Essay date: August 23, 2020

The Drug War Board Game

The Life Game is a Christian Science board game, for it gives you a Life card when you say no to mother nature's godsend medicines.

was trying to forget about America's Drug War last night by playing a simple board game with my sister's family. Finally, I could take my mind off of the modern world's unprecedented folly of turning psychoactive substances into scapegoats and boogiemen.

Unfortunately, however, this respite was not to be, for the board game that we chose was Life, and my sister happened to own the politically correct version of that game that had been printed during the Reagan-and-Bush eras.

Our four-person game began uneventfully. We all went to college and got well-paying jobs, with the possible exception of myself, who ended up as a debt-riddled schoolmarm taking home a mere $50,000 per annum. But at least I was forgetting all about America's anti-scientific Drug War and the fact that it violated the natural law upon which Jefferson had founded this country (which, I bet the president in question was spinning in his grave when the DEA stomped onto Monticello in jackboots in 1987 and stole his poppy plants).

I was looking forward to an hour of sweet forgetfulness viz. America's Drug War superstitions, when my brother-in-law (a ridiculously well-paid travel agent) landed on one of those orange Life spaces that read: "Just say no to drugs."

Oh, boy, here we go...

"Just say no to drugs?" I thought to myself. "It may as well say: 'Just say no to the natural plant medicines of which politicians disapprove."

I came very close to making these observations public, but I finally decided to hold my tongue, lest I spawn a conversation that should tick me off still further.

But you can no doubt imagine what I was thinking:

"What next? A space that gives you a Life card for turning in your parents, should they happen to use substances of which politicians disapprove? Or a Life card that cuts your salary in half because you failed a drug test?"

And so I played the rest of the game while mentally multitasking: attending to board game business on the one hand (I came in a surprising second despite my lowly profession, amassing an improbable $1,650,000) while silently reflecting as follows:

Imagine playing this "Game of Life" in the middle of the Amazon jungle, surrounded by godsend plant meds that focus and expand the mind, and then landing on a space that says: "Just say no to all those plant medicines that surround you."

You'd be like: "What are the game-makers talking about? Just say no to drugs? Are they kidding me? Why don't THEY just say no to Drug War colonialism? Why don't they just say no to plowing up the rain forest and enslaving whole peoples in order to acquire their precious rubber? Why don't they just say no to scientism and materialism? Why don't they just say no to the financial blackmail whereby they force other countries to outlaw the godsend plant medicines of which Western politicians disapprove?"

So much for taking my mind off of America's devastatingly misguided Drug War last night. Still, the experience reminded me of how well Drug War propaganda of the 1980s (such as the highly mendacious "frying pan" ad) had succeeded in convincing Americans that there was this all-powerful evil called "drugs" that must be quashed at any cost, even if it means renouncing the freedoms that Jefferson had said were ours under the supposedly tyrant-proof protection of natural law

I hope someday the '80s board game with its "just say no" Life card will just be a quaint reminder of the unenlightened days when politicians demonized substances for racist reasons rather than encouraging safe use through education. Unfortunately, we do not seem to be headed in that direction, given our overcrowded prisons, the Drug War in Mexico, and the fact that our substance prohibition has empowered a self-proclaimed Drug War Hitler in the Philippines. Then there are the all-too-popular Drug War propaganda films (including "Crisis" and "Running with the Devil") in which the DEA gleefully violates the US Constitution, torturing and murdering so-called "drug suspects," often while the torturer and murderer are chain-smoking cigarettes, which contain a drug that is far more deadly than what their victim was selling.

Who knows? In 50 years or less, the game of Life might feature a Life card that says the following: "You have been caught selling plant medicines of which racist politicians disapprove. Remove your token from the board and return all your money to the bank!"

Author's Follow-up: May 16, 2023

Speaking of games, I've created a version of the card game Pit called "Corner on Coca!" Unfortunately, I had a massive hard drive failure after so doing and now I have to reconstitute the source material from scratch. I guess what I'm saying here is, stay tuned to this space for the perfect Christmas gift for that incorrigible Drug Warrior in your life (God bless the rascal). "See, Daddy. Here's a game that will teach you why prohibition is wrong root and branch!" And Daddy's like: "This family has always promoted policies that kill the poor and minorities, why should we stop now?"

Next essay: Drug War Ideology:
the modern superstition
Previous essay: Open Letter to Erowid

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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