mericans are always trying to fit the downsides of prohibition (cold turkey, drug overdoses, incarceration, etc.) into a puritanical narrative, casting the victim of Drug War policy as a wayward soul in need of religion (or at least a "higher power") and a therapeutic realization of their own nothingness in the great scheme of things (which is ironic, since that's a humbling worldview that the Drug Warriors who create all these problems would never, ever think of adopting for themselves). What I hadn't realized until now, however, is that the practice of "tapering" a drug in the age of the Drug War is also a puritanical practice.
To see this clearly, ask yourself the following question: would a drug dealer tell you to "taper" a drug that you did not enjoy? No, of course not. He or she would tell you to ratchet up the use of a drug that worked better for you. The only reason we promote tapering is because we have outlawed all the better substances that one might use in the case of a problem - and the fact that removing a psychoactive drug without replacing it creates issues that allow us to medicalize and moralize the experience of the "taperer," thereby creating jobs for therapists and keeping the drug user cast as the prodigal son or daughter, only lately coming home to a hypocritically defined "sobriety" and a higher power (ideally, of course, to the Christian God of the average Drug Warrior).
This is why I have no interest in getting off of Effexor, despite the fact that it tranquilizes me and turns me into a ward of the healthcare state. I am a 64-year-old with a busy work schedule, I do not have time to devote my "golden years" to a psychologically nerve-wracking struggle with withdrawal, not in an age in which all the medicines that could guide me through the experience (empathogens, opium, coca, speed...) have been outlawed.
Because the last thing that the Drug Warrior wants is for a user (even of a legal medicine) to get off of a psychoactive medicine easily. Then there is no way to open clinics for them and make a business model out of helping them, or a career in criminology out of arresting them. Then there is no way to cast the withdrawal experience as a moral drama, with the devil sitting over my left shoulder, urging me to continue using, and the angel sitting over my right shoulder, urging me to keep the course, full speed ahead to the monotheistic and self-denying religion of my forebears.
As always, materialist science abets this anti-patient approach by fretting that scientific onlookers need to keep their variables straight. When the withdrawal process involves multiple drugs (one that you're tapering off and others that you're ratcheting up), it is impossible to know which drug is doing what. And since the rights of the materialist come before those of the patient, the obvious answer to this dilemma is to deny the "taperer" additional medicines until such time as they have "gotten off" of the undesired substance.
If I had that much "psychological downtime" to throw away in my life, I would devote it to moving to a country or state that's less determined on throwing me in jail for improving my mental attitude with godsend medicines.
This is the evil of the Drug War: they portray it like they're jailing scumbags (black and poor), but what they are really doing is jailing those who seek to improve their lives, advisedly or otherwise. Besides, it's racist to the hilt. When Betty Ford announced the fact that she was abusing Valium (whatever that means), Americans pitied and respected her and ultimately praised her for developing treatment protocols for rich, white, respectable women like herself who wanted to return to the hypocritical sobriety of the Drug Warrior.
It never occurred to Betty that folks were using Valium for a reason, and that if long-term Valium use proved to be problematic, it did not therefore follow that any and all drug use was problematic. That's like saying that Amoxicillin did not work so there's no use in trying azithromycin.
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 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.
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.
5% of proceeds from the sale of the above product will go toward getting Brian a decent haircut for once. Honestly. 9% will go toward shoes. 50% will go toward miscellaneous. 9% of the remainder will go toward relaxation, which could encompass anything from a spin around town to an outdoor barbecue at Brian's brother's house in Stanardsville (both gas and the ice-cream cake that Brian usually supplies).
You have been reading essays by the Drug War Philosopher, Brian Quass, at abolishthedea.com. 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.
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. Oh, and did I mention that most Drug Warriors these days would never get elected were it not for the Drug War itself, which threw hundreds of thousands of their political opposition in jail? Trump was right for the wrong reasons: elections are being stolen in America, but the number-one example of that fact is his own narrow victory in 2016, which could never have happened without the existence of laws that were specifically written to keep Blacks and minorities from voting. The Drug War, in short, is a cancer on the body politic.
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)
Andrew, Christopher "The Secret World: A History of Intelligence" 2019 Yale University Press
Aurelius, Marcus "Meditations" 2021 East India Publishing Company