America’s complete and utter mismanagement of the Drug War (patent pending) is nothing short of an egregious crime against humanity on all fronts. We’ve bungled the drug problem. There’s no way to avoid that highly inconvenient truth any longer.
Most people still have a warped and uneducated perception of what “drugs” are, what they do and how best to approach the issue of addiction. Our zero tolerance, self-righteous, “just say no” fucking Sunday School bullshit was stupid when Dick Nixon was wagging his crooked, racist little fingers around the Oval Office and it’s even stupider in 2023.
The cruel irony is not lost on me that while Nixon was busy tipping over the first 100-ton, solid lead dominoes of the Drug War, he was simultaneously sending the young men of America to slaughter in Vietnam. A whole generation of young adults had to watch their friends die because of bad decisions they had nothing to do with. Now, 60 years later, an entire generation of young adults are watching their friends drop like flies from fentanyl overdose because of bad decisions we had nothing to do with. We have come full circle without learning a damn thing.
Why Are We Pretending That We Can Regulate This?
Prohibition doesn’t work and I’m really bloody tired of pretending it works to cater to the misguided notions of red state America. Their hard-nosed, pseudo-Christian, “not in my town” policies simply do not reflect common sense, peer-reviewed information on drug abuse or firsthand accounts from actual drug users. For years I have fought to change this perception in people because I consider drug use, which can also be described as consciousness exploration, to be one of the few inalienable human rights that has yet to be stolen from us.
Human beings have a right to get high and the only proof I need is that in all of human history, there is not one single example of an organized group of people who have managed to keep their entire population drug free. People have been getting high for as long as we’ve been keeping track, and no one’s been able to stop them. Not one dictator, monarch, president, pastor or cult leader has even managed to make a dent. Hell, most of them got high too.
We’ve made criminals out of millions of people in the name of the Drug War. Our prisons are literally overflowing with nonviolent drug offenders and the flow of drugs is stronger, more lucrative and more organized than ever before. Not only that, we can’t even stop drugs from flowing into the prisons themselves. Drugs are available in every single corner of this country, no matter how heavily guarded, how rural, or sparsely populated it may be and the threat of fentanyl overdose isn’t slowing anybody down.
Mad Scientists and Shitty Drugs
The real tragedy is that we haven’t criminalized drugs, we’ve criminalized the wrong drugs. Some of the most dangerous, ghastly, mind-melting substances ever concocted by man or beast are available for regular legal sale on the regular legal internet. They’re called research chemicals and they exist because of a legal loophole. The feds can’t chase their tails quick enough to keep up with how many novel chemicals get made every year and let me tell you, heroin and meth are a cakewalk compared to some of the shit these labs are making.
That’s why this whole thing is a farce. We’re pandering to people with wrong information and laboring under the delusion that restricting access to the ten or so most common drugs people know about will help the issue when a whole smorgasbord of life-changing substances can be found online, or in nature for that matter. There are literally millions of psychoactive chemicals, the vast majority of which have never been tried by humans and aren’t even on the government’s radar.
Most of these drugs aren’t very fun and the risk of encountering something completely unheard of in the wild is pretty low because there’s very little economic incentive to distribute them. People usually want what they’re familiar with. However, we’ve created a much bigger problem for ourselves because now we’ve got mad scientists synthesizing whatever twisted shit they can think of and letting a small but notable group of people be their own guinea pigs to decide what the next fentanyl will be.
D.A.R.E. Logic Will Kill Us All
We have allowed our country to become vulnerable by adopting a wait-and-see attitude when we could be teaching people how to keep themselves safe. When people don’t understand drugs, they’re at risk of having negative or harmful experiences with drugs. We have to properly educate people about what they’re taking but let’s be honest, education goes in one ear and out the other in this country. We can’t expect everyone who takes drugs to read books about them and listen to TED Talks until the problem just magically goes away. That might have been a good approach in the 1960’s, before we did years and years of irreparable damage, but thanks to the negligent actions of ugly, defiant war criminals we have to take more drastic steps than that.
What I’m proposing is an intentional shift in the way we talk about drugs in this country. Right now, the general consensus and educational party line is “don’t do them.” That’s the first thing I was taught about drugs and it was a very simple and easy-to-follow message when I was seven years old. I was taught that drug addicts were bad people who willingly threw their lives away and I was taught that the warm, heavenly glow of Jesus’ forgiveness did not shine on people who chose needles over salvation.
The problem is, these sentiments aren’t based in reality. I’d bet a year’s salary that at least one third of the country uses cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, heroin or meth on a regular basis and the ones that don’t are using something else to get by. Whether it’s prescription medication (which gets you high as fuck, I assure you), or coffee addiction or even someone who works out way too often: everyone is getting high.
Literally Grasping at Smoke
The arguably healthier people among us usually tend to chase natural highs produced by their own bodies in the form of exercise, consensual sex, accomplishing goals etc. Now imagine you’re leaving the gym after a killer workout or basking in your own fluids after the best sex you’ve had in months and some random bloke runs up to you wielding a handgun and blowing a whistle. The man then declares that you’re under arrest for being under the influence of depraved and dangerous chemicals.
It sounds insane, but both of those scenarios are nothing more than the logical continuation of the laws we already have in place. Your body releases dopamine after a big workout, and dopamine’s one of the same chemicals produced in the brain when you take drugs. I’m vastly over simplifying it, but the point is that trying to regulate the brain becomes very arbitrary and pointless when you understand the mechanisms at play.
The real thing we’re trying to regulate is addiction, and that stands to reason. Addiction kills people. Addiction fills our city streets with the homeless, corrupts even the strongest among us and, speaking as a recovering addict myself, it’s a personal hell I would not wish on anybody. However, I must argue that addiction is monumentally more harmful than it needs to be because of the way we wrote the drug laws.
Addicts lose all their money and end up homeless because drugs are expensive. Drugs are expensive because they’re illegal. Addicts suffer from overdose a lot. That would happen a lot less if they were getting clean, properly dosed drugs from a reputable source instead of a sketchy guy who is somehow always named Sage. Sage always has sketchy drugs because he doesn’t buy from a regulated supply chain, he buys whatever’s available. Not for nothing, but whatever’s available was usually smuggled in somebody’s rectal cavity.
The Pros and Cons of Uppers and Downers
Aside from the most extreme examples of drug use gone wrong, there’s another element to this that I cannot stress enough: drugs can be fucking incredible.
The first time I fell in love, I was on MDMA. The first time I took acid, I felt a holy electricity extend directly from God’s hands into my own and show me things I have yet to be able to put into words. Using cannabis for the first time as a teenager brought me out of the shameful, cowardly place I’d been bullied into as a scrawny, anxious adolescent and helped me to feel like I belonged in my own skin for the first time in my entire life. I found out I was going to be a father on mushrooms and I quit smoking cigarettes the very next day. Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had were over a pile of cocaine and hell, even one or two of the drugs without names were kinda fun looking back on it. Drugs are a worthwhile human experience and there are a plethora of net positives to be gained from taking the right drug, at the right dose, at the right time.
That said, drugs have also done irreparable damage to my life. I was addicted to prescription pills for years. I once did bath salts by accident. I once woke up in rehab with no memory whatsoever of signing up for it. It saved my life, but even years later I’m still dealing with the financial and personal consequences of the choices I made leading up to my own personal “rock bottom.” In addition to this, I’ve watched countless members of my circle and community succumb to fentanyl overdose, including one of my best childhood friends whose initials are tattooed on my left hand.
It would be really easy to blame the drugs for these misfortunes, but I don’t. I don’t blame the poison peddler who sold my friend his last pill and I don’t pretend to have been held at gunpoint by a Xanax pill. We all make choices. I tend to blame the government for refusing to pass common sense drug legislation, but alas, the government is merely a reflection of its constituents so really, we must blame ourselves.
An Indecent Proposal
The answer to all this, as with any problem worth solving, is a complex road filled with minutiae and subtlety. Frankly, we don’t have time to solve all the world’s problems today, but I believe a very intentional first step can be taken to begin undoing the decades and decades of damage done by the war of a million losers. We must pass a constitutional amendment protecting man’s divine right to experiment with his own consciousness. It can act as an addition to the Bill of Rights and it might go a little something like this:
Congress shall enact no law restricting the inalienable right of every American citizen to alter, distort, or otherwise experiment with their own consciousness using any of the readily available psychoactive plants, fungi, chemicals or any other synthetically produced concoctions of mankind so long as the user takes full legal, financial and moral responsibility for any harm that should befall his fellow Americans as a result.
You’ll notice, this language doesn’t make drugs legal. Allowing American capitalism to swoop in and whore out any chemical people want to buy out of the millions and millions available sounds like a recipe for long, arduous congressional hearings and those things bore me to tears. I’d like to avoid any more children dying if at all possible. I think there are some very good arguments for government-funded safe supply of a well-thought out list of the most commonly used drugs but I don’t want to get too deep into the weeds with that because Canada can hear us talking and I don’t want them making things worse than they already have.
In all seriousness, I genuinely believe the only meaningful first step we can take to solve any of these problems is to constitutionally enshrine the right to get high. We can’t make informed decisions on this as a country until we are informed, but that process starts with getting people to understand that it’s equally as silly to make drugs illegal as it is to make suicide illegal. By no means am I suggesting we should help people commit suicide, but to pretend they don’t have the right to do it is hypocritical at best and criminally negligent at worst. The same is true for drug use. People are going to engage in it, they have engaged in it since the dawn of time and we are keeping our heads in the sand and our asses exposed every second we ignore that reality. It’s time we put that shit on paper.
“No Nation Under Heaven Hath Such an Advantage As This”
If we apply common sense to this problem, it will have a net positive effect on every single American citizen and the world by extension. Again, I’m not King of the World. I don’t have a secret formula for fixing a decades-old mistake that has grown infinitely larger and more complex to solve over time. All I know is life is fucking hard. Not only is it inevitable that people are going to try to find ways of escape, but they outright deserve to. Most of the people who bitch about the fentanyl dregs folded in half on their sidewalks cannot even begin to imagine how much pain some of those people are in. Everyone feels pain, everyone feels incomplete, nobody gets out of here alive. If a fellow human can find peace from that for even a moment, brother, who am I to tell them any different? Who are any of us?
Yes, we need to take steps to address some of the societal harms that spur as a result but we’ve got some pretty smart people in this country, I’m confident we can figure it out if we begin from a place of mutual respect for our fellow man. These people need our help, and frankly, a lot of you could benefit from doing some goddamn drugs at the proper dose, in the proper setting with well-informed parameters. Who knows, maybe one day the government will hand out free acid and put taxpayer money into addiction research and public rehab programs. Maybe one day, the cops will be able to focus on actual crimes instead of drug nonsense. Maybe one day there won’t be any cartels because they don’t have anything left to sell. Maybe my sons won’t have to watch their friends die too.
I am begging, pleading, and screaming at the top of my lungs for the federal government to hear my request. President Biden, if you are in fact a human person and not a mutant lizard overlord who is unable to read or empathize, please consider what I ask or pass it on to the next guy or whatever. We need common sense drug legislation in this country and we need a constitutional amendment protecting the inalienable, God-given right to get high.