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News Flash: Drug Use Can Be a Good Thing!

regarding the lopsided focus on harm reduction

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 22, 2022

hen I first became fascinated with the potential for psychoactive therapy a few years ago, I started visiting, at which point I suddenly began noticing many references to "harm reduction." This struck me as a trifle odd, not because harm reduction is a bad thing, but merely because of the extreme emphasis placed upon that one aspect of substance use. I would regularly see notices of public get-togethers from Maps to discuss psychedelic therapy. But no sooner would I get my suitcase out of my closet when I would realize that the rendezvous in question was going to be discussing "harm reduction," almost to the exclusion of anything else. I was invited to Burning Man to meet with fellow Maps devotees, for instance; upon reading the fine print, however, it turned out that the group traveling to Nevada was going to be focusing on... you guessed it, "harm reduction." Since then I joined Twitter (God forgive me), where I hoped to find a plethora of state and local organizations devoted to ending the hateful and anti-scientific war on drugs, but again, the only obvious "plethora" I found on that platform consisted of organizations devoted to "harm reduction."

Of course, upon mature reflection, this made a lot of sense to me. The Drug War clearly puts would-be users in harm's way, first because prohibition incentivizes the sale of unsafe and tainted product, and second because the Drug War teaches us to fear substances rather than to understand them. (When MD Golden Mortimer solicited academic insights about coca use while writing his informative book on the subject, he was told that it was immoral to publish such a book lest the existence of such unbiased information should encourage "drug use": immoral to publish unbiased information!) The natural result is that many Americans need help now, in real-time, and it's a praiseworthy thing that these groups are rising to the challenge. I understand all that.

Yet when drug law reformers focus so exclusively on harm reduction, it leaves an odd impression, at least for the layperson who is wondering what all the fuss is about.

Think of it this way: you receive a small drone for Christmas and look online for fun, useful and/or educational ways to use it, only to find out that almost all sites on the topic are about "harm reduction," that is to say, ways to keep the downsides of drone use to an absolute minimum.

It would leave you wondering: am I the only one in the world who sees the great potential for drones in mapping the scenery, filming movies, following wildlife, searching for trespassers, etc.?

Just so with "drugs": when I see such an emphasis on "harm reduction," I wonder, am I the only one who sees the benefits that they can provide humankind: how MDMA therapy could help end school shootings, how the informed use of psychedelics could obviate the need for a lifetime of expensive and demoralizing trips to the psychiatrist, how the chewing of the coca leaf could drastically reduce the cases of depression in the world, how the strategically non-addictive use of the drugs we have learned to demonize could drastically increase our appreciation of Mother Nature, and music, and our fellow human being?

This lopsided focus on harm reduction makes me feel like the Drug Warriors have achieved their anti-scientific goal: they have convinced even the clearest thinkers among us that demonized substances have -- and can have -- no positive uses whatsoever, for anyone, at any dose, at any time, in any place, ever.

That is the unscientific dogma of the Drug War. It's unscientific because there are no such substances in the world. Even cyanide and Botox have beneficial uses.

Yes, as Drug War opponents, we need to be focusing on harm reduction. The Drug War itself has seen to that by placing "users" in harm's way. But harm reduction should not be our only focus. We need to start talking about "benefit maximization" as well. Otherwise, our lopsided focus gives the impression that the substances that we demonize as "drugs" can truly cause nothing but harm, which is the very lie that Drug War propaganda has been trying to teach us ever since we were given teddy bears in grade school in exchange for just saying "no" to the boogieman called "drugs."

Next essay: The DEA Scheduling System is Based on Lies
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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Prohibitionists have the same M O they've had for the last 100+ years: blame drugs for everything. Being a drug warrior is never having the decency to say you're sorry -- not to Mexicans, not to inner-city crime victims, not to patients who go without adequate pain relief...
I don't believe in the materialist paradigm upon which SSRIs were created, according to which humans are interchangeable chemical robots amenable to the same treatment for human sadness. Let me use laughing gas and MDMA and coca and let the materialists use SSRIs.
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.
Even the worst forms of "abuse" can be combatted with a wise use of a wide range of psychoactive drugs, to combat both physical and psychological cravings. But drug warriors NEED addiction to be a HUGE problem. That's their golden goose.
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.
"When two men who have been in an aggressive mood toward each other take part in the ritual, one is able to say to the other, 'Come, let us drink, for there is something between us.' " re: the Mayan use of the balche drink in Encyc of Psych Plants, by Ratsch & Hofmann
Amphetamines are "meds" when they help kids think more clearly but they are "drugs" when they help adults think more clearly. That shows you just how bewildered Americans are when it comes to drugs.
Had we really wanted to "help" users, we would have used the endless godsends of Mother Nature and related synthetics to provide spirit-lifting alternatives to problem use. But no one wanted to treat users as normal humans. They wanted to pathologize and moralize their use.
Materialist scientists cannot triumph over addiction because their reductive focus blinds them to the obvious: namely, that drugs which cheer us up ACTUALLY DO cheer us up. Hence they keep looking for REAL cures while folks kill themselves for want of laughing gas and MDMA.
In fact, that's what we need when we finally return to legalization: educational documentaries showing how folks manage to safely incorporate today's hated substances into their life and lifestyle.
More Tweets

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front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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

You have been reading an article entitled, News Flash: Drug Use Can Be a Good Thing!: regarding the lopsided focus on harm reduction, published on December 22, 2022 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)