Essay date: April 21, 2019

The Drug War and Electroshock Therapy




How the Drug War makes electroshock therapy necessary, and why doctors must start acknowledging that fact

What follows is a letter to the editors of medicalexpress.com, regarding the matter-of-fact allusion to ECT in the third paragraph of a story entitled No laughing matter - nitrous oxide helps to unravel rapid antidepressant mechanisms, published March 27, 2019:

I'm always startled by the non-critical allusion to ECT in stories that discuss controversial psychoactive drugs like Ketamine, as if administering so-called "shock therapy" for depression was no more problematic, morally speaking, than prescribing aspirin for a headache. I beg to differ for the following reason.

I think it's bizarre that doctors can bring themselves to knowingly injure the brain through ECT while failing to have explored the value of drugs like psilocybin, LSD, and the coca leaf, all of which have the potential of relieving long-standing depression without inflicting lasting damage to the brain. I would have no problem with ECT as a last resort, but the fact is that it is not being used as a last resort for the severely depressed; instead, it is being administered by doctors who have never sufficiently advocated for the above-mentioned alternatives that would fulfill the Hippocratic oath of "first do no harm." Doctors may not be able to single—handedly change drug laws, of course, but they still have a moral obligation to speak up when drug-law restrictions oblige them to use a dangerous treatment for which safer alternatives are available.

Yes, patients may seem "happier" after ECT, but it is a sad success indeed, coming as it does thanks to a loss of brain function.

If, in the supposedly enlightened 21st century, we still are forced to use a harmful treatment such as ECT thanks to drug law, then the medical community owes it to society to publicize that fact loudly and clearly each time it throws the switch to shock a patient, saying: "American drug law is forcing us to take this potentially harmful step; American drug law is forcing us to put this patient at this unnecessary risk of having his or her brain damaged by ECT."

Instead, ^{the medical community remains largely silent, claiming that ECT is defensible on its own terms, when in reality it's a dangerous expedient that is only rendered necessary thanks to the fact that drug law in the U.S. has senselessly outlawed all the promising psychoactive alternatives.}{

AFTERTHOUGHTS about America's Pathological and Childish War on Mother Nature's Plant Medicines: Nothing demonstrates Americans' pathological fear of Mother Nature's plants more than their willingness to inflict brain injury on patients rather than resort to the therapeutic use of such godsend natural medicines. There are even Drug Warrior regions where they'd prefer that patients DIE rather than use natural medicines -- places where a doctor can legally kill you (via euthanasia) and yet that same doctor would be arrested if he or she tried to make you want to live by giving you natural plant medicines, such as psychedelics. America's attitude is beyond pathological to the point of being childish, when you consider the oppressive security regimes that the DEA imposes in those rare cases where it allows a psychoactive substance to be studied. On those blue-moon occasions, the superstitiously fretful DEA requires such burdensome security protocols (including bank vaults and security guards) that you'd think the substances being studied were highly enriched uranium, not a plant or fungi grown by Mother Nature herself.

Author's Follow-up: November 1, 2022



Turns out ketamine is being promoted more for economic reasons than for safety ones. But that's the Drug War for you: it's never about safety. Folks like Kevin Sabet keep dreaming of a perfectly scientific approach to drugs (which has its own drawbacks: see
The Problem with Following the Science), but that's never going to happen in a capitalist country where Big Pharma advertises meds like candy in prime-time. Instead, what REALLY happens is folks like Kevin take a jaundiced super-close and unforgiving look at Mother Nature's bounty while giving Big Pharma a great big mulligan for its enormous shortcomings, like the fact that it has rendered 1 in 4 Americans chemically dependent for life.

But if you ever want to know how fanatical the Drug War ideology truly is, philosophically speaking, just remember that, even as we speak, doctors can shock your brain if you're super depressed but they can't give you any of thousands of psychoactive medicines that could make you feel better without damaging your gray matter. That's not just anti-scientific, it's hardcore Christian Science, the religion that first told us that we should say "no" to drugs.


Related tweet: November 1, 2022



Low drug use is not a good goal in and of itself. If a teen has chronic depression, I would pray that we could give him or her a psychoactive godsend from mother nature rather than shock therapy!

Author's Follow-up: November 10, 2022



Depression in America could be cured overnight and the war in Mexico ended, were we to re-legalize mother nature, and especially the coca leaf. But Drug Warriors are such Christian Science zealots that they would prefer "treating" the depressed with electroshock therapy and lobotomies rather than allowing them to chew coca leaves. They show the same heartlessness in their foreign policy, where they prefer a civil war that kills tens of thousands to the re-legalization of such naturally occurring godsends.

Next essay: Mad, and Proud of It
Previous essay: Put the DEA on Trial

More Essays Here


essays about
PSYCHIATRY AND THE DRUG WAR

America's Puritan Obsession with Sobriety
America's biggest drug pusher: The American Psychiatric Association:
Christian Science Rehab
Depressed? Here's why.
Electroshock Therapy and the Drug War
How Psychiatry and the Drug War turned me into an eternal patient
In Praise of Doctor Feelgood
In praise of doctor hopping
MDMA for Psychotherapy
Replacing Psychiatry with Pharmacologically Savvy Shamanism
The Myth of the Addictive Personality
The Prozac Code
Time to Replace Psychiatrists with Shamans
Doctor Feel Bad
Psychedelics and Depression
Drug Use as Self-Medication
This is your brain on Effexor
Depression is real, says the APA, and they should know: they cause it!
The Mental Health Survey that psychiatrists don't want you to take
The Depressing Truth About SSRIs
Don't Worry, Be Satisfied
America's Great Anti-Depressant Scam
The Origins of Modern Psychiatry





end America's disgraceful drug war: visit abolishthedea.com to learn more



No Drug War Keychains

The key to ending the Drug War is to spread the word about the fact that it is Anti-American, unscientific and anti-minority (for starters)

Monticello Betrayed Thomas Jefferson

By demonizing plant medicine, the Drug War overthrew the Natural Law upon which Jefferson founded America -- and brazenly confiscated the Founding Father's poppy plants in 1987, in a symbolic coup against Jeffersonian freedoms.

This is your Brain on Godsend Plant Medicine

Stop the Drug War from demonizing godsend plant medicines. Psychoactive plant medicines are godsends, not devil spawn.

The Drug War Censors Science

Scientists: It's time to wake up to the fact that you are censored by the drug war. Drive the point home with these bumper stickers.

old time radio playing Drug War comedy sketches














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.

Brian Quass
The Drug War Philosopher
abolishthedea.com

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.

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 Gutenberg.org
  • 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 abolishthedea.com. For more information, contact Brian at quass@quass.com.