An Introduction to the Drug Situation in America
The concept of drugs and drug use has come a considerably far distance since the early days of "twenty years for possession and life for sale." The days of imprisonment for decades and decades for marijuana possession is a thing of the past, as much as the scarlet letter is considered a relic of a barbaric and cruel people. Most liberal cities, and even conservative cities that have libertarian judges, are now seeing that there is no solution in imprisoning a smoker of marijuana. Instead, many cities have seen a better policy in giving out tickets to those caught smoking marijuana. In most cities and states, these tickets are comparable to the traffic tickets that drivers sometimes incur. Policy has even been liberalized for those who use heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Instead of thinking that imprisonment will heal them, it is understood that many of these people suffer from an addiction that is beyond their control, and that they are seeking help for their problems. Finally, society is starting to accept the idea that drugs are something that people go to when they are in search of a good, and many people survive lifestyles that involve frequent drug use, but there are some people who become addicted junkies that always suffer for their substance. Every year, it seems that sentences and punishments for drug possession and drug use are becoming more lenient; they are becoming more ethical. I look forward to the day when I can go to my local grocery store and a buy the top-brand, high-quality, imported marijuana in bulk packaging, the way they sell one pound tobacco bags. I am looking forward to this day, but I know in my heart, that with people like these, it may very well take some time.
What is the way that people in our society receive their drugs? When you look at the legal method, we discover the closed society of prescription drugs. There is Xanax and Buspar. For Epileptics and paranoid schizophrenics, there is Depakote and an entire class of anti-psychotics. For those in a minimum of pain, there is acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. For those in mild to moderate pain, there are elixirs of codeine with acetaminophen and hydrocodone with ibuprofen. And for those in extreme pain, there are the powerful painkillers of oxycodone and oxycontin. There are medications to treat social anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, depression, insomnia, and just about any emotional problem that mankind could conjure up through his awkward and thoughtless habits of life. Doctors give out prescriptions to the patients they examine and the drug/dosage depend on the doctor's assessment of their patient. A patient's access to the drugs necessary to curing a human ailment depend completely on the conscience and policy of the doctor.
What does this mean? It means that there is an office filled by a human, between a person and their need for prescription medication. Anyone who has studied human history will know that people are easily apt to corruption. Doctors, in their right to prescribe any medication to any person, have committed some great and unforgivable acts of cruelty. From bribes and "incentives," they have prescribed medication that was from only certain pharmaceutical companies. One of the megacorporations pays doctors to prescribe only their medicine, no matter what the ailment. In the end, the patient is forced to overpay for brand-name medication that isn't helpful to his condition. Then again, there is the reverse case, where people are willing to pay for high-cost doctors, simply because the doctor will prescribe a controversial drug that others wouldn't. Whether because of pressure from the medical community, the moral community, or the religious fundamentalists, many doctors will not prescribe the drugs that patients need. But, when a doctor does, he charges a great deal. They are the drug dealers of the acceptable world. Again, the poor people who can't afford efficient doctors are the ones who must suffer for this social organization, an arrangement of social units and social order that we were born in to. In the end, a system has been created to suppress the will and desire of the poor people, while the wealthy and ruling class is allowed to break the laws they create.
Then, between the anti-psychotics and the benzodiazepines, between the sedatives and the stimulants, there is the world of illegal chemicals. Marijuana, for example, has limitless applications, not just in the industrial world, but also in the medical world. While these facts remain to be true and accepted in the scientific community, the white house is still full of conservatives and regressive personality. These feudal lords do not have daughters, sons, nieces, or nephews who are suffering from a terrible illness that only marijuana would treat. Our representatives have failed us. But many states have opposed the federal ban on marijuana. There are states that have allowed their physicians to prescribe marijuana to its citizens. Even in an oppressive, imperialistic government, the subordinate authority structures openly refuse to follow the federal government's legislation. The federal government allows certain exceptions to their drug laws. Needless to say, this fact goes underreported. The Air Force uses Methedrine for its pilots. President Nixon once ordered that a news commentator (Jack Anderson) be given food laced with LSD before going on air. ["The Ends of Power," by H.R. Haldeman, page 6, 1978.] Before 1974, Ibuprofen was not available in the United States. An extremely effective and extremely safe drug was banned by the FDA. Less than one hundred years ago, American policy allowed the use of heroin as a painkiller. Are we led to believe that authority today is immutable, even though it has a history of error and lies? Every year, the DEA puts new drugs on emergency scheduled status. New substances, which produce nearly identical effects to illegal drugs, are discovered, popularized, and then outlawed. At what point are these people going to realize that they are only chipping away at the rights of happiness and liberty of the Americans? Hypocrites have no answer.
What would happen if you were seriously hurt? Perhaps one day, the universe was so unforgiving in its sad and depressed rules of nature, and fate was against you; you were hit by a car, or accidentally cut yourself deeply while cutting vegetables, or someone attacks you and tries to kill you. And your doctor, in his mercy and forgiveness on behalf of mankind, this priest and witchdoctor to god of the new era, has prescribed you Percocet, or Oxycodone, or Hydrocodone. But, perhaps both god and goddess of fate had been plotting against you, and you are referred to a doctor who prescribes you ibuprofen. You might have lost a finger in an industrial accident. You might have scarlet fever, running a temperature of one hundred and seven. But, after waiting in line for a half hour, seeking relief that is only available through a prescription, you get something you could have bought right away at any store, an over-the-counter medication. This is the misery that we must recognize as human based systems of authority. Doctors have been given a power almost like judge, jury, and executioner. Only the physician can be allowed to let a person have a medication. One doctor might look at a patient in pain, and say, "I can imagine what misery he is going through. I will give him a strong pain-killer because I know that is what he needs." Another doctor, one of less virtue and "more morals," would look at the same patient and say, "No matter how much pain you are in, I know that the pain-killers and other drugs I could give you would only do you more harm, they would morally corrupt you." For, in fact, there can be no other excuse when denying a patient pain killer medication.
In the beginning, the idea might have been, that a person educated in pharmacology would be more effective in writing prescriptions than the patients, but the idea has changed in to an oppressive legal institution. People know their own bodies the best and only a person who is given all available information can make the best decision for themselves. There are changes that must be adopted by the present system so that patients have access to drugs that they need. The authority of the patient should be accepted as the only necessary authority to a prescription. The conservatives and followers of tradition can make all the arguments that they wish. "But, the intoxication of the chemicals might corrupt the individual," or "If we let them use the drugs that only some people need, they might become addicted." As the enemies of progress make these arguments, one thing is happening: the people who need these drugs, who need these chemicals in order to stay alive and out of pain, are denied what they need. The medication that is necessary to prevent HIV from deteriorating into AIDS costs pennies per dose to produce. On the legal market, doses can go $100, but the illegal market has seen and laughed at this markup, selling doses for less than $10 or $5. Personally, I once went to a physician when I was suffering from Mono, and he gave me a codeine elixir; the prescription quickly ran out, and I went to another doctor, who refused to refill it or give me any painkiller prescription. The astoundingly bitter contradiction rips apart the flesh of my brain: "Why is it that the one key I have to escaping the pain that burns me, is in the hands of fickle and unreliable physicians?" This is not an attack on the professionals of the medical community either. I am related by blood and friendship with many of them, and all of them have agreed with me that these changes need to be adopted by society at once. As I said, while conservatives argue about the stupidity of the "reeferhead movement," there are people whose bodies are rotting in hospitals. They pray for death, because the one drug they need to cure their ailment, Marijuana, has been deemed a menace, a serious threat to their and our security.
I'm a Humanitarian. But, I'm also a revolutionary. If there exists in this world a substance that can make me happier, that can satisfy my desires, that can aid me in helping others and in making myself feel more liberated, why am I required for the local government to accept it? It is well known that the masses were supportive of Civil Rights for a long time before the government would ever accept it. It was also well known that Women's Suffrage was accepted among the population before the American government was ever close to accepting it. Systems of power rarely leave minorities without some sense of exploitation. These drugs are illicit chemicals that my legislators and judges believe is a harm to me, and despite the fact that these legislators and judges do not understand me or my body or my wants, they feel they are fully and completely capable of using violence, coercion, and force in order to make me abstain from drug use. As I said, I'm a revolutionary. I'm not waiting for the government to outlaw poverty, war, or corrupt politicians, and I'm not going to wait for this council of arbitrary people to legalize something that I already know is good for myself. Martin Luther King Jr. never waited for the law to grant civil rights to African Americans. His message was, and always will remain, "When the government has denied the people their right to life, liberty, and happiness, it is their duty as friends of freedom to go to the streets." Those who feel that the law should always be upheld, whether on the matter of drugs or not, are enemies to the revolution... Why I am going to let these people in positions of power control my actions, when I don't know them, and when they don't know me? Solution: ignore the law. Use the drugs that you want, but never use them carelessly, foolishly, or ignorantly. Know the risks, know your body, know your drug. If we are ever going to get drug use accepted by the majority of Americans, then we have to be smart and responsible with our habits. That is the greatest suggestion I can ever make to my fellow members of the drug liberation movement.
If my reader should ever be in doubt of these principles, I ask them to visit a terminally ill patient, to hold their hand, look in to their eyes, see their soul in the fog of suffering and misery, and tell them, "Because these people you didn't believe in were elected, when you were given no alternative in the matter, you have to die slowly, painfully, and surely... Your only hope is to pray for some spontaneous momentum in congress to legalize the drugs that you need to end your pain. Until then, I can't give you any sympathy."
Drug Use Is An Advantage
Our American culture is fond of having a monopoly of opinion on drugs. In their eyes, drugs can only be seen as a way of cheapening every experience, but I would like my readers to think of another way to see drugs. Think of them as advantages. Consider, for instance, when a person has insomnia and their life is ruined by the constant misery of perpetual and unrelenting fatigue. They struggle at night just to sleep, and during their day time, they become ultra-sensitive to light, to sound, and they are much more apt to headaches and other aches and pains. Their complaint is simple...
"Every night, I toss and turn, chasing that state of unconsciousness that seems to come so easily to other people. I could never fall asleep unless I had some mastery of will power at the moment. Sleeping pills never seemed to work. They just made me feel drunk, stupid, and slow. And, it just seemed that my condition of insomnia was common to a certain part of the population, who simply must face their problems head on and tackle the issue with their strength. But, then I discovered Xanax and Valium. If I knew I had a twelve hour shift at work, I could now make sure that I could get ten to eleven hours sleep right before it. When I take two Valium 10 mg pills and two Xanax 4mg pills, I am out cold and when I wake up, the sleep was so deep that even my soul feels cleansed."
That is the wonder of the chemicals of our world. They act as a short cut to a certain emotional state that would otherwise only be conquered with the most extreme of stress and pain. A man who suffers the miseries of insomnia will be asleep in ten minutes, and he will avoid the three hours of miserable half-awake/half-asleep status quo, only to sleep poorly for five hours. A man who finds himself in a situation where he needs to do repetitive work, whether it's filing office papers or working at a position in an assembly line, this man will find his productivity to be higher and his morale to be soaring if he were under the influence of amphetamines, particularly Dextro-Amphetamine. Those of us who have endured the misery that is repetitive labor know that we are easily distracted from labor, that much of the time is spent in idleness, that it makes us question the very nature of our sheer existence! Should the person be under the influence of amphetamine, repetitive labor would almost feel glorious. Again, as I've said, the drug improves the efficiency and the morale of the user, helping him contribute to his society's wealth with higher output.
Those of us who are stuck in low-grade service jobs, those of us who make minimum wage and have to smile to the demand of every customer, those of us who have to work in these positions because the Capitalist system has made nothing of us but slaves! -- we are very aware, that use of Benzodiazepines will ease the pain and the stress of our situations. Above all, it must be recognized that McDonald's workers, Taco Bell workers, telemarketers, and canvassers are poor people, who work their jobs because our socially impotent economy had nothing better to offer. We are working these jobs because we need to pay our rent and buy our food and beer. If we did not work these jobs, we would be beggars. But, regardless of this fact, of the "Americanized ideal of rags to riches," all middle class and upper class members will look down on us with scorn, always acting as though our desires were childish and barbaric, as though our dreams were silly and unrealistic. To these members of the philanthropist, senator-bribing, idolized mark of mankind class, our thoughts mean nothing, our experience means nothing, and we mean nothing. To us, Benzodiazepines are sometimes the greatest way of getting through our day and suffering through the hours of being treated poorly by upper class people. Valium, Xanax, Klonopins. All wonderful choices of the working class friend at the job site.
The world of the mushroom and the LSD vial has always been a world full of pleasure, enlightenment, and an enormous release of inhibition. Psychedelic drugs have acted as this wonderful addition to every person's life. There are thoughts that build up unconsciously and become dormant, stuck, and unmoving; they act as this perpetual source of misery and corruption in the life of the person. They cannot be removed with the nightly use of relaxing chemicals like opium, marijuana, and other downers are not capable of destroying the unconscious suffering. Something as powerful as LSD, psilocybin, and mescal is necessary to seriously addressing and coping with the hidden, deep issues of a person's psyche. Wealthy people, who are always willing to over intoxicate and destroy their bodies with gin and whiskey, who will use every expensive brand of tobacco, but will not touch the marijuana plant with a ten foot stick -- these wealthy people have no reason to support the psychedelic drug revolution. While the other drugs that we use are involved in our lives only for practical purposes, such as achieving the end of inducing sleep, or getting through work, or releasing recently built up pain and stress, the psychedelic drug is always heralded as the greatest releaser of long-term issues that tear away at the soul. They are fantastic at allowing the user to contemplate their situation in life, their place in society. If it were not for the use of psychedelic drugs, we would allow our lives to be completely guided by miserable and bitter principles that are based on prejudice. And those who run the world, that small faction that has complete control over ninety percent of the world's wealth, they can never support something taboo that would help people empower themselves for effective social change.
Consider the people who don't wish to use these kinds of drugs. Consider the workers who are opposed to Valium as an aid to service labor, who oppose amphetamine as an aid to industrial labor. Consider the worker, whose only incentive after a long day of stress and endurance tests is a pipe with a bowl filled with marijuana. Or maybe opium. Or maybe some other drug, no matter how unpopular or destructive society views it as. These laborers, who spend the larger part of their conscious days in sweat and toil, these laborers should be given the freedom to put whatever substance in their body that they want. After all, they already seem to be doing this regardless of the law. The working class people of this world are smart enough, to know that every unjust law should be violated as a means of pursuing a greater sense of equity and social justice. The law was made for the rich, by the rich, reflecting their prejudices and misguided sense of religion, as much as it reflected their cruelty and barbaric nature. We break the laws to intoxicate ourselves, because we know this truth: the law was made as an oppressor to the weak, in order to serve the interests of corporations and wealthy parties.
We are all of a progressive enough mind state that, no matter how much damage has been done by methamphetamine, or heroin, or cocaine, no matter how much addiction or broken lives will be created by it, we always know, that making it illegal will always make it much worse. If drugs are kept illegal, there will be more overdoses, there will be more addiction, there will be more crime, and there will be more destruction of the public spirit. It is almost as though we are examining the history of the movement for free speech. The wealthy parties had concluded, that if religionists preach charity as the Salvation Army did, its members should be beaten and behind bars. The wealthy parties agreed, that anyone of any Communist or Socialist group, was to be considered a traitor to the nation. The wealthy parties agreed, time and time again, that any reference to the freeing and loosening of sexual etiquette, must be ticketed and fined. All words of public figures were always suspect, always criminal. But when protestors were beaten, when poor men were shot to death in the streets for gathering for their rights, when twenty year prison sentences were given out to people who spoke their minds -- when these things happened, they were such gross and cruel violations of the constitution, that the people rallied together in order to overthrow all oppressive chains. There were still people who opposed these new tides; they call themselves the Far Right. But, yes, the movement for free speech was much like the movement for drug liberation. No matter how much damage it is believed that free speech causes, oppression of it always causes more problems. And, no matter how much damage it is believed that drugs cause, oppression of it has always brought us more social problems.
Much like on the position of abortion, we are opposed to the upper class. The upper class holds the political idea that drugs are a hindrance to the virtue of people; yet none of these upper class people must work at all -- they do not contribute at all to society's wealth, so they would have no way of understanding the stress. In the situation of abortion, upper class women are always opposed, because they have the wealth and the economic means to have someone paid to raise their child, so that the entire day of the upper class mother is spent in luxury and leisure. Upper class women can afford to oppose abortion, because they have never had problems raising their children. They can solve all of their problems with wealth. While they maintain the means of wealth, they argue that those without it must be highly restricted. Their habits and mode of life must conform to the same mode of life as the wealthy! They must be forced to believe in monogamy, in abstinence from drug use, in the puritanical ideas of guilt and misery. They have the wealth and we do not. For this reason, they can never understand the misery and hardship that comes with motherhood from a drug-infested ghetto with a lifetime of low-paying jobs. There is no doubt that all upper class people never work filthy, degrading jobs, so they can never understand the stress of the working man; they are dissociated from us, without any knowledge or care about our sufferings. So it seems, that we as working class progressives must support the right of citizens to intoxicate themselves with whatever substance is their pleasure, just as much as women have the right to control their bodies and their reproductive organs. This is what I have affectionately always referred to as the drug liberation movement.
Improved Living Standards
Wise men make themselves familiar with those things that are required of him. The end conclusion to this process, is that many of us become aware of parts of existence that could be improved. Either in our lives, or the lives of those around us, we see misery, we see pain, we see inhibitions, we see people captivated and trapped by walls of concrete. Perhaps the study of evolutionary biology would be helpful in understanding why we have certain emotions, why our minds sometimes stray towards apathy or intolerance, why prejudices and bigotries conquer minds and destroy lives. Do these attributes of human personality have an advantage that would make the species more effective in competing environments? Is there anything about these traits that would contribute to society, that is to say, the advanced state of mankind's natural condition? Many would disagree. A person's natural tendency to love themselves more than they love their neighbor is an example of people falling short of the ideal. A person can be conditioned to have disgust to things that are actually beautiful, or they can be conditioned and educated in unnatural habits of human society that inhibit desires and hopes. There are moments in our existence where we feel that we have failed ourselves, or maybe that we failed those who depend on us. Psychologists and psychiatrists are particularly fond of the idea that depression can be caused by certain symptoms, such as a death in the family or a traumatic experience. They are preachers of the idea that depression can be cured with simple remedies, such as Prozac, Depakote, Librium, or other anti-depressants/anti-psychotics. "Mood stabilizers." In the case of children with ADD or ADHD, they are given an amphetamine, either Ritalin, Adderall, or some combination of Dextroamphetamines with other pharmaceutical crank.
Right action starts with right mind. That is the wisdom that fuels all men and women interested in enlightenment through chemicals -- soldiers for freedom to intoxicate, people who can be called psychonauts. Hallucinogens and psychedelics come to us in the form of LSD blotter, psilocybin mushrooms, mescalin cactus buttons, and all sorts of powders and pills. The effect that these drugs have on the mind is extremely specific. An article in Wikipedia describes the ability of Hallucinogens in "enhancing or amplifying the thought processes of the brain typically through the disabling of filters which block or suppress unimportant or undesired signals to the conscious mind from other parts of the brain..." ["Hallucinogens," Wikipedia.] These drugs were once used by psychologists and psychiatrists to treat mental disorders. Despite the great amount of success they had, Western civilization's moralists created a taboo surrounding drugs; it was not the first time that scientific progress was restricted due to the lies of authority and the prejudices of society. The action of a psychedelic drug in the mind is incredibly different from any of the other medications physicians use for psychotherapy. Unlike anti-psychotics and benzodiazepines, psychedelic drugs activate or deactivate parts of the brain, allowing the individual to feel, understand, and know things that would otherwise be hidden in the subconscious. This technique is especially useful for reviving a repressed memory, coping with a traumatic event, or helping the user discover what they genuinely desire. Ancient tribes have used naturally occurring hallucinogens for everything, from ceremonies to religious rites to shamanic omens. If psychedelic drugs have a pattern in religion, in that they tap in to man's most tender sense, spirituality, then we must accept that they have an invaluable use to mankind. Even the DEA is willing to admit the following...
The idea of using chemicals to help heal the mind and the body is a long-established tradition of modern medicine. However, the primary argument against the legalization of recreational drugs is that they are harmful. People are likely to accept the idea that drugs are harmful, only because every alternative to that theory has been considered taboo or even indecent by society's standards. The human characteristic of the monoculture survives once again. In the United States, the drug Ibogaine is outlawed. Odd. It's been proven as the most clinically effective drug in detoxing people from heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and methadone addiction. Not only is it the most effective detox for hard drug use, but it is also a powerful psychedelic drug. Ibogaine induces hallucinations, helping the user to identify the problems in their life that led them to their addictions. In America, Ibogaine is illegal, but it continues to be used with unbelievable success in Mexico and all over Europe.
Marijuana -- honestly, it should be described as a cure-all. We are all aware that this drug produces intense hunger cravings. In the 1930's and 1940's, when a good appetite was considered healthy, the anti-marijuana propaganda failed to elaborate on how it creates hunger. In criminal cases where the prosecution discovers evidence that might prove the innocence of the defendant, they are obliged by law and ethics to hand over this evidence over. The establishment is a bit smarter than to be bound by morals. Marijuana's active ingredient, THC, causes hunger, which makes it the best medicine for patients with AIDS or HIV, or patients enduring chemotherapy. These patients can go through a condition of muscular atrophy because of their lack of activity and appetite. The aid to Glaucoma patients is already a popular one. People suffering from epilepsy have the choice of taking Depakote for their misery -- a drug with the potential to cause violent or unstable reactions. Marijuana treats Epilepsy a great deal better: it doesn't produce any violent reactions, its effects last for a longer time, and nobody has ever died from smoking it. Research by German scientists suggests that marijuana can help erase traumatic memories, meaning that it can help trauma survivors readjust to the world by losing their fear. ["Natural high wipes out bad memories: 'Cannabinoid' linked to ability to forget scary stimuli," Reuters, 2003.] A panel of health experts in Oregon suggested the use of marijuana for Schizophrenia, Schizo-Affective Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety (with Depression), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Insomnia (with Anxiety), Attention Deficit Disorder, and agitation of Alzheimer's disease. ["Report of the Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana Petitions," April 14, 2000.] Marijuana even has an antibiotic effect. "Many of the cannabinoids (CBD, CBG, CBC and their acids) are highly active antibiotics against a wide range of bacteria." [Kechatov, E.A. 1959. Chemical and Biological Evaluation of Resin of Hemp Grown for Seed in Central Districts of the European Part of the USSR. Bull. Narc. 11 (4):5-9.] The drug can also produce beautiful and creative states of mind. Marijuana, as the lesser cousin of the hallucinogen group, has become a favorite of the world's progressive artists and thinkers.
Amphetamines. What use do they hold? On the street, the most popular amphetamine is Methamphetamine, a substance that has been the worst choice for many people. It is a type of dope, side by side with heroin and cocaine. There are other amphetamines, such as Dextro-amphetamine. There are even hallucinogenic amphetamines, such as MDMA ("Ecstasy") and D.O.M. (or S.T.P.). Even though speed has created a bad reputation for itself, there is still a good reason to believe that such chemicals might serve the genuine truth-seeker. Just like any drug, amphetamines release inhibition from the human mind. For some people, it might be that one chemical they discover which helps them achievement emotional or spiritual enlightenment. For other people, the effects of the drug might serve no purpose beyond hedonism: for them, occasional use of speed becomes the method by which they relieve long-term stress. For others still, amphetamines serve a wonderful utilitarian purpose: they produce the desire to accomplish things, and they increase the emotional rewards of accomplishing such activities. The United States government already supplies their Air Force pilots with this drug. Not only that, but its use is common among workers whose job requires repetition, such as truck drivers and factory workers. Drugs helping people labor more efficiently and more productively? It's certainly not a phrase repeated on any conservative talk show, but it's something one discovers with only a light investigation of the matter.
Benzodiazepines: Alprazolam ("Xanax"), Diazepam ("Valium"), Clonazepam ("Klonopin"). AKA: Anti-Anxiety. What use do they provide us with? By eliminating anxiety and stress, these drugs are useful in all those situations caused by modern life. Whether the moment requires just a small nibble off of a Valium or whether it demands several Xanax really depends. To say that drug users are so disorganized with their lives that they cannot moderate their habits is ignorance. Our modern world can produce feelings of isolation, depression, and even panic attacks, much of it due to stress -- competition today demands much more from people than it once did in the past. The fabric of our social lives is weaved with bitter threads, all of them too weak to sustain the sometimes overcomplicated nature of society. Epicurus, an ancient philosopher, preached a philosophy of moderation: living in a way that alleviates our misery and satisfies our desires. Sometimes a situation can be too demanding, too stressful. And, the more we suffer, the more we become accustomed to it; we then learn to need it. Benzodiazepines make it very difficult for a person to feel any stress or any worries, making it an unbelievable sleep aid. It's a temporary escape from a threatening environment. Our politicians say that such a journey is criminal and should be punished. Whenever I return from my trips to the inner sanctum of consciousness, I always feel stronger, bolder, and more confident. By using these drugs I have improved my own living conditions. The day that drugs cease making me a humane and intelligent person is the when I will stop committing drug crimes.
Freedom from the State
If you must decide, on what you understand and all the thoughts that have been stirred, that you still are against the idea of using drugs yourself, then do not infringe on the freedom of others to use drugs. Those who oppose drugs promote the idea that, if something feels good, that it cannot be healthy. The human body can be healed and treated with a vast assortment of naturally occuring medicines, as well as synthesized medication. To believe that the brain can be healed by the intoxication caused by these substances is a view rarely considered in our society. The anti-drug conservatives were also the ones who argued that masturbation can cause physical health problems -- that sexual activity was extremely unhealthy and degenerative on the body and mind. Pleasure is taboo. To argue that those things that feel good are also good for you is an unbelievable position to take in our society. Nevertheless, it is the position that adheres most closely to the evidence that we have at our disposal. Right now the federal government imposes a strict censorship over drug dialogue, by their prohibition of all research in to the positive health effects of such drugs. Timothy Leary was expelled for his research in to LSD, only to discover that he was looking at a twenty year prison sentence -- for possession of marijuana, he was going to serve more time than a serial rapist. I am not arguing that drug addiction does not exist; nor am I arguing that it is not a problem for many people. As far as drug addiction is concerned, I have enough sense to know that people who are ready to admit that they have a problem and need help deserve a rehab program, not a prison cell. And those who are unwilling or do not desire to change, legal interference will only worsen their destructive habits.
These substances have created such ecstatic pleasures, such powerful emotional outlets, and an increase in creativity and open-mindedness -- this much about drugs cannot be denied by any party. These drugs create pleasures, in that they can act as a catalyst to religious, spiritual, or emotional experiences, many of these experiences with a long-lasting, profound, and positive effect. To deny any of these things would be a far cry from a real investigation in to the subject of chemical use and the use of intoxicants in society. All of these things are accepted as true when it comes to the use of illegal drugs, but the big government minds of our state want one idea to be deeply implanted before you make a choice. Addiction. "You will love that state of pure bliss and happiness so much, that you will become completely ineffective and uninterested in every other pursuit. The loving relationships you've built with family and friends will all crumble, because you'd spend your time out scoring drugs. You'll be so high that you cannot perform at work, which will lead to your unemployment." This is the stern warning of government. And, of course, if their logic, opinions, and well-reasoned discourse is not enough to convince you that drugs are wrong, there's an entire army of secret police, informants, and detectives that will hunt you down so they can destroy your life.
If you were ever to engage in conversation with an individual that represented a group like DARE or any anti-drug group, you'd probably hear the same rhetoric. Maybe if you were a questioning mind, your first question might be, "So, there's a moment of pleasure, happiness, and maybe even untapped spirituality in the drug?" "Addiction, addiction!" they will respond, "The cons here outweigh the pros!" While the government seems content to regulate drug habits, they seem to stay uninvolved with the other social activities. They have never abolished any sports activities, "because it fosters violence," and they have never outlawed a food "because it's unhealthy." There was one time when alcohol was outlawed, because it "is addictive and causes more misery than it alleviates," but that didn't last long, seeing that prohibition caused more drinking problems and violence. All of the reasons one might have for outlawing these socially approved activities are the same reasons our government approaches us with about drug use. It is very apparent and clear to any person that the use of a drug does not turn an individual in to an addict, nor does it destroy their lives. There are some whose lives were destroyed by drug use, no doubt, but there are millions more lives that are lost to unhealthy eating and exercise habits, as well as smoking and alcohol. If the police are involved in abolishing drug use because it is unhealthy, then why are they not involved in other health concerns? Every time you consider the situation, the facts look less and less appealing to the humane conscience. The only reasonable response to the political situation on drug use in America is a complete, radical break from traditional values. Just like our revolutionaries psychologists and psychiatrists had to declare to the world that sex and pleasure is great, so it is our duty as revolutionary psychonauts, to declare to the world that drugs have improved our lives considerably.
Is addiction real? Yes, it's very real, and I don't think that anyone should ever doubt its possibility. And while it is very real, my approach to you about addiction and drugs is not going to be: "Everything worthwhile has risks." If anyone defending drug use were to make this defense of addiction, he would certainly be perhaps one of my least educated fellows of the drug liberation movement. When one has made the decision in their lives that they are ready and willing to experiment with the inner journey, then there is definitely a safe and proper attitude to carry with you. Educate yourself. The world today is full of so much readily available information on drugs and their effects. The best policy is to understand the drugs that you use, and to study any chemical before you put it in your body. The enormous wealth of information on the drug topic means that there is no excuse ever for using a drug without making an effort to understand it. If you're doing a drug that is possibly mentally threatening, such as a psychedelic, then maybe you'll need a trip sitter. If it's a drug you're taking intravenously, maybe you should have a friend available just in case you need emergency assistance. The phrase that we use is: "Never get off alone." There are dangers that definitely come with this field, but so long as you are smart and you adhere to sound principles on experimentation, you will stray off the course of misfortune and pain. Never let yourself become over-confident with any drug. This is one part where I've failed several times; the procedures for useage had become so routine, that they were casual, and I've regretfully underestimated some dosages. Another phrase to remember is: "It is always better to underdose than overdose. The first is correctable, the second may not be."
This is by no means an educational manual on the safety hazards of chemical use, nor is it any attempt. Using drugs is no different than driving a vehicle: if you're wise, cautious, and trained, then you're likely to avoid all harmful results. In an ideal society, one would obtain the right to use a drug after taking a course, again, not much different than our society's procedure for obtaining the right to drive an automobile. Again, I am reiterating, don't put any foreign substance in to your body unless you're educated on the chemical and unless you know that you're accepting responsibility for your own actions. As a final warning to any person who is determined to walk the path of a psychonaut, I will say this: be ready to loosen and drop any prejudices you have about certain drugs. In a moment, you might find that heroin is a pleasant thing to do once a month to help relieve stress, and you might turn and find yourself in a painful addiction to Marijuana. Every drug has the potential to produce a great response, just as every drug has the potential to produce a horrible one. Keep your eyes open, don't do anything stupid, and make sure you're prepared before you jump in to the human subconscious.