Wonderful things I Have Learned From Having Been Fortunate Enough to Spend Most of My Life on the Receiving End of the War on Drugs
[Editor's Note: This piece was written before 9-11-01. Because of the events of that day, things have changed a little. Now it seems we have a new "shared enemy", but drug users are singled out even more in this new world view. It takes a cold, calloused culture to label a drug addict a terrorist. Drug addicts are already beaten down further than any civilized culture would permit. This piece addresses this fact. We add only that things are not the same as when this piece was written. Things are worse.]
The War on Drugs has taught me that I belong to the last tribe of niggers on the planet: drug users--an entire strata of society that it is all right to demonize, hate, harass, and incarcerate for the crime of altering my state of consciousness against the government's wishes.
Because I am guilty of this crime, I have no rights. I may be detained, searched without cause, disrespected, have my property confiscated; and on that one occasion out of one thousand, that I'm not fast enough, aware enough, or just tired... I will be sentenced to torture--where whatever branch of law enforcement I am subject to, will throw me into a cell where I may sweat, shake, vomit, and experience withdrawal without medical attention. Apparently this is okay, because I'm just a junkie, and therefore do not have basic human rights.
This will continue until I get before a judge and any halfway competent lawyer has the "case" against me dismissed... Because almost invariably, the "case" begins with illegal search and seizure and a violation of my "rights".
This is fine, because I'm white and have usually had access to money; this means I am a better person, and might be worthy of reasonable legal representation. Therefore, I will not be joining the hundreds of people I have personally known, whose fate is to be ground up by the system, and dumped into prisons -- for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In other words, a drug sweep, where the local branch of TNT has a monthly quota to meet, and will shake you down if you're unfortunate enough to be the wrong color, driving the wrong car, or they're just in a bad mood.
Obviously, people who use drugs are a menace to society and should be thrown into prison with an interesting variety of violent offenders--except, if at all possible, with longer sentences--because, after all, the violent offenders just have some issues and things to work out; the drug users aren't even human beings. There's nothing more damaging to the entire fabric of society than a bunch of people who just smoked pot, descending on a donut shop all at once; or a heroin addict nodding out on a couch.
If I want to stop using heroin, it's okay with the government if I take methadone--a narcotic analgesic, far more addictive than heroin, but legal. But really, I shouldn't complain; federal and state regulations for dispensing methadone are relatively enlightened. It is not yet necessary to be tattooed, branded, or relocated to a methadone maintenance camp. It's just fine if I take buprenorphine, it's even a wonderful idea if I get into a LAAM maintenance program. The fact that LAAM may cause Q-T prolongation, torsades, and kill me, is all right. Because, it's legal. And after all, it's just another sedative, it's not something that's going to cause any radical paradigm shift to take place.
Should I ever require medical attention for any period of time longer than a few hours round-trip through an ER to have something stitched-up, making it necessary for me to inform the attending doctors that I am on narcotic analgesics; I will be treated like human garbage. While in the hospital it will take roughly 45 phone calls, 6 feet of forms signed in triplicate, and 3 days minimum, for them to finally agree to dose me with methadone at anywhere near the levels I need just to avoid acute opiate withdrawal. By which time, in addition to whatever other problem I had that caused me to enter their facility in the first place, I will be in acute opiate withdrawal.
If I ever make the personal choice to stop using narcotics, the options presented to me will be a series of medical professionals--touting the latest miracle-treatments which don't work. These addictionologists and other drug experts, for the most part, don't know a fucking thing about addiction. They have never used any drugs. They have however, read a lot of books, written by other medical professionals who, for the most part, don't know a fucking thing about addiction.
Reading those same books for yourself, will allow you to sum up almost all current knowledge about the psychobiological causes of addiction in about two sentences: "We have a lot of theories, but really, we know almost nothing about addiction. We don't even know why people become addicted in the first place--when others with the same genetics, environment, and psychological make-up do not; or why those who get off drugs, manage this."
Unless I leave the country and pay ludicrous amounts of money for it -- something which most drug-dependent individuals have no way of affording--I will be denied access to the most promising breakthrough in the history of drug-treatment; namely ibogaine. For all the smoke and mirrors, game playing, and lip service paid, to the variety of reasons why ibogaine isn't of much interest to anyone -- except those who would like to stop being addicted to addictive drugs -- the bottom line is, it's a hallucinogen, and hallucinogens have a plethora of negative side-effects. Such as, for instance, the 60's. We don't want that.
All entheogens are bad. Entheogens present the possibility for radical paradigm shifts to take place, and the user may make some revelatory discoveries about the nature of their reality. This is super-bad; much better is just going to a meeting and sharing. Most of the 12-step programs have turned into something that nearly resembles an interesting parody of what they originally were--extremely old eastern concepts for dismantling ego, specifically rewritten to apply to drug-dependent individuals who are acclimated to western culture. They have become this cult of eternal powerlessness, where you can participate in an never-ending circle-jerk of sitting around and complaining about things; fight an endless battle against a mysterious disease and never again take any chemical additives or personal responsibility for your actions. Okay, having said that, let's all go out into the parking lot and chain smoke, drink coffee and eat candy bars... Say, is it time for my meds yet?
If I somehow manage to get off heroin and do the one thing that actually works--establish or re-establish, my own connection to spirituality, cosmic consciousness, God, whatever you'd like to call it -- ingesting my sacrament is against the law. Entheogens, crack, heroin, alcohol--no wait, not alcohol, alcohol is good for you--it's all the same shit; just another drug. I am once again either forced to leave the country, or commit a felony every time I feel a need to go to church. Apparently I have freedom of religion so long as my religion involves hanging out and talking about the experience, instead of actually having it for myself.
The War on Drugs does not work. It cannot work. It is a war against human nature, genetics, evolution, and the attempt to take away my basic freedom as an individual to select my own state of consciousness. Because apparently I am not an adult and not fit to make these choices; therefore those who know what's best for me must attempt to legislate my state of mind. This is not fascism, this is simply the government looking out for my best interests and ensuring that I am fully vested in whatever paradigm they wish to sell.
Despite the fact that it cannot work, it's important to invest just a few hundred trillion more dollars in the War on Drugs, because we're running out of enemies to hate... That whole entire Cold War thing has sort of faded away; there doesn't seem to be an immediate need to Enforce Democracy in any middle-eastern country; and the War on Drugs serves to galvanize people, gives them emotional investment, and presents a clear-cut right and wrong. It's important to have a clear-cut right and wrong that doesn't require anybody to think. Thinking is dangerous and undesirable. Besides, we have this theory that the War on Drugs is "winnable." This is obvious to anyone who looks at the results to date. There is no lack of drugs, basically, anywhere. The number of people using drugs has not decreased. While the street price of drugs hasn't gone up, the purity levels have steadily risen. However, hey, we sure do have a lot of people in prison! In fact, America has more people filling its prisons, than any other country on the planet. We must be doing something very right, this is great... Especially if you're in the private prison industry.
In addition to all this, if drug prohibition were repealed, the economies of entire third-world countries which are currently propped up by all this, would suffer a severe blow; perhaps collapsing. And, of course, the people who profit by large-scale distribution of materials--which are essentially worthless, and have had their value artificially inflated to being worth more than gold dust, because they're illegal--would have to go find something else to do. Like, for instance, go get a job, or enter the slave-trading industry.
Aside from all the noise, we actually have no real problem with drugs. They perpetuate the powerlessness of the poor, they give everybody on all sides of the issues something to do, and perhaps best of all: there are a lot of people who once had the potential to effect change, cause paradigm shifts to take place, and used to be a real pain in the ass--who have voluntarily taken themselves out and self-destructed. All thanks to drugs. What's not to like?