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Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher




December 29, 2022

n the 2019 movie "Four Good Days," (a classic piece of moralistic Drug War agitprop) the heroin-addicted daughter of an uptight and wine-swilling housewife (played by Glenn Close, shame on her) is sent to a $3,000-a-week rehab unit, where, after three days of cold turkey, a pompous and self-satisfied doctor administers a shot of Naltrexone and sends her on her not-so-merry way. That's it. Out of all the medications in the world the doctor could provide (including the hundreds of insight-provoking drugs discovered by Alexander Shulgin), the doctor only has one option: a drug that is specifically designed to give the user as little pleasure as possible and to make it chemically impossible for her to enjoy opiates of any kind in the future.

This is what passes for addiction treatment in modern America: we willfully ignore the very reason that the subject was "getting high" in the first place: namely to obtain self-transcendence and peace of mind.

There are hundreds of medicines that could improve an addict's (habitue's) mood and help them get on with life; even potentially addictive drugs could be used safely for this purpose if scheduled appropriately (on a calendar I mean, not on the DEA's mendacious scheduling system). And yet the Puritan medical industry has only one over-riding goal when it comes to addiction treatment: to make sure that the user's original desire for self-transcendence is never satisfied.

Andrew Weil got it half right: he said that drugs like methadone do not treat the real issue. But the real issue is not some Freudian crisis that the user has suppressed with drugs, the real issue is not chemical imbalance -- the real issue is that the user sought a good snappy feeling which helped her "get her head together." There is nothing pathological about that. We all want that, presumably. Sure, she chose an unreliable way to cater to that desire, if only because she lives in the age of a Drug War that is designed to make her fail in her quest for pharmacologically aided peace of mind, but that does not mean that the desire for mental clarity and euphoria is pathological in itself or the sign of some underlying pathology.

Modern addiction treatment is part of America's imperialist project to demonize and eradicate medicines that have been politically deemed to be without any beneficial uses according to Puritan Western politicians (as if any substance can have no good uses whatsoever, in any dose, at any time, for any person, ever). In foreign policy, we stalk abroad to wipe out poppy fields against the desires of the locals; in domestic policy, the government creates drugs that are designed to make self-transcendence biochemically impossible.

This is not science: this is Christian Science, the religion that tells us that "drugs" are bad and that we should get joy and self-transcendence from a lifetime of effort. The stingy and stinting modern addiction "treatment" represents the puritan punishment of those who seek relief through something other than hard work and booze. The goal of the Drug War is to get us to live by America's hypocritical Puritan values. It is indoctrination in a certain kind of lifestyle, namely the lifestyle of the Christian Scientist. Addiction treatment under this system is not motivated by science but rather by the government's desire to turn Americans into God-fearing puritans -- citizens who have been infantilized by drug law, told that they are powerless before "drugs" and that they must acknowledge a "higher power" in order to be cured.

This is puritan indoctrination, not addiction treatment.

Author's Follow-up: December 29, 2022



Had the US Government been installed in the Indus Valley in 1500 BCE, there would be no Vedic-Hindu religion today. America would have outlawed soma, the natural medicine that inspired the religion. Defiant soma users would then have been forced to switch to a government-supplied replacement for soma: but that replacement would be tweaked so that it would provide no inspiration at all.




Next essay: What Terence McKenna Got Wrong About Drugs
Previous essay: What Andrew Weil Got Wrong

More Essays Here


ADDICTION

ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
Until we get rid of all these obstacles to safe and informed use, it's presumptuous to explain problematic drug use with theories about addiction. Drug warriors are rigging the deck in favor of problematic use. They refuse to even TEACH non-problematic use.
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Chesterton might as well have been speaking about the word 'addiction' when he wrote the following: "It is useless to have exact figures if they are exact figures about an inexact phrase."
Chesterton wrote that, once you begin outlawing things on grounds of health, you open a Pandora's box. This is because health is not a quality, it's a balance. To decide legality based on 'health' grounds thus opens a Pandora's box of different points of view.
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.
The government causes problems for those who are habituated to certain drugs. Then they claim that these problems are symptoms of an illness. Then folks like Gabriel Mate come forth to find the "hidden pain" in "addicts." It's one big morality play created by drug laws.
Getting off antidepressants can make things worse for only one reason: because we have outlawed all the drugs that could help with the transition. Right now, getting off any drug basically means become a drug-free Christian Scientist. No wonder withdrawal is hard.
To put it another way: in a sane world, we would learn to strategically fight drugs with drugs.
Using the billions now spent on caging users, we could end the whole phenomena of both physical and psychological addiction by using "drugs to fight drugs." But drug warriors do not want to end addiction, they want to keep using it as an excuse to ban drugs.
Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic.
And this is before we even start spending those billions on research that are currently going toward arresting minorities.
When doctors try to treat addiction without using any godsend medicines, they are at best Christian Scientists and at worst quacks. They are like the doctors in Moliere's "M
As Moliere demonstrated in the hilarious finale, anyone can be THAT kind of doctor by mastering a little Latin and walking around pompously in the proper uniform.
Like the pompous white-coated doctor in the movie "Four Good Days" who ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.
ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Antidepressants in the time of the drug war are like cars in a time when combustion engines are outlawed. Such "cars" may bounce you from point A to point B somehow, but we wouldn't be taking them seriously except for the prohibition on combustion engines. Re-legalize NATURE!
America's "health" system was always screaming at me about the threat of addiction from drugs. Then what did it do? It put me on the most dependence-causing meds of all time: SSRIs and SNRIs.
Here's one problem that supporters of the psychiatric pill mill never address: the fact that Big Pharma antidepressants demoralize users by turning them into patients for life.
Rather than protesting prohibition as a crackdown on academic freedom, today's scientists are collaborating with the drug war by promoting shock therapy and SSRIs, thereby profiting from the monopoly that the drug war gives them in selling mind and mood medicine.
There are endless drugs that could help with depression. Any drug that inspires and elates is an antidepressant, partly by the effect itself and partly by the mood-elevation caused by anticipation of use (facts which are far too obvious for drug warriors to understand).
But materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
In his book "Salvia Divinorum: The Sage of the Seers," Ross Heaven explains how "salvinorin A" is the strongest hallucinogen in the world and could treat Alzheimer's, AIDS, and various addictions. But America would prefer to demonize and outlaw the drug.
Getting off antidepressants can make things worse for only one reason: because we have outlawed all the drugs that could help with the transition. Right now, getting off any drug basically means become a drug-free Christian Scientist. No wonder withdrawal is hard.
To put it another way: in a sane world, we would learn to strategically fight drugs with drugs.
That's my real problem with SSRIs: If daily drug use and dependency are okay, then there's no logical or truly scientific reason why I can't smoke a nightly opium pipe.
I never said that getting off SSRIs should be done without supervision. If you're on Twitter for medical advice, you're in the wrong place.
I would want to be supervised myself -- but by someone who is free to use any other drugs in the world to help me get off drugs that have failed to work adequately but which have caused great dependence.
Psychiatrists keep flipping the script. When it became clear that SSRIs caused dependence, instead of apologizing, they told us we need to keep taking our meds. Now they even claim that criticizing SSRIs is wrong. This is anti-intellectual madness.
For those who have misunderstood me: I have no complaints about prescribing SSRIs for those already on them, if that's what the user (like myself) wants. The psychiatrists I strongly disagree with are those who claim that SSRIs are valuable in and of themselves.
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR

We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
"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.
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.
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 DRUG WAR AND RELIGION

"My faith votes and strives to outlaw religions that use substances of which politicians disapprove."
The DEA conceives of "drugs" as only justifiable in some time-honored ritual format, but since when are bureaucrats experts on religion? I believe, with the Vedic people and William James, in the importance of altered states. To outlaw such states is to outlaw my religion.
The Holy Trinity of the Drug War religion is Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and John Belushi. "They died so that you might fear psychoactive substances with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength."
Today's war against drug users is like Elizabeth I's war against Catholics. Both are religious crackdowns. For today's oppressors, the true faith (i.e., the moral way to live) is according to the drug-hating religion of Christian Science.
The Drug War is a religion. The "addict" is a sinner who has to come home to the true faith of Christian Science. In reality, neither physical nor psychological addiction need be a problem if all drugs were legal and we used them creatively to counter problematic use.
This is a "prima facie" truth, based on the already established power of drug-aided sleep cures combined with the drug-aided ministrations of a pharmacologically savvy empath, especially in a world in which we spend billions on achieving this goal, rather than on arresting users.
Unfortunately, the prohibitionist motto is: "Billions for arrest, not one cent for education." To the contrary, drug warriors are ideologically committed to withholding the truth about drugs from users.
If any master's candidates are looking for a thesis topic, consider the following: "The Drug War versus Religion: how the policy of substance prohibition outlaws the attainment of spiritual states described by William James in 'The Varieties of Religious Experience.'"

essays about
ADDICTION

The Myth of the Addictive Personality
Addicted to Ignorance
Addicted to Addiction
America's Invisible Addiction Crisis
Open Letter to Addiction Specialist Gabriel Maté
Sherlock Holmes versus Gabriel Maté
Why Louis Theroux is Clueless about Addiction and Alcoholism
In the Realm of Hungry Drug Warriors
How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale
Night of the Addicted Americans
The aesthetic difference between addiction and chemical dependency
Tapering for Jesus
How Addiction Scientists Reckon without the Drug War
How Prohibition Causes Addiction
Four reasons why Addiction is a political term
Addiction
Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts
My Cure for Addiction
The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction

essays about
ANTIDEPRESSANTS

Brahms is NOT the best antidepressant
Why SSRIs are Crap
Sending Out an SOS
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Pseudoscience of Mental Health Treatment
Lord Save us from 'Real' Cures
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill
Psychiatrists Tell Me That It's Wrong to Criticize Antidepressants
Stigmatize THIS
So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...
The Depressing Truth About SSRIs

essays about
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR

America's Puritan Obsession with Sobriety
America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:
Christian Science Rehab
Depressed? Here's why.
Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War
How Psychiatry and the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
In Praise of Doctor Feelgood
In praise of doctor hopping
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Drug War and Electroshock Therapy
The Myth of the Addictive Personality
The Prozac Code
Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans
Doctor Feel Bad
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
This is your brain on Effexor
Depression is real, says the APA, and they should know: they cause it!
The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take
The Depressing Truth About SSRIs
Don't Worry, Be Satisfied
America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam
The Origins of Modern Psychiatry
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Lord Save us from 'Real' Cures
Disease Mongering in the age of the drug war
The War on Drugs and the Psychiatric Pill Mill
What Jim Hogshire Got Wrong about Drugs
Tapering for Jesus
America's Anti-scientific Standards for Psychotherapeutic Medicine
How the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
The Whistle Blower who NOBODY wants to hear
It's the Psychedelics, Stupid!
So, you're thinking about starting on an SSRI...

essays about
PURITANISM

How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale

essays about
THE DRUG WAR AND RELIGION

How the Drug War Banned my Religion
Hey, You, Get Off Of My Creed!
What Terence McKenna Got Wrong About Drugs
Using Ecstasy in Church
Drug War Ideology:
the modern superstition

So, Your Faith Votes?
How the Drug War is the Establishment of Christian Science as the State Religion
Addicted to Christianity
Drug War U.
Majoring in Drug War Philosophy
The Drug War as a Litmus Test for Philosophical Wisdom



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You have been reading an article entitled, Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination published on December 29, 2022 on AbolishTheDEA.com. 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 abolishTheDEA.com. (philosopher's bio; go to top of this page)