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The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs

Some thoughts on the Sam Harris podcast interview with Roland Griffiths

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

December 1, 2022

Sam Harris Making Sense Podcast interview with Roland Griffiths

The current scientific system which Roland represents is always worrying about potential abuse. But they are NEVER worrying about the millions who go without godsend medicines thanks to our purblind focus on abuse. Thanks to that Chicken Little mindset, I have now gone my ENTIRE 64-year LIFE without godsend medicines that grow at my feet. And Roland tells me that it could be 4 to 6 more years before the FDA grudgingly lets me use MDMA in a lab setting! (Rick Doblin said five years ago that it would happen last year.) Meanwhile, Roland keeps talking about "drugs of abuse," as if to write off their usefulness entirely. But the drugs he mentions can be used non-addictively for GOOD REASONS. But we have such a purblind focus on "abuse," that we feel justified in keeping such substances from the millions who would use them safely. Moreover, millions have used opium and coca daily for entire long and full lifetimes. Our talk about addicts wreaks of a Christian Science aesthetic judgment.

Besides, if addiction and dependence are such horrible problems, why do these guys say nothing about the fact that 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life on Big Pharma meds? I myself have to take Effexor every day of my life, but nobody's worried on my account. And these addictions are the result of scientific hubris, which supposedly found a chemical imbalance to end human sorrow. Wrong. The meds cause the chemical imbalances that they purport to fix, and if they cure depression, my mind never got the memo.

Please, let's stop this lopsided focus on the needs of potential abusers. What about the needs of the depressed like myself who go without godsends -- even now Chicken Little scientists are finding reasons to keep me (and millions of other depressed) from using laughing gas. They want to save a few hundreds from their own idiocy by letting millions go without desperately needed medicines.
The legalization of all substances would let us treat addictions -- and everything else -- with any and every substance in the world using a shamanic like approach of empathy. Roland sees a few drugs becoming legal and wants to use them to fight addiction -- but that's small potatoes. We need to relegalize all psychoactive substances. Then addiction would all but disappear -- which it should, since in practice addiction is really a pejorative term for habituation. Before 1914, there were opium habitues in America; afterwards, they were "addicts."

The current viewpoint is insane: it's one that says we can shock a depressed person's brain but we cannot give them plant meds to cheer them up. We can euthanize the depressed with chemicals, but we cannot give them chemicals to cheer them up.

Also, the duo seems to think that psychedelic experiences happen in the brain only. Why then did my peyote trip show me imagery of MesoAmerican gods and goddesses? Consciousness appears to be all around us, not just in our brain. Is there no end to the astounding wonders that we will automatically attribute to the supposedly random process of mindless evolution?

Next essay: Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Previous essay: Alexander Shulgin: American Hero

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Clearly a millennia's worth of positive use of coca by the Peruvian Indians means nothing to the FDA. Proof must show up under a microscope.
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.
More materialist nonsense. "We" are the only reason that the universe exists as a universe rather than as inchoate particles.
There are plenty of "prima facie" reasons for believing that we could eliminate most problems with drug and alcohol withdrawal by chemically aided sleep cures combined with using "drugs" to fight "drugs." But drug warriors don't want a fix, they WANT drug use to be a problem.
Americans heap hypocritical praise on Walt Whitman. What they don't realize is that many of us could be "Walt Whitman for a Day" with the wise use of psychoactive drugs. To the properly predisposed, morphine gives a DEEP appreciation of Mother Nature.
Mariani Wine is the real McCoy, with Bolivian coca leaves (tho' not with cocaine, as Wikipedia says). I'll be writing more about my experience with it soon. I was impressed. It's the same drink "on which" HG Wells and Jules Verne wrote their stories.
I can think of no greater intrusion than to deny a person autonomy over how they think and feel in life. It is sort of a meta-intrusion, the mother of all anti-democratic intrusions.
Psychiatrists keep flipping the script. When it became clear that SSRIs caused dependence, instead of apologizing, they told us we need to keep taking our meds. Now they even claim that criticizing SSRIs is wrong. This is anti-intellectual madness.
To understand why the western world is blind to the benefits of "drugs," read "The Concept of Nature" by Whitehead. He unveils the scientific schizophrenia of the west, according to which the "real" world is invisible to us while our perceptions are mere "secondary" qualities.
The Drug War is the most important evil to protest, precisely because almost everybody is afraid to do so. That's a clear sign that it is a cancer on the body politic.
More Tweets

essays about

Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Is Rick Doblin Running with the Devil?
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me
Three Problems With Rick Doblin's MAPS

essays about

The Problem with Following the Science
Doctor Feel Bad
How the Drug War Blinds us to Godsend Medicine
Obama's Unscientific BRAIN Initiative
How Scientific Materialism Keeps Godsend Medicines from the Depressed
Drug War? What Drug War?
Science Set Free... NOT!
How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
A Quantum of Hubris

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You have been reading an article entitled, The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs: Some thoughts on the Sam Harris podcast interview with Roland Griffiths, published on December 1, 2022 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)