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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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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.

We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
"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.
The search for SSRIs has always been based on a flawed materialist premise that human consciousness is nothing but a mix of brain chemicals and so depression can be treated medically like any other physical condition.
Imagine the Vedic people shortly after they have discovered soma. Everyone's ecstatic -- except for one oddball. "I'm not sure about these experiences," says he. "I think we need to start dissecting the brains of our departed adherents to see what's REALLY going on in there."

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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)