Essay date: April 24, 2023

Ten Points that no one ever makes about so-called Drugs

1) The Drug War outlaws free research by preventing and/or discouraging researchers from searching for cures for Alzheimer's (in psychedelics that grow new neurons) and from following up the philosophical research of William James (viz. his use of laughing gas and related substances).

2) Substance prohibition violates Natural Law insofar as it criminalizes the plants and fungi which God himself told us were "good." Instead, we're told that they have no positive uses, for anybody, ever. That is an anti-scientific stand, since there are no such substances in the world. Even cyanide and botox have positive uses.

3) Western science has long been biased on this topic. You can see this in the fact that almost no academic articles have been written on the positive uses of "drugs," but thousands upon thousands are written about drug "abuse" and "misuse." In other words, academicians have swallowed the Drug War lie that "drugs" can have no positive uses, for anyone, ever.

4) The treatment of addiction is hobbled by the fact that the Drug War establishes the goal of sobriety for the user. In this way, addiction treatment is the enforcement of the Christian Science religion according to which a hypocritically defined sobriety is godly (especially given that the goal is to make the addict accept a thinly disguised Christian God known as a "higher power"). If empathic individuals could, shaman-like, treat "addicts" with any substance on earth, the outlook for "addicts" would be so much better. In fact, I say that we have no right to opine on the ability of therapy to overcome addiction as long as we're denying the therapist a whole pharmacy full of useful drugs for that purpose -- not the least of which are the hundreds of non-addictive godsends formulated by Alexander Shulgin, promoter of MDMA. If a boxer had one hand tied behind his back and kept losing fights, we would not claim that he was not strong enough to win, but we would rather point out indignantly that he, in fact, had one hand tied behind his back. Likewise if addiction seems unbeatable, let's also consider that we have tied one hand behind the back of any therapist by outlawing almost all the substances that could help effect a real change in the "user."

5) The term "drug abuse disorder" is a political label. The government first outlaws a plant that it had no right to outlaw. Then it claims that those who still want to access that plant are merely showing the symptoms of a "disease."

6) Most overdoses on heroin are due to uncertain dosages. I think when we write about such overdoses, we need to point this out -- otherwise when we say "heroin overdose," the reader immediately tends to blame the "drug" rather than the prohibition which promoted fear rather than knowledge about safe use.

7) The original charter of the ONDCP (the Office of National Drug Control Policy) forbade board members from even discussing positive uses of "drugs." In other words, the ONDCP is a propaganda arm of the US government and its policies help explain why academia almost never talks about positive uses of drugs -- as, for instance, morphine can give users a deep appreciation of mother nature and coca can bring about mental clarity a la Sherlock Holmes. Likewise, opium has inspired poets such as Poe and Lovecraft.

8) The Drug War has taught us that addictive drugs can only be used addictively. This attitude rules out a legion of positive uses for drugs when used at the right dose in the right circumstance. So sure are we of this credo, that no one has stopped to think of how mental sufferers could be therapeutically treated with a variety of drugs under a variety of circumstances. We close our eyes to a plethora of options (limited only by the imagination) because of this drug-war superstition that addictive drugs cannot be used non-addictively.

9) As a lifetime "junkie" on Big Pharma antidepressants, the discussion of heroin always seems odd to me: Heroin addiction is always taken as a great evil. But how can that be in a country in which 1 in 4 American women are dependent on SSRIs for life? Not only is this not seen as a problem, but we actually encourage the chemically dependent women to "take their meds" -- whenever they begin to act in a way that bothers us. It seems like addiction bothers us because it's an esthetic thing -- we see the problems associated with it -- which are really problems caused by prohibition in any case. Whereas the chemically dependent never bother us because they always get their supply -- and if they don't, they'll just feel horrible inside, without bothering us by robbing banks or sitting idly on a street corner like the poor heroin addict, for whom the Drug War has made safe and affordable supply impossible.

10) Much writing about drugs seems to suggest that there's no possible cause for it -- except maybe despair. That is just not true. People's number-one goal in life is to succeed, NOT to live safely. If a "drug" helps them think more clearly or perform a job that they might otherwise "choke" at, the sane choice is drug use -- rather than to accept a tranquilizing drug from Big Pharma which dulls the mind and turns the user into a ward of the healthcare state. People want to transcend their own limitations -- and we should be helping them do that safely -- not punishing them en masse for valuing self-actualization over abstract "safety."

Most of all: We should be helping folks live the life of their dreams using any drug or drugs necessary for that purpose (unless, of course, the person being treated professes a belief in Christian Science, in which case they would presumably turn down Big Pharma meds as well).

Author's Follow-up: April 24, 2023

I don't mean to imply that a therapist will always be necessary. Once we re-legalize Mother Nature and -- for the first time in history -- learn everything we can about every single psychoactive substance in the world, a savvy individual can leverage the knowledge thus obtained to engage in safe and productive substance use. It cannot be emphasized enough that this is more than a new protocol -- it's a new way of looking at the world, or rather an old way finally acknowledged: namely, the idea that Mother Nature produces godsends and that psychoactive medicines are tools to personal growth -- and not just moral traps for lapsed votaries of the drug-hating Christian Science religion.

The whole idea of addiction is a creation of the Drug War mentality: it is promoted by prohibition, first by outlawing popular godsends, thus turning users from "habitues" into "addicts" -- and then by outlawing all the substances that could be used to help a user get off a substance which they no longer desire to use. When I think of our dim prognosis for addicts these days, I think of a nation that has outlawed antibiotics and then gripes about the prevalence of bacterial infections.

This new way of life will not just tolerate drugs, but actually encourage their use in cases where they can bring love to a stubborn heart or make life livable for someone whose mindset -- for no fault of their own -- has a purblind focus on doom and gloom.

Next essay: The Drug War Mindset
Previous essay: Assisted Suicide and the War on Drugs

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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. 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)

Selected Bibliography

  • Bandow, Doug "From Fighting The Drug War To Protecting The Right To Use Drugs"2018
  • Barrett, Damon "Children of the Drug War: Perspectives on the Impact of Drug Polices on Young People"2011 IDEBATE Press
  • Bilton, Anton "DMT Entity Encounters: Dialogues on the Spirit Molecule"2021 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Boullosa , Carmen "A Narco History: How the United States and Mexico Jointly Created the 'Mexican Drug War'"2016 OR Books
  • Brereton, William "The Truth about Opium / Being a Refutation of the Fallacies of the Anti-Opium Society and a Defence of the Indo-China Opium Trade"2017 Anna Ruggieri
  • Burns, Eric "1920: The year that made the decade roar"2015 Pegasus Books
  • Carpenter, Ted Galen "The Fire Next Door: Mexico's Drug Violence and the Danger to America"2012 Cato Institute
  • Chesterton, GK "Saint Thomas Acquinas"2014 BookBaby
  • Filan, Kenaz "The Power of the Poppy: Harnessing Nature's Most Dangerous Plant Ally"2011 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Irwin-Rogers, Keir "Illicit Drug Markets, Consumer Capitalism and the Rise of Social Media: A Toxic Trap for Young People"2019
  • James, William "The Varieties of Religious Experience"1902 Philosophical Library
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rudgley, Richard "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Substances"2014 Macmillan Publishers
  • Shulgin, Alexander "PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story"1991 Transform Press
  • Shulgin, Alexander "The Nature of Drugs Vol. 1: History, Pharmacology, and Social Impact"2021 Transform Press
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Cosmos and Transcendence: Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief"0
  • Smith, Wolfgang "Physics: A Science in Quest of an Ontology"2022
  • St John, Graham "Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT"2021
  • Szasz, Thomas "Interview With Thomas Szasz: by Randall C. Wyatt"0
  • Wedel, Janine "Unaccountable: How the Establishment Corrupted Our Finances, Freedom and Politics and Created an Outsider Class"2014 Pegasus Books
  • Weil, Andrew "From Chocolate to Morphine: Everything You Need to Know About Mind-Altering Drugs"2004 Open Road Integrated Media
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at