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Night of the Addicted Americans

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 21, 2023

f 40 years' of experience means anything, DJ Nutt and the entire field of psychiatry are wrong. Antidepressants have been a HUGE mistake. They have rendered me personally less interesting and tired me out, making me absolutely unable to muster the enthusiasm of my youth. They have robbed me of my creativity. They have stolen my soul. If you came up behind me and shouted boo, there would be a delayed response. Spontaneity has become increasingly foreign to me over the decades of socially sanctioned pill popping.

Imagine what it says about America that 1 in 4 of its population needs some kind of tranquilizing medicine in order to be able to conform peaceably to the materialist status quo.

Antidepressants combined with prohibition is no way to treat depression: it is a way to manufacture depression, by denying us hundreds of godsends that could cheer us up and inspire us, under the harebrained and hypocritical theory that any drug which is potentially addictive must be avoided entirely - except, of course, when they're created by Big Pharma, in which case it becomes our moral duty to take them every day of our lives.

How has America arrived at this huge pharmacological dystopia, one so big that it is invisible to modern pundits?

The American religion is scientism, and so we fell for the argument that Big Pharma was going to treat all human sadness scientifically.

What a coup for conservatives: their natural enemies were no longer getting together to fight corporate power and income disparity: they were getting together instead to compare medicine lists and see "who's on what" and how their latest Big Pharma tranquilizers were working viz. their previous prescriptions.

If I had it to do again, I would rather die than be "started on antidepressants." I would go to the black market and take my chances.

This is why I hate the phrase "treatment resistant depression," because it implies that Big Pharma has conquered depression - it's just that some folks are resistant to the panacea just as some folks are allergic to milk.


If Big Pharma has conquered sadness, it is only because they have rendered Americans impervious to both happiness AND sadness. Big Pharma has merely made us able to tolerate the materialist status quo that we otherwise might have been so gauche as to deride and scorn.

Author's Follow-up: March 21, 2023

It's hard to write honestly about the Drug War -- almost nobody does because it requires calling out Big Pharma drugs that are used by at least 25% of Americans. So if one is interested in gaining "followers," they're tempted to avoid the topic entirely. The problem is that if everyone avoids the topic, things will never change.

We must not evaluate antidepressants in the abstract, asking merely "Do they make sense as therapy?" but rather "Do they make sense given the fact that the Drug War outlaws almost all psychoactive medicines?" I submit that no one in their right mind would take antidepressants (and certainly no one in their right mind SHOULD take antidepressants) if psychoactive medicines were legal. The former drugs will make you a patient for life and tranquilize you, while the latter drugs will inspire you and many of them are not even habit forming.

Moreover, even if they're habit-forming, so what? They still would not turn you into an eternal patient, with all the expense and stigma that represents. Moreover, psychiatry has no problem with making lifetime drug users with antidepressants: the fact that they disapprove of all other dependence-causing psychoactive medicine is a philosophical and business call, not a scientific one. They value a subdued patient -- but that is not my goal in life: my goal is to thrive in life.

Author's Follow-up: August 6, 2023

I recently got a Tweet from a psychiatrist who told me that SSRIs would still be desired and prescribed when all medicines were legal. If that turned out to be true, it would only be because prohibition was not accompanied by the promotion and unbiased understanding of all drugs. There are drugs out there so wonderful viz SSRIs that they make one laugh and cry and feel reborn. Under the right conditions, they can improve and sharpen your goals in life and make you want to live. The psych in question simply does not know about such drugs. Otherwise he would never have said that SSRIs should still have a role.

"Let's see: 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.

Next essay: The Criminalization of Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter
Previous essay: Science Set Free... NOT!

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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.

essays about

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
Modern Addiction Treatment as Puritan Indoctrination
How the Drug War Turns the Withdrawal Process into a Morality Tale
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
Some Tough Love for Drug Addicts
My Cure for Addiction
The FDA's Hypocritical Concern about Addiction

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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You have been reading an article entitled, Night of the Addicted Americans published on March 21, 2023 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)