Essay date: May 16, 2023

Why Rick Doblin is Ghosting Me

An open letter to apologists for the psychiatric pill mill

When you cut me do I not bleed,
when I send you a 150-page book full of op-ed pictures in protest of the Drug War, do I not expect at least an acknowledgment of receipt?

I thought it would be easy to find like minds in the fight to end prohibition. Unfortunately, I'm finding some of the big-name advocates of pushback are also firm believers in the power of antidepressants to treat depression. I personally do not think that anyone completely understands the Drug War if they do not realize that the psychiatric pill mill is a creation of that war, for prohibition gives psychiatry a monopoly on mind medicine. The supporters will tell you that some users say the meds are useful -- but if I've learned anything after 40 years of poorly treated depression, it's that a depressed person is the last person qualified to report on their own condition. I used to think I was not depressed -- until I stopped and looked at all the goals I had not accomplished in the past in spite of what I had considered to be my firm commitment to that end. Moreover, when I took a psychedelic in my early 20s, I was exposed to a world of such potential that I suddenly considered the ambition of psychiatry to be shabby. Their pills did not motivate by comparison, they tranquilized.

But the real problem is this: 1 in 4 American women are dependent on Big Pharma for life. That's a scandal! And a profitable one, apparently, because I'm one of the few who even mentions that it exists. (See Julie Holland for some more honesty on this score.)

Now, you're not going to tell me that 25% of American females are depressed enough to warrant turning them into wards of the healthcare state? Well, if they really ARE that depressed, then something is wrong with America, not with its female population.

Finally, there are two ways to view psychiatry today: one is the typical way, in which we ignore the Drug War, in which we might say that pill-popping is the only game in town. The other way to look at psychiatry today is realistically, by taking into account the war on drugs by which we outlaw almost all psychoactive medicines. If psychiatrists saw their field in this true light -- as the expensive and demoralizing default option only because of tyrannical law that outlaws mother nature -- then they would (or at least they should) be the first to protest on behalf of patients and say to government: "We demand the right to prescribe anything that will work for our patients!"

Instead, psychiatrists have gone along with this game, pretending that antidepressants are good in and of themselves, telling patients to "take their meds," when the best one can say about those meds is that they're the only medicine the government will let people have for depression. That's a poor endorsement, indeed, especially since lifelong users like myself have been infantilized by these drugs, turned into a ward of the healthcare state and denied the meds that truly work, many of which grow at my very feet, the drugs that inspire rather than tranquilize.

So if they wish to ignore me, fine: But I'm not going to behave like Polonius and switch my opinions to suit the self-interested zeitgeist, even if it might encourage folks like Rick Doblin and DJ Nutt to respond to my letters, or at least to acknowledge receipt for the book of mine that I sent them two years ago now.

Who are these apologists for antidepressants? They're easy to identify. Just look for folks who use the term "treatment-resistant depression," for the use of that term implies that there is a legal treatment for depression that works -- namely, SSRIs and SNRIs -- and that those who do not profit from them are the oddballs with the quirky body chemistry that does not know a cure when it sees one.

The irony is that, even if SSRIs worked for me, their positive effect would be negated by the fact that psychiatry has turned me into a patient for life, with the demoralizing trips to the doctor every three months to see an LPN that is half my age (at best), to answer questions about my predilection for suicide and how much sleep I'm getting.

LPN: Have you considered suicide in the last three months?
ME: Only when I think about the fact that psychiatry has turned me into an eternal patient.

May 19, 2023
I know, folks, I know. I told Brian he was being rash, but I'm just his editor, not his boss, as he himself is wont to remind me from time to time. I do want to clarify, however, that Rick Doblin is not a psychiatrist, as might be inferred from the above (ahem) no doubt interesting remarks. However, Rick IS playing ball with the DEA and the federal government, in which case he's probably forced to adhere to the well-funded fiction that SSRIs and SNRIs "have their place." I mean, who's going to help Rick with drug legalization if he even SUGGESTS that such a step would render Big Pharma's drugs unnecessary?

Still, I think it is fair to ask: would it have killed Rick to have at least acknowledged receipt of Brian's 150-page book with op-ed pics making points about the Drug War that no one else has even thought of, even if the book in question DID bash the psychiatric pill mill?

Next essay: What Carl Hart Missed
Previous essay: Open Letter to Dr. Carl L. Hart

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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. 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