Essay date: July 15, 2020

Ten Reasons why the Drug War is Nonsense

well, actually 18 reasons and counting

The DEA causes addiction, disempowerment and bigotry and the drug war is nonsense -- nonsense with a body count of inner-city grade-schoolers and overseas victims of Civil Wars fomented by America's anti-scientific laws that criminalize mere plants.

  1. It prevents Americans from accessing the plants that grow at their very feet, in clear violation of the Natural Law upon which America was founded.

  2. It makes "drugs" a red herring for all social problems, thereby ignoring the real social problems (including substandard education and the Drug War itself) that give rise to counterproductive substance use in the first place.

  3. It ignores the obvious lesson from American history that prohibition leads to violence. There were almost 800 gun-related deaths in Chicago alone in 2021, all attributable to substance prohibition, which gives rise to well-armed gangs just as surely as liquor prohibition gave rise to the Mafia.

  4. It turns Americans into arch-colonialists who hypocritically go overseas to burn plants that have been used responsibly for millennia by other cultures, all in the name of preventing addiction in the States (by which reasoning, the Islamic world should be free to come stateside and burn our grape vines).

  5. It leaves the depressed and anxious with nothing but highly addictive Big Pharma meds to treat their condition, when hundreds of far less addictive remedies (many not addictive at all) could be harnessed from plant medicines that the Drug War has criminalized.

  6. It turns these sufferers into eternal patients (the exact opposite of empowerment) by requiring them to visit an expensive psychiatrist in person every three months of their life in order to receive yet another expensive prescription, since the DEA has such an absurd fixation on "controlling" this thing called "drugs" that they don't even trust a patient of 40-years standing to use them wisely.

  7. The Drug War has led to the Nazification of language, to the point that substance users and those who sell plant medicine are called "scumbags" and "filth" and other terms that used to be used by the Nazis to describe their enemies. (This is why I wrote a letter to the Holocaust Museum in September 2020 urging them to denounce the Drug War: Why the Holocaust Museum must denounce the Drug War)

  8. It willfully ignores all inconvenient historical truths, like the fact that the Vedic religion was founded to worship a psychoactive plant and that psychedelics featured prominently in the Eleusinian mysteries, which lasted 2,000 years until it was tellingly banned by Emperor Theodosius I as a threat to Christianity.

  9. It willfully ignores the historical fact that "drugs" have been used responsibly by such western luminaries as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Henrik Ibsen, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Marcus Aurelius, Francis Crick, Meriwether Lewis, Samuel Johnson, Frederic Chopin, Plato, Plutarch, Cicero, Aristotle... and even Thomas Jefferson, who surely flipped in his grave when the jackbooted DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated his poppy plants.

  10. It seeks to make the world forget these inconvenient truths by cranking out TV shows, books, and movies in which "drugs" are always used by scumbags, and so we see a badly dressed lowlife snorting cocaine in a dimly lit backroom, instead of seeing HG Wells and Jules Verne happily writing their books while taking generous swigs of coca wine.

  11. It unscientifically considers a solitary but well-publicized instance of drug misuse to be a knockdown rationale for sweeping drug criminalization, thereby denying godsend medicine to millions based on the uninformed actions of a few.

  12. Despite its constant demonization of plant medicine as being dangerous -- indeed too dangerous for hapless Americans to be allowed to use them -- the Drug Warrior never engages in true, unbiased talk about drugs: to the contrary, they actually criminalize research about the substances that they demonize, to ensure that Americans fear psychoactive botanicals rather than understand them.

  13. The Drug War creates civil wars overseas out of whole cloth, giving imperialist America a convenient excuse to invade sovereign countries at will, by charging them with the bogus crime of using plant medicine of which beer-swilling WASP American politicians disapprove, especially the coca plant, which has been part of South and Mesoamerican cultures for millennia.

  14. The Drug War has disfranchised millions of minorities, removing them from the voting rolls, thereby stealing elections for conservative Drug Warriors, some of whom now want to execute the minorities that they have previously been content simply to marginalize.

  15. The Drug War censors scientists, just as the Church once censored Galileo -- with the exception that westerners do not notice this modern-day censorship since they have been indoctrinated since birth in the drug-war ideology of substance demonization.

  16. Drug testing is not about finding impairment. It is an extrajudicial fishing expedition searching for godsend botanical medicines of which politicians disapprove. Some of these "drugs" (like coca and psychedelics) have inspired entire religions. Drug testing thus adds insult to the injury of outlawing plant medicines in the first place, which was a violation of natural law. That's why Thomas Jefferson, the founder of our country, was rolling in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in 1987 and confiscated the garden-loving president's poppy plants.

  17. Drug warriors blithely tolerate 95,000 deaths a year by alcohol without comment, along with almost half a million a year by tobacco, while saying nothing at all about the psychiatric pill mill that their substance prohibition has created. Thanks to the Drug War, in fact, 1 in 4 American women are dependent on the daily use of expensive and uninspiring Big Pharma meds for their entire lifetimes -- a chemical dependency many times that which Americans ever had on opium prior to the unconstitutional outlawing of the poppy plant in 1914.

  18. The Drug War is not about getting Americans off of drugs -- rather it's about getting Americans on the "right" drugs, as judged by the needs of Big Pharma and their billionaire stockholders.

Next essay: The Drug War Virus at the Institute of Art and Ideas
Previous essay: There is no drug problem

More Essays Here

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. 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