Richard Branson said that if the drug war were a business, he’d have closed it down years ago. Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, which intended to stop drug trafficking, has instead resulted in more incarceration, corruption, political decay, violence, drug production and transport .
Now, more and more of the world population are realizing the need for a huge paradigm shift in terms of our worldview and how we live our lives. At this point, life seems to be all about politicians introducing a imaginary situation and along with the media and others who stand to profit, whip it up to hysterical heights and then offer a solution – at a cost, of course, if you vote for them. It all a big game and we’re the pawns.
What we’ve missed out on
It’s been almost half a century since the stigmatizing rampage on psychedelics began. That’s 47 years to date of technology advances, scientific research, physical and mental wellbeing that we’ve missed out on because of this ludicrous war on drugs.
In the last 150 years, science and technology has advanced exponentially – more than in the whole of human history. And lately we’ve spent it sitting on the sidelines, watching loved ones commit suicide, be committed or incarcerated; families, communities and races being further torn apart; the planet becoming more and more weighed down under the pollutional atrocities we continually heap on it…
Stopping the war on drugs by treating drugs as a health problem instead of a criminal one would open up a better world for everyone. Here’s some of what we would stand to gain:
When PTSD sufferers like veterans, rape survivors, and first responders such as police and firefighters were given MDMA therapy, 83% were cured compared to 25% through psychotherapy alone. With 22 Vets per day committing suicide, that’s almost 400,000 loved ones lost since 1971.
Psilocybin slows down the areas of brain affecting those with depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, nicotine smoking addiction and end-of-life anxiety. It eases psychological distress for cancer patients. Psilocybin may even lead to neurogenesis – the regrowth of brain cells. So exciting!
In the 1950s Canadian doctors used LSD to cure trauma and alcoholism with a 45% success rate compared to 6% success rate for the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. This was the spiritual experience Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, experienced and mentioned in the AA texts. It’s good also for anxiety in general and for end-of-life experiences specifically.
The effects of Peyote (Mescaline) are similar to LSD in terms of promoting spiritual introspection. It also can cause remission of psychiatric symptoms and be used for treatment of depression.
DMT, found in nature and the human brain alike, also provides intense spiritual experiences and helps with migraines.
Ibogaine is paramount in assisting those addicted to kick heroin and prescription opiates like OxyContin, Percocet and Tylenol with Codeine with no withdrawal symptoms and as a bonus, can induce spiritual introspection.
Ayahuasca aids in purging traumatic memories, promotes higher serotonin levels – the happy chemical in your brain – and lessens addictions in societies where it’s ingested regularly.
Bufo alvarius aka 5-MeO-DMT – what isn’t it good for?
Cannabis extracts provide many benefits from relieving insomnia, anxiety, and spasticity to treating potentially life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy. And then there’s the plant’s ability to relieve pain – a much safer alternative to the current opiate crisis.
All of these drugs are much easier on the body mentally and physically than the legal drugs like alcohol and nicotine, and cause immeasurably far less damage to society as a whole.
Drug policies in the international ring
Slowly but surely, governments around the world are realizing the bungle that is the war on drugs. The Global Commission on Drugs’ 2014 report catapulted the debate over drug control measures and alternatives into the global arena. In anticipation of the 2016 UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session) on drugs, which is the primary policy making division of the United Nations, the report provided clear direction for Member States. The five recommendations for better drug policies included:
- putting the health and community safety first,
- ensuring equitable access to controlled medicines,
- ending the criminalization of people who use or possess drugs,
- promoting alternatives to incarceration for low-level participants in illicit drug markets, including cultivators; and
- encouraging policy innovations such as legally regulated markets, beginning with, but not limited to cannabis, coca leaf and certain other psychoactive substances.
The resulting document from UNGLASS, adopted on April 19, 2016, listed the steps forward in terms of human rights, access to medicines and legal assistance, the potential for the medical use of controlled substances, harm reduction and overdose prevention, reduced stigma and decriminalization.
There’s a long way to go but this is a definite step in the right direction.
What the cool kids are doing
Some countries walked off the playing field of the drug war long before it was globally recognized for it’s inefficiency, and dealt with it on their own terms. For example:
In 2001, Portugal took the momentous step of decriminalizing the use of all drugs and treated addiction as a health issue. While their program isn’t perfect, Portugal’s drug mortality rate is the lowest in Western Europe and about one-fiftieth of latest statistic for the U.S.
Switzerland has decriminalized cannabis since 2013 and harm reduction for drug users has been in place since the 1980’s. They offer housing, job programs, needle exchanges, methadone programs, and supervised injection rooms for those addicted to drugs . HIV-infected drug users decreased by over 50 percent in a decade.
In the Czech Republic, you can grow up to five marijuana plants, can carry up to one ounce of pot, one gram of cocaine, one and a half grams of heroin, or two grams of a methamphetamine. Plus: you can have as much as 40 psychedelic mushrooms, five peyote plants, and five tabs of LSD.
They also offer harm reduction programs like needle exchange programs, counselling, and free tests for infectious diseases.
Uruguay legalized cannabis in 2013 so they could better focus on their pesky cocaine trade, which along with heroin is not illegal to use, just distribute.
The Netherlands has always been a weed smoker’s haven, with various cities handling the decision locally of whether to allow tourists to join in or not.
Canada, well, we were supposed to legalize cannabis by Canada Day (July 1st) 2018 but assuming Bill C-45 is passed by the Senate by June 7, it will take a few more months for sales to get underway.
There’s also a psychedelic renaissance happening with scientists studying the effects of drugs like MDMA and psilocybin in therapeutic settings with great success.
Unofficially, Vancouver, BC is leading the way, especially in compassion, by providing safer consumption/harm reduction sites, rapid access to opioids –injectable diacetylmorphine or hydromorphone for some IV users or a 24-hour time release morphine in a matter of hours.
Let’s stop the insanity
The absurdity from this old lie just keeps snowballing. Look at the latest from US and the Philippines: Trump is currently vying for a war on drugs 2.0 and Duterte has gone hardcore with his extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and users alike. There are no words for the sadness this brings to us all.
Can you imagine what an advanced society we’d have now if the war on drugs had never happened? We have much more sanity, better health and more peace in our lives that we currently do.
Let’s work toward that goal by keeping informed, getting involved in anyway you can and making sure your opinions are heard. Please, let’s stop this insanity called the war on drugs now.