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Tapering for Jesus

how drug warriors moralize the withdrawal process

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

June 27, 2023

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.

Next essay: Science News Continues to Ignore the Drug War
Previous essay: Open Letter to Vincent Hurley, Lecturer

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Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Materialist puritans do not want to create any drug that elates. So they go on a fool's errand to find reductionist cures for "depression itself," as if the vast array of human sadness could (or should) be treated with a one-size-fits-all readjustment of brain chemicals.
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.
This is why the foes of suicide are doing absolutely nothing to get laughing gas into the hands of those who could benefit from it. Laughing is subjective after all. In the western tradition, we need a "REAL" cure to depression.
America is insane: it makes liquor officially legal and then outlaws all the drugs that could help prevent and cure alcoholism.
After over a hundred years of prohibition, America has developed a kind of faux science in which despised substances are completely ignored. This is why Sci Am is making a new argument for shock therapy in 2023, because they ignore all the stuff that OBVIOUSLY cheers one up.
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.
It's an enigma: If I beat my depression by smoking opium nightly, I am a drug scumbag subject to immediate arrest. But if I do NOT "take my meds" every day of my life, I am a bad patient.
This hysterical reaction to rare negative events actually creates more rare negative events. This is why the DEA publicizes "drug problems," because by making them well known, they make the problems more prevalent and can thereby justify their huge budget.
For those who want to understand what's going on with the drug war from a philosophical point of view, I recommend chapter six of "Eugenics and Other Evils" by GK Chesterton.
This is why America is creeping toward authoritarianism -- because of the prohibitionists' ability to get away with everything by blaming "drugs." The fact that Americans still fall for this crap represents a kind of collective pathology.
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You have been reading an article entitled, Tapering for Jesus: how drug warriors moralize the withdrawal process, published on June 27, 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)