bird icon for twitter

The Right to LIVE FULLY is more important than the Right to DIE

open letter to Gino Kenny, People Before Profit

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

June 14, 2023

I sent the following message to Gino Kenny on his contact page at Gino is leading a movement to promote 'assisted dying' in Ireland.

Hi, Gino. I agree that there are cases in which we should allow people to die peacefully. However, I do not think that euthanasia can be properly discussed without taking into account the war on drugs and the fact that we have outlawed all the drugs that might make people WANT TO LIVE. American pharmacist Alexander Shulgin synthesized hundreds of drugs that can inspire and elate without causing addiction1. Coca and opium can inspire and elate as well -- and surely their use is far preferable to euthanasia2. Psychedelics can also make depressed people want to live. As for the right to die, westerners actually had that right before drug prohibition, since an immoderate dose of morphine would allow them to do just that. Today we have outlawed not only morphine, but hundreds of drugs which inspire and relax and expand the mind3.

If we promote euthanasia while ignoring the Drug War, we are like those who promote shock therapy for the depressed while denying the depressed the godsend medicines that could have cheered them up without damaging their brains and without turning them into zombies4. In short, there is a Drug War going on, and we need to recognize that fact. It has huge consequences for how we think about subjects like depression and euthanasia. As a chronic depressive myself, I believe we should have the right to die... but before the government gives me the right to die, I demand my right to live fully! I demand my right to mind and mood medicine and the plants and fungi that grow at my very feet!

Ending drug prohibition would "kill two birds with one stone": it would not simply end prohibition but it would give patients the right to the medicines with which they could allow themselves to die peacefully -- without begging leave of their government to do so.

Author's Follow-up: July 4, 2023

25,201 Mississippi, 25,202 Mississippi, 25,203 Mississippi... Oh, hi there, folks. Gino has not yet gotten back to me, but any second now! Now then, where was I? Oh, yes, 25,204 Mississippi, 25,205 Mississippi...


1 Quass, Brian, Alexander Shulgin: American Hero, 2022 (up)
2 Fadiman, James, The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys , Park Street Press, New York, 2011 (up)
3 Quass, Brian, In Praise of Augustus Bedloe, 2019 (up)
4 Quass, Brian, Science News Unveils Shock Therapy II, 2023 (up)

Next essay: Drug War: the Musical!
Previous essay: The Placebo Effect and Drugs

More Essays Here

essays about

Euthanasia in the Age of the Drug War

front cover of Drug War Comic Book

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

You have been reading an article entitled, The Right to LIVE FULLY is more important than the Right to DIE: open letter to Gino Kenny, People Before Profit, published on June 14, 2023 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)