bird icon for twitter

Open Letter to Erica Zelfand

or at least to her gatekeeper

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

June 29, 2024

i, folks.

Is there any way that I can communicate with Erica Zelfand1? I'm a 65-year-old veteran user of antidepressants and I am going to get off during a year with the help of psilocybin, San Pedro cactus, and other drugs, including, eventually ayahuasca.

I have written hundreds of essays on this topic and would really like to share my feelings as someone who has been on the receiving end of psychiatry's nostrums for 40 years.

To me, the common sense way to get off Effexor in a year would be to get the "meds" compounded such that each successive pill contains 364/365th dose of the previous pill.

This is common sense, but my latest psychiatrist wants to do 37.5 at a time and then make me count pilules!

Where can I find someone who will compound the drug for me? Why do psychiatrists insist that I do what's best and easiest for THEM, not for myself?

Also, it makes psychological common sense that I can get off Effexor by using psilocybin, not just once, but in the microdosing recommended by Paul Stamets.

This makes perfect psychological common sense and yet my psychiatrist is less than interested in it.

As you can tell, I have issues with psychiatry because of its focus on what's easiest for the psychiatrist.

But no one I write to on this subject responds to me, so I'm not sure why I'm trying.

Hope to hear from Erica, though.


An eternal patient thanks to the psychiatric pill mill.

PS Also, I'm tired of the talk about mushrooms not being "proven" yet. They have been proven for THOUSANDS OF YEARS. I should not have to wait for materialist science to catch up with common sense.

Author's Follow-up: June 29, 2024

picture of clock metaphorically suggesting a follow-up

I fear this letter is a little terse, but that's what happens when you're ignored long enough: your frustration starts to seep into your prose. It's partly because I composed this letter while thinking about the way that I was basically blown off by my new psychiatrist.2


1 Erica Zelfand, 2024 (up)
2 Quass, Brian, What the psychiatrist said when I told him I wanted to get off Effexor, 2024 (up)

Next essay: Learn Drug War Spanish Here
Previous essay: What the psychiatrist said when I told him I wanted to get off Effexor

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

If media were truly free in America, you'd see documentaries about people who use drugs safely, something that's completely unimaginable in the age of the drug war.
Ann Lemke's case studies make the usual assumptions: getting free from addiction is a morality tale. No reference to how the drug war promotes addiction and how banned drugs could solve such problems. She does not say why daily SSRI use is acceptable while daily opium use is not. Etc.
Over 45% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by horseback riding (ABC News). Tell your representatives to outlaw horseback riding and make it a federal offence to teach a child how to ride! Brought to you by the Partnership for a Death Free America.
Peyote advocates should be drug legalization advocates. Otherwise, they're involved in special pleading which is bound to result in absurd laws, such as "Plant A can be used in a religion but not plant B," or "Person A can belong to such a religion but person B cannot."
This is the "Oprah fallacy," which has led to so much suffering. She told women they were fools if they accepted a drink from a man. That's crazy. If we are terrified by such a statistically improbable event, we should be absolutely horrified by horses and skateboards.
The book "Plants of the Gods" is full of plants and fungi that could help addicts and alcoholics, sometimes in the plant's existing form, sometimes in combinations, sometimes via extracting alkaloids, etc. But drug warriors need addiction to sell their prohibition ideology.
Alcohol is a drug in liquid form. If drug warriors want to punish people who use drugs, they should start punishing themselves.
My approach to withdrawal: incrementally reduce daily doses over 6 months, or even a year, meanwhile using all the legal entheogens and psychedelics that you can find in a way likely to boost your endurance and "sense of purpose" to make withdrawal successful.
The December Scientific American features a story called "The New Nuclear Age," about a trillion-dollar plan to add 100s of ICBM's to 5 states, which an SA editorial calls "kick me" signs. This Neanderthal plan comes from pols who think that compassion-boosting drugs are evil!
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.
More Tweets

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, Open Letter to Erica Zelfand: or at least to her gatekeeper, published on June 29, 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)