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Why American Drug Policy is Insane

by Ballard Quass, the Drug War Philosopher

February 23, 2019

irst America takes away the citizens' right to manage their own pain by rendering opium illegal. Then the American psychiatric field decides that it will treat the resultant epidemic of depression by damaging the patient's brain, i.e. by treating depressed patients using electroshock therapy.

Imagine what this says about our attitude toward drugs: It means literally that we would rather damage a depressed patient's brain than allow them to be made happy, damage-free, by the occasional use of naturally-occurring medications such as opium that are not under the control of psychiatrists.

This is insanity.

I shared these thoughts online on Reddit, assuming that the point I was making was self-evident. To my horror, I found many otherwise sane-sounding individuals indignantly protesting that ECT was a valuable tool in the psychiatric arsenal, even though the therapy's very proponents admit that it can cause brain damage. I was finally, in fact, banned from posting on the Reddit Psychedelic Studies group because I had outraged the many fans of traditional psychiatry by my heretical stand on ECT - as well as other dubious "cures," such as addictive modern anti-depressants, to which one in four women are now addicted in America and which conduce to anhedonia and a loss of creativity in long-term users.

Even if we grant that ECT is "better than nothing" (a lax standard, indeed, for efficacy!) surely it is unconscionable to use such damaging and addictive treatments when emphatically successful benign treatments are staring us in the face in the outdoor pharmacopeia provided by Mother Nature, in the form of opium, mushrooms, ibogaine, etc.

Doctors claim that ECT is a last resort - but what they really mean is that all better options have been rendered illegal.

If ECT is really required these days, we should at least make it clear that we are forced to that expedient by inane drug laws - rather than pretending to ourselves that this is a inherently beneficial treatment choice that we have selected for its own peculiar merits.

In other words, the DEA and all who believe in it should be shamed every time we are forced to damage a patient's brain in order to relieve depression via ECT - since it is the Drug War's know-nothing mindset that has deprived the suffering of God-given natural medicine that could give them reason to live. So the next time we bemoan the newly vapid personality of a victim of ECT, let's remember to point fingers of blame at the self-righteous Drug Warriors.

The first step in combating the devastating Drug War is to acknowledge its inanity. This means that is the doctor's moral responsibility to turn every shock therapy session into a publicity stunt to shame the Drug Warriors who made the barbaric treatment necessary. If we fail to do that, then it is not just our drug policy that is crazy and immoral but Americans themselves, as witnessed by their patient acceptance of brain-damaging cures and their failure to recognize (let alone denounce) the fascist forces that have rendered such Pyrrhic treatments necessary.

{^Doctors say that "shock therapy is a last resort," but what they really mean is, "shock therapy is a last resort once we rule out all the hundreds of godsend psychoactive plants that the DEA does not allow us to use or even study." Not only are doctors in denial about the DEA's role in making shock therapy necessary, but authors are as well. Few authors (apart from genius Thomas Szasz) see the connection between hideous psychiatric treatment and America's anti-scientific Drug War.}{

August 31, 2022

Was Brian groveling -- or at least kowtowing? This was before he (Brian) had shipped a copy of his (Brian's) book to Rick Doblin, who promptly began ignoring it. Which I completely understand, by the way, because Rick has enough on his hands without going after the addictive MO of modern psychiatry, which is chiefly what my book was about, or rather was attempting to illustrate with collage-like op-ed pics.

What concerns me is that Rick Doblin may truly believe in the modern religion of omnipresent psychiatry. I was rather disappointed to find that DJ Nutt was also a member of the psychiatric booster club, but then he's a psychiatrist after all, and it's no doubt hard for him to accept the fact that he's been doping up his patients to no purpose during the last decade or three. Not only do the pills in question not correct a chemical imbalance, they appear to actually cause one. That's why the SSRIs create chemical dependence, I figure, by establishing a new baseline for one's brain chemistry, which takes years (if ever) to correct.

Even if DJ and company deny the science, which shows that SSRIs fail, the psychological facts are that dependence makes me a ward of the health care state and an eternal patient, with all the emotional baggage that brings with it. Do you think I like regular 45-minute pilgrimages to the nearest city to watch kids 1/3 my age deciding whether I'm trustworthy enough to keep using their expensive substances upon which they have rendered me dependent. Also, if Big Pharma wants to cure my depression, they have to know how I define a "cure" for depression: namely, in my case, living large would cure my depression. So don't think you are curing my depression by tranquilizing me and making me settle for second best in my life.

Next essay: Why Hollywood Owes Richard Nixon an Oscar
Previous essay: In Praise of Thomas Szasz

More Essays Here

Some Tweets against the hateful war on drugs

Q: Where can you find almost-verbatim copies of the descriptions of religious experiences described by William James? A: In descriptions of user reports of "trips" on drugs ranging from coca to opium, from MDMA to laughing gas.
They drive to their drug tests in pickup trucks with license plates that read "Don't tread on me." Yeah, right. "Don't tread on me: Just tell me how and how much I'm allowed to think and feel in this life. And please let me know what plants I can access."
The problem for alcoholics is that alcohol decreases rationality in proportion as it provides the desired self-transcendence. Outlawed drugs can provide self-transcendence with INCREASED rationality and be far more likely to keep the problem drinker off booze than abstinence.
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.
It's "convenient" for scientists that their "REAL" cures happen to be the ones that racist politicians will allow. Scientists thus normalize prohibition by pretending that outlawed substances have no therapeutic value. It's materialism collaborating with the drug war.
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.
If the depressed patient laughs, that means nothing. Materialists have to see results under a microscopic or they will never sign off on a therapy.
I'd like to become a guinea pig for researchers to test the ability of psychoactive drugs to make aging as psychologically healthy as possible. If such drugs cannot completely ward off decrepitude, they can surely make it more palatable. The catch? Researchers have to be free.
Materialist scientists cannot triumph over addiction because their reductive focus blinds them to the obvious: namely, that drugs which cheer us up ACTUALLY DO cheer us up. Hence they keep looking for REAL cures while folks kill themselves for want of laughing gas and MDMA.
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."
More Tweets

essays about

Ten Points that no one ever makes about so-called Drugs
The Good Side of Methamphetamines
Not Using is Always Safer?
There is no drug problem
The Totally Unspoken Truth About Drugs
The Book of the Damned continued

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, Why American Drug Policy is Insane published on February 23, 2019 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)