Better Living Through Chemicals

An Introduction to the Drug Situation in America “Marihuana is that drug — a violent narcotic — an unspeakable scourge — The Real Public Enemy Number One! Its first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations — space expands — time slows down, almost stands still…. fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances — followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions… leading finally to acts of shocking violence… ending often in incurable insanity. In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of Marihuana addiction. If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose… Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter… or yours… OR YOURS!” — Reefer Madness, 1939

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,Guest Posting 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

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

– Karl Marx

["Theses on Feuerbach," by Karl Marx, Thesis 11, 1845.]

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

“Then can you wonder that persons who are inexperienced in the truth, as they have wrong ideas about many other things, should also have wrong ideas about pleasure and pain and the intermediate state; so that when they are only being drawn towards the painful they feel pain and think the pain which they experience to be real, and in like manner, when drawn away from pain to the neutral or intermediate state, they firmly believe that they have reached the goal of satiety and pleasure; they, not knowing pleasure, err in contrasting pain with the absence of pain, which is like contrasting black with grey instead of white –can you wonder, I say, at this?”

– Plato, The Republic, Book 9

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…

“In contrast to the trafficking of other drugs, in which profit is the sole motivating factor, LSD trafficking has assumed an ideological or crusading aspect. The influence of — and probable distribution by — certain psychedelic generation gurus has created a secretiveness and marketing mystique unique to LSD, particularly at the higher echelons of the traffic. Their belief in the beneficent properties of LSD has been, over the years, as strong a motivating factor in the production and distribution of the drug as the profits to be made from its sale.” ["LSD in the United States," DEA Publication, chapter 6, Oct. 1995.]

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.

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