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Time to Glorify Drug Use

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

March 28, 2023

ne of the main themes of my site is that the Drug War is based on a huge number of misconceptions. One of the least recognized but most muddleheaded misconception is the idea that we should not "glorify" drug use.

Oh, really? Why not?

We glorify alcohol and tobacco use every day in TV, movies and magazines. We even glorify the UNSAFE use of these substances. The Andy Griffith show had its own resident drunk, who had apparently learned to "let go and let liquor." The movie "Arthur" shamelessly glorified the lifestyle of an unapologetic drunkard. The protagonists of modern movies are often regular chimneypots, scornful (indeed almost proud) of the risks that they are taking by puffing away on so-called "cancer sticks."

Speaking of "cancer sticks," I almost gasped out loud the first time I heard that phrase back in the early '90s. It was uttered in an offhand manner by my niece who was a preteen at the time, and I thought to myself: "Bless my heart, they must be using vivid imagery in those DARE classes that she's been attending."

Well, folks, guess whose niece grew up to be a regular smoker? So much for the power of vivid imagery.

The fact is that nobody rushed out to become a drunkard after the release of the movie "Arthur" in 1981. Then again, if they had done so, we would not have heard about it, because the media would not have been in a hurry to draw a connection between that "lovable" romance comedy and a horrid addiction. Now, had Arthur been a fan of opium, reporters would have been sent out like hound dogs to find connections between the airing of the film and addiction. And they may have even found a few cases that seemed relevant (hey, it's a big world out there) - but not to worry. A few cases is all the media would need to denounce the movie as "a clarion call for addicts to 'take up thy pipe.'" In fact, one single solitary gnarly story of addiction on the front page of a tabloid could have caused the Academy to revoke any awards with which they might otherwise have felt tempted to grace such a film.

Yet we have heard this mantra for so long - "don't glorify drug use" - that it seems like a law of nature. But WHY should we not glorify drug use? Because it can be dangerous? True, anything can be dangerous if undertaken by the uninformed - but in that case, why do we glorify NASCAR racing and free climbing? Why do we glorify stunt-plane flying and water skiing? Why do we glorify sky-diving and ice hockey? Surely all those activities are extremely dangerous when engaged in by the uninformed.

Why then do we bar glorification only in the case of drugs?

It is because those who made this rule against "glorification" falsely believe that drugs are things that "have no good uses, for anyone, anywhere, in any dosage, at any time, for any reason, ever."

Now, if that were true, then we should not "glorify" drugs, since they are completely evil: they have no positive uses whatsoever.

And yet this is a bald-faced lie. There are no substances in the world that "have no good uses, for anyone, anywhere, in any dosage, at any time, for any reason, ever." Even cyanide has positive uses.

So there is no special reason why we should refrain from glorifying drug use - except for the fact that we have been programmed since childhood to regard the politically created category of "drugs" as highly dangerous in a way that nothing else in the world is - even free climbing. This fear has been greatly enhanced by the most mendacious lie in the history of public service announcements, the 1980s ad in which the Partnership for a Drug Free America told us that "drugs" fry the brain, when, to the contrary, many "drugs" increase neural connections and even grow new neurons in the brain. Ironically, if any substances fry the brain, they are modern Big Pharma drugs, a contention that I make based on 40 years of firsthand experience with the same.

Why should we not glorify substances that have inspired entire religions? Why should we not glorify substances that have inspired great literature? Why should we not glorify substances that have changed the user's world view for the better?

I'd like to see movies that glorify the use of opium and coca and ibogaine and ayahuasca and peyote, or any of the hundreds of psychedelic godsends synthesized by Alexander Shulgin. Of course, due to the brainwashing referred to above, the movie would probably have to end with an on-screen bromide about safe use, saying something like: "Of course, these substances must be used safely, etc." That said, we never see such disclaimers after movies like "Arthur." "Warning: in real life, alcoholism is not always connected with a cheerful disposition and a carefree romance."

Author's Follow-up: March 28, 2023

Back in the early '90s, I was still bamboozled by Drug War lies. I sensed that criminalization was all a crock of shit, but I had yet to open my mind to the way that the Drug War ruins absolutely everything it touches. However, when my preteen niece casually referred to cigarettes as "coffin sticks" out of the blue, I really thought that she was being indoctrinated with an alarming degree of intolerance by the DARE organization. She hadn't been taught to understand facts: she had been taught to feel certain emotions instead.

But this is what the Drug War is all about: it's not to teach you about "drugs," it's rather to get you to feel the politically correct emotions about "drugs," namely fear and disdain -- all in the name of an unspoken commitment to the theological notions of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the drug-hating Church of Christian Science.

Next essay: Why SSRIs are Crap
Previous essay: Declaration of Independence from the War on Drugs

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Addiction Tweets

ME: "What are you gonna give me for my depression, doc? MDMA? Laughing gas? Occasional opium smoking? Chewing of the coca leaf?" DOC: "No, I thought we'd fry your brain with shock therapy instead."
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.
Until we legalize ALL psychoactive drugs, there will be no such thing as an addiction expert. In the meantime, it's insulting to be told by neuroscience that I'm an addictive type. It's pathologizing my just indignation at psychiatry's niggardly pharmacopoeia.
We don't need people to get "clean." We need people to start living a fulfilling life. The two things are different.
Chesterton might as well have been speaking about the word 'addiction' when he wrote the following: "It is useless to have exact figures if they are exact figures about an inexact phrase."
The government causes problems for those who are habituated to certain drugs. Then they claim that these problems are symptoms of an illness. Then folks like Gabriel Mate come forth to find the "hidden pain" in "addicts." It's one big morality play created by drug laws.
Chesterton wrote that, once you begin outlawing things on grounds of health, you open a Pandora's box. This is because health is not a quality, it's a balance. To decide legality based on 'health' grounds thus opens a Pandora's box of different points of view.
Using the billions now spent on caging users, we could end the whole phenomena of both physical and psychological addiction by using "drugs to fight drugs." But drug warriors do not want to end addiction, they want to keep using it as an excuse to ban drugs.
Jim Hogshire described sleep cures that make physical withdrawal from opium close to pain-free. As for "psychological addiction," there are hundreds of elating drugs that could be used to keep the ex-user's mind from morbidly focusing on a drug whose use has become problematic.
And this is before we even start spending those billions on research that are currently going toward arresting minorities.
When doctors try to treat addiction without using any godsend medicines, they are at best Christian Scientists and at worst quacks. They are like the doctors in Moliere's "M
As Moliere demonstrated in the hilarious finale, anyone can be THAT kind of doctor by mastering a little Latin and walking around pompously in the proper uniform.
Like the pompous white-coated doctor in the movie "Four Good Days" who ignores the entire formulary of mother nature and instead throws the young heroin user on a cot for 3 days of cold turkey and a shot of Naltrexone: price tag $3,000.

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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, Time to Glorify Drug Use published on March 28, 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)