Essay date: December 1, 2022

The Lopsided Focus on the Misuse and Abuse of Drugs

Some thoughts on the Sam Harris podcast interview with Roland Griffiths

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

essays about

Open Letter to Rick Doblin and Roland Griffiths
Is Rick Doblin Running with the Devil?
Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me

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?
Why Scientists are not qualified to study the effects of DMT
Science Set Free... NOT!
How Scientific American reckons without the drug war
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation
Alternative Medicine as a Drug War Creation

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