liberty
Many people use drugs – but here’s why most don’t become addicts

Many people use drugs – but here’s why most don’t become addicts

Today’s post is by Paul Hayes, Hon. Professor Drug Policy at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. It was originally published on The Conversation. Drug use is common, drug addiction is rare. About one adult in three will use an illegal drug in their lifetime and just under 3m people will do so this year in England and Wales alone. Most will suffer no long-term harm. There are immediate risks from overdose and intoxication, and longer-term health risks associated with heavy or prolonged use; damage to lungs from smoking cannabis or the bladder from ketamine for example. However...
My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer & Founder of MAPS

My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer & Founder of MAPS

I recently had the good fortune of meeting my psychedelic hero, Rick Doblin, the founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. What’s more, he graciously agreed to an on-camera interview! I asked him about the origins of MAPS, the Russian ban of methadone in Crimean addiction clinics, New Zealand’s new regulatory framework for legal highs, MAPS’ recent partnership with the military to research MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, and much more. My favorite part is when Rick tells the story of taking LSD on his twenty-first birthday. He heard a siren and became convinced that the Russians were...
Moving Into the Sacred World of DMT, by Nick Sand

Moving Into the Sacred World of DMT, by Nick Sand

Nick Sand is one of the most prolific and well-known underground chemists in history. From 1966 to 1996, he produced huge amounts of LSD, as well as MDMA, synthetic mescaline, DMT, and other psychedelics that were distributed around the globe. Along with Tim Scully, Nick Sand was responsible for producing over 3 million hits of Orange Sunshine, a brand of LSD that was renowned for its quality and purity in the Sixties. Sand has a particular fondness for DMT. In fact, it was a DMT vision quest in the 60s that convinced Sand to dedicate his life to...
Sasha Shulgin Compares Drug War to Persecution of Galileo

Sasha Shulgin Compares Drug War to Persecution of Galileo

I was so struck by this passage from Alexander Shulgin’s book Tihkal (Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved) that I had to share it here:   Professor David Nutt has made a similar comparison, describing the UN’s ban on psychedelics as “the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Galileo.” You can read the second half of Tihkal (the chemical section) on Erowid, or better yet on isomerdesign.com where it is more accurate and more user-friendly. But the first half of the book remains copyrighted, so if you’d like to read the whole thing,...
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions

This is the conclusion of a six-part series about the Prohibition debate. You can check out Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, though they are not necessary for understanding this post. In Part 5 I discussed cognitive liberty as a basic human right, and in this final section I review the questions we should be asking about drug policy. Legality does not constitute endorsement Prohibition supporters often say that repealing prohibition would “send the wrong message” to America’s youth. But the legislative body is not in the business of sending messages. We do not pass laws to communicate how people should...
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 5—Cognitive Liberty

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 5—Cognitive Liberty

This is the fifth in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our unquestioned assumptions. You can check out Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, but they are not necessary for understanding this post. Politicians, the media, and everyday citizens tend to frame the debate as “Should we legalize marijuana?” This language reveals entrenched cultural views not only about drugs, but about the role of government and the freedoms “allowed” to the private citizen. “Legalize” implies that the role of the government is to selectively allow some things. It isn’t – the role of...
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 4—The War on Sweets

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 4—The War on Sweets

This is the fourth in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1, 2, and 3, but they are not necessary for understanding this post. We often focus on what would happen if cannabis were legalized. This is a terrible way to frame the debate. It’s worthwhile to consider the effects of any legislative act, of course, but we focus way too much on societal effects and not enough on human rights. We consider the ends at the expense of the means. An example will illustrate my point....
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 3—The Power of Words

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 3—The Power of Words

This is the third in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1 and 2, but they are not necessary for understanding this post. Those who rule symbols, rule us. —Korzybski Consider the power of words. If we uncritically accept the state-sponsored language, the DEA’s job is to enforce laws that apply to illicit substances. But a humanitarian perspective may sound more like this: the DEA robs and kidnaps individuals who possess, create, or sell some substances, none of which are especially poisonous when compared to commonly available...
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 2—The Gravity of Law

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 2—The Gravity of Law

In Part 1 of this six-part series, I discussed the importance of comparing terms and assumptions before debating drug policy. In this post, I re-examine the nature of law and our disturbingly casual attitude towards coercion and punishment. The primary function of any government is to protect its constituents’ human rights. The secondary goal is to uphold the smooth functioning of society. Secondary functions include zoning laws, market regulations, welfare programs, and tax collection—these activities don’t protect individual rights per se, but they (arguably) keep society running smoothly without excessively infringing upon our rights. Not everyone will agree with...
Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 1—Myths and Lies

Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 1—Myths and Lies

I have already examined the psychology of Prohibition and our neurotic desire for control. In this six-part series, I focus on the skewed language and unquestioned assumptions that taint the Prohibition debate. Language always lies… We proceed from one fiction to another, every time we open our mouths to speak. —Robert Anton Wilson Language hypnotizes us. We are raised with the phrases and conventions of our culture, and no matter how insidious or wrong-headed they prove to be—no matter how independent-minded we pretend to be—these ideas carry great power over us for our entire lives. When we name things,...
Uruguay approves world's first national market for cannabis

Uruguay approves world’s first national market for cannabis

The first domino has fallen. In a momentous blow to the War on Drugs, Uruguay has passed a law that regulates rather than criminalizes the cannabis trade, from cultivation to consumption. Countries around the world will be watching to see how this social experiment turns out. When this strategy is shown to reduce crime and violence without leading to the collapse of civilization, it will fuel momentum for the end of Prohibition across the world. Kudos to Uruguay for taking this pioneering first step towards sensible drug policy! This infographic by the Transnational Institute summarizes the new law.  Liked...
"Ask Me Anything" Reddit Interview with Rick Doblin & MAPS

“Ask Me Anything” Reddit Interview with Rick Doblin & MAPS

Yesterday, Rick Doblin and ten other MAPS staff members engaged in an online “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. The turnout was phenomenal. Questions ran the gamut from personal (“Have you ever tried psychedelics?”) to political (“Will the legalization of psychedelics will come next after marijuana?”) and much more. Several posters asked about minimizing the risk of MDMA toxicity, while others were curious about treatments for cluster headaches, depression, autism, and other conditions. A couple people even asked if MAPS accepts Bitcoin (as of yesterday, they do). As you might expect, the answers from MAPS staff were incredibly...