Essay date: June 18, 2022

Smart Uses for Opium and Coca

and other psychoactive substances that drug warriors love to hate

he Drug War represents the preposterous unscientific notion that if a psychoactive substance can be misused by American young people (and what substance can't?), then it must not be used by anyone, anywhere, ever, for any reason whatsoever.

Do what?

Question: How did Americans ever convince the entire world to adopt this childish but fanatical Christian Science ideology toward amoral substances?

Answer: They did so by demonizing psychoactive medicine in every possible way (in movies, in television shows, in grade school DARE classes) and on the strength of the jaundiced mindset thus produced, they soon encouraged businesses to test American urine for traces of these politically despised substances to be henceforth derided as "drugs" (some of which had inspired entire religions in the past), with the goal of removing drug-war heretics from the American workforce. Mary Baker Eddy herself would be on cloud nine were she alive today, or at least on cloud 5, since she would no doubt be puzzled as to why Americans demonize mind drugs only, rather than eschewing drugs in general and so evincing ideological consistency in their otherwise religiously correct war on medicine.

Drug warriors generally justify their crackdown on heretics by saying: "If we can save one little Johnny Whitebread from dying of 'drugs,' the crackdown will have been worth it."

This attitude would only make sense (or at least be coherent) if substances really could be fairly classified as purely evil, without any potential positive uses whatsoever (as the DEA mendaciously maintains to this day), but that is just a Drug War superstition. Any substance can be used for good or ill. Any substance. Even Botulinum toxin, one of the deadliest neurotoxins on the planet, can work cosmetic and physiological wonders when used advisedly. Likewise, the supposedly evil drugs from which the Drug Warrior is forever rescuing Johnny Whitebread can be used for a wide range of amazing therapies. It's just that Drug Warriors have so successfully taught Americans to demonize psychoactive medicine, that almost no one in America (however otherwise enlightened) can even imagine such uses.

This blindness to godsend therapies is then exacerbated by the fact that the materialist medical mindset is never happy with drugs that simply make us, well, happy. The field of psychiatry has physics envy after all. They can only believe in drugs that work via some reductionist mechanism that can be clearly described and applied to human beings en masse. This is why Dr. Robert Glatter can write an article in Forbes magazine with the following laughable title: "Can Laughing Gas Help People with Treatment-resistant Depression"?

What? Only a materialist could ask such a question. Of course it would help. Common sense psychology tells us so. But materialists like Glatter are always blocking the depressed person's way to such godsend therapies. How? By pretending to doubt the glaringly obvious, namely, that N2O could help the depressed. Of course, what Glatter & Co really mean when they gainsay such a self-evident proposition is that they have yet to find a reductionist neurochemical proof of such therapeutic power, and so that means, from a materialist point of view, that N2O is not "really" helping the depressed - no matter how loudly the patient may laugh during therapy.

What such doctors should remember is that some of us depressed chappies are not materialists. We believe that it's more than enough that a substance like N2O merely works for us. We have no need or desire for it to REALLY work for us, in some way that would satisfy the reductionist onlooker. Indeed, the insistence on "real" reductionist cures for conditions like depression has sparked the greatest chemical dependency of all times, as 1 in 4 American women must take Big Pharma meds every day of their life thanks to the creation of SSRIs that purported to correct a chemical imbalance that they actually create. And so doctors, under the pay of Big Pharma, appear on Oprah Winfrey to remind Americans that they must "keep taking their meds." After all, the pills are made scientifically. They don't just crudely make you happy, like, say, N2O or opium. Anything can make you happy. These drugs REALLY make you happy because they are scientific, don't ya know? Or such was the original claim, although it's been 60 years since these "scientific" cures were first employed in psychiatry, and America is now the most depressed country on the planet - and the most chemically dependent to boot.

Once we remove the twin blinders of drug-hating Christian Science ideology and reductive materialism, the world is our oyster when it comes to mental therapies, not simply when it comes to treating the depressed but when it comes to pedagogy and teaching compassion, experientially, that is, not through mere words. Absent our superstitious aversion to psychoactive drugs, MDMA and psilocybin could be used therapeutically to help "haters" experience love, thereby preventing school shootings. Morphine could be used non-addictively to instil a deep appreciation of mother nature in the hitherto self-satisfied boor. Methamphetamine could be used non-addictively in group therapy in the open air, wherein emotional honesty and creativity could be therapeutically encouraged. The opium poppy could be used non-addictively to inspire creative dreams in struggling authors, followed in a week, perhaps, by a writing session in which said authors compose stories a la HG Wells with the mind-refreshing assistance of the coca plant.

These are just a few of the seemingly endless list of drug-fueled therapies that suggest themselves the moment that we stop demonizing drugs as somehow being bad in and of themselves, without regard for the circumstances of their use.

Of course, the effectiveness of these politically incorrect treatments would depend largely on the ability of the guide (whom I suppose to be a sort of "pharmacologically savvy empath") to establish an emotional and physical set and setting that conduces to the achievement of the therapeutic goals of the drug-aided activity in question. It must be remembered, also, that a significant part of the therapeutic value of such treatments would derive from the mood-elevating anticipation of the upcoming happiness that it engenders in the participant, although materialists generally pay short shrift to such intangible and, as it were, tangential benefits. Of course, it will be objected that we have no proof of the effectiveness of such treatment "modalities," but that's only because the Drug Warrior has done everything in their power to keep us from even IMAGINING such treatments, let alone implementing them.

Besides, we DO have proof of the evil that sober human beings can do to one another when they fail to transcend self (whether with the help of psychoactive medicine or not). Salvador Ramos was apparently sober as a judge when he gunned down 21 in Uvalde, Texas. Adam Lanza appears to have "just said no" in grade school like everybody else, and yet as an adult, he complacently mowed down 26 in Newtown, Massachusetts. Stephen Paddock could have passed a drug test with flying colors on the day when he killed 59 and injured over 500 in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2017.

Surely after such outrages, we have prima facie evidence of the necessity to put all gloomy loners on a solid regime of compassion-enhancing drugs - to say nothing of politicians who have their all-too-human fingers on the nuclear trigger.

But again, the mere thought of such treatment is impossible in a world that has been raised on the Drug Warrior lie, namely, that psychoactive drugs can be bad in and of themselves, without respect for why, how or when they are used.

Next essay: Open letter to Kenneth Sewell
Previous essay: Have you been brainwashed by the drug war?

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old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches

You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at Brian is the founder of The Drug War Gift Shop, where artists can feature and sell their protest artwork online. He has also written for Sociodelic and is the author of The Drug War Comic Book, which contains 150 political cartoons illustrating some of the seemingly endless problems with the war on drugs -- many of which only Brian seems to have noticed, by the way, judging by the recycled pieties that pass for analysis these days when it comes to "drugs." That's not surprising, considering the fact that the category of "drugs" is a political category, not a medical or scientific one.

A "drug," as the world defines the term today, is "a substance that has no good uses for anyone, ever, at any time, under any circumstances" -- and, of course, there are no substances of that kind: even cyanide and the deadly botox toxin have positive uses: a war on drugs is therefore unscientific at heart, to the point that it truly qualifies as a superstition, one in which we turn inanimate substances into boogie-men and scapegoats for all our social problems.

The Drug War is, in fact, the philosophical problem par excellence of our time, premised as it is on a raft of faulty assumptions (notwithstanding the fact that most philosophers today pretend as if the drug war does not exist). It is a war against the poor, against minorities, against religion, against science, against the elderly, against the depressed, against those in pain, against children in hospice care, and against philosophy itself. It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions, Nazifies the English language and militarizes police forces nationwide.

It bans the substances that inspired William James' ideas about human consciousness and the nature of ultimate reality. In short, it causes all of the problems that it purports to solve, and then some, meanwhile violating the Natural Law upon which Thomas Jefferson founded America. (Surely, Jefferson was rolling over in his grave when Ronald Reagan's DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the founding father's poppy plants.)

If you believe in freedom and democracy, in America and around the world, please stay tuned for more philosophically oriented broadsides against the outrageous war on godsend medicines, AKA the war on drugs.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher

PS The drug war has not failed: to the contrary, it has succeeded, insofar as its ultimate goal was to militarize police forces around the world and help authorities to ruthlessly eliminate those who stand in the way of global capitalism. For more, see Drug War Capitalism by Dawn Paley.

Rather than apologetically decriminalizing selected plants, we should be demanding the immediate restoration of Natural Law, according to which "The earth, and all that is therein, is given to men for the support and comfort of their being." (John Locke)
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