formal Recommendation for drug policy changes by Harm Reduction Specialists, published on March 14, 2024 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)