Essay date: January 24, 2019

The real reason for depression in America

The Drug War is a violation of natural law which took away our access to Mother Nature's depression cures and forced us to rely on Big Pharma meds, many of which are more addictive than heroin.

f someone like myself had been depressed just over a century ago, they could have occasionally used opium to take the edge off of life and see beyond their problems and thus get a little perspective on their place in the world. Problem solved. No morose brooding. The sadsack in question would have had a little "somethin' somethin'" to look forward to in their life: namely, the blissful mental relief provided by a medicinal dose of opium.

But this was before puritans (like William Jennings Bryant) and anti-Asians (like Francis Burton Harrison) decided that Americans didn't have the right to use natural plants just any way they saw fit. Thus a crackdown was launched on opium with the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, a clear violation of the natural law upon which our country was founded, and America (and, alas, the entire copycat world) began the age of the illegal plant, an era in which Mother Nature is viewed as a dangerous drug kingpin rather than a provider of useful medicines to humankind. (Of course, Big Liquor was thrilled at this turn of events which promised them a monopoly in the arena of providing human transcendence and relaxation -- never mind the fact that liquor provided a shabby psychological payoff indeed compared to the inspiring bliss derived from the responsible use of those time-honored substances that America was now going to demonize using every means of propaganda at its disposal -- above all the dogmatic failure to ever mentioning anything positive about the competition whatsoever).

This is an insane war on patients funded by Big Pharma with the help of the American Psychological Association, who, together, continue to put on a full-court press to normalize a medical system which hooks one in four women on anti-depressants, many of which are more addictive than heroin.

Needless to say, the situation for the depressed only got worse during the presidency of know-nothing Richard Nixon, who further criminalized Mother Nature in order to prevent the use of pretty much all psychoactive substances by Americans, thus shoring up psychiatry's monopoly on treating depression, forcing the depressed to seek second-best solutions for their ills by using "meds" that were to prove more expensive and addictive than the natural bounty that politicians had rendered illegal.

So, please, let's not profess surprise at the epidemic of depression in America. After all, the truly effective treatments for this so-called "disease" have all been taken away from Americans by a busybody passel of puritans, politicians, and profiteers. It's no wonder then that depression reigns now.

If we want to get rid of depression, the first step is obvious: end the war on drugs.

Might as well face it, you're addicted to SSRIs...

Author's Follow-up: April 12, 2023

Psychiatry is not content to merely have its psychoactive competition outlawed; it follows up this tour de force of tyranny by dissing the outlawed substances as 'crutches' -- used only by folks who want to avoid their REAL problems, which, of course, are invisible to mere humans like us depressed folk and can only be seen by scientists with microscopes. How ironic it is that the "cures" thus discovered are effectively tranquilizers upon which 1 in 4 American women are dependent for life: these are the very definition of crutches -- and crutches FOR LIFE proffered by psychiatry itself -- substances that do not help you experience life but rather to sleep THROUGH IT!!!

But psychiatry has another way to appease its physics envy: if the problems with a chronic depressive are not chemical in origin, then they are REPRESSED a la Sigmund Freud -- and hence (conveniently for shrinks) can only be "sorted" with the help of a professional.

Either way, psychiatry wins, by positioning itself as the one and only legal and valid source for help for mental issues -- and thus they leverage drug prohibition to maximum effect.

Meanwhile psychiatry pathologizes anyone who still dares to use psychoactive substances, with folks like Gabriel Mate telling us that we have "inner pain" whenever we suffer the consequences of prohibition, like interruption in supply or overdose due to amateur dealers, who compound their substances with the devil knows what: baby powder, cyanide or whatever.

But don't ALL humans have inner pain, Gabriel? Isn't that the human condition?

What really pains ME is the fact that the Drug War has outlawed almost every psychoactive godsend in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's MY INNER AND OUTER PAIN!

It is that unprecedented prohibition that has turned me into a tranquilized ward of the healthcare state.

And this in a country that claims to the value the empowerment of the individual above anything else.

Author's Follow-up: May 2, 2023

American "experts" keep scratching their heads about treating depression. It's as if a society of starving people were sitting beneath blossoming fruit trees wondering how to find something to eat. By re-legalizing the coca leaf, we could solve the supposed depression epidemic overnight. The long-lived Inca chewed it daily, in the same way as we drink coffee daily. The fact is there are endless pharmacological answers to depression, most of which can be just as non-addictive as we want to be. But the world has never stopped and asked the simple question: what would a pharmacologically savvy empath suggest?

Right now, in fact, the closest things to "real" experts on depression are drug dealers, or at least that small subset of drug dealers who really know something about pharmacology and also care about their customers. Why? Because they're not burdened with the materialist-capitalist limitations which say that a drug must work in a reductionist fashion to "really" fight depression or anxiety, etc. They don't care if a drug "really" works -- (according to reductionists or Freud) -- they are happy merely to make their customer happy -- and yes, in a way that is sustainable.

Buy the Drug War Comic Book by Brian Quass, featuring 150 hilarious op-ed pics about America's disgraceful war on Americans

Next essay: In Praise of Thomas Szasz
Previous essay: Screw You, Francis Burton Harrison

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Sana Collective
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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. (For proof of that latter charge, check out how the US and UK have criminalized the substances that William James himself told us to study in order to understand reality.) It outlaws substances that have inspired entire religions (like the Vedic), Nazifies the English language (referring to folks who emulate drug-loving Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin as "scumbags") and militarizes police forces nationwide (resulting in gestapo SWAT teams breaking into houses of peaceable Americans and shouting "GO GO GO!").

(Speaking of Nazification, L.A. Police Chief Daryl Gates thought that drug users should be shot. What a softie! The real hardliners are the William Bennetts of the world who want drug users to be beheaded instead. That will teach them to use time-honored plant medicine of which politicians disapprove! Mary Baker Eddy must be ecstatic in her drug-free heaven, as she looks down and sees this modern inquisition on behalf of the drug-hating principles that she herself maintained. I bet she never dared hope that her religion would become the viciously enforced religion of America, let alone of the entire freakin' world!)

In short, the drug war 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.

PPS Drugs like opium and psychedelics should come with the following warning: "Outlawing of this product may result in inner-city gunfire, civil wars overseas, and rigged elections in which drug warriors win office by throwing minorities in jail."

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
  • Bernays, Edward "Propaganda"1928 Public Domain
  • 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
  • Gianluca, Toro "Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens"2007 Simon and Schuster
  • Griffiths, William "Psilocybin: A Trip into the World of Magic Mushrooms"2021 William Griffiths
  • Grof, Stanislav "The transpersonal vision: the healing potential of nonordinary states of consciousness"1998 Sounds True
  • Head, Simon "Mindless: Why Smarter Machines Are Making Dumber Humans"2012 Basic Books
  • Hofmann, Albert "The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications"2005 Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Illich, Ivan "Medical nemesis : the expropriation of health"1975 Calder & Boyars
  • 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
  • Lindstrom, Martin "Brandwashed: tricks companies use to manipulate our minds and persuade us to buy"2011 Crown Business
  • Mariani, Angelo "Coca and its Therapeutic Application, Third Edition"1896
  • Miller, Richard Lawrence "Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State"1966 Bloomsbury Academic
  • Mortimer MD, W. Golden "Coca: Divine Plant of the Incas"2017 Ronin Publishing
  • Nagel, Thomas "Mind and Cosmos: why the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false"2012 Oxford University press
  • Newcombe, Russell "Intoxiphobia: discrimination toward people who use drugs"2014
  • Partridge, Chiristopher "Alistair Crowley on Drugs"2021 uploaded by Misael Hernandez
  • Rosenblum, Bruce "Quantum Enigma: Physics Encounters Consciousness"2006 Oxford University Press
  • 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
  • Whitaker, Robert "Mad in America"2002 Perseus Publishing
  • Site and its contents copyright 2023, by Brian B. Quass, the drug war philosopher at For more information, contact Brian at