As a kid, I had all four of my wisdom teeth pulled out in one visit. For earlier generations, this Medieval tooth-jacking operation would’ve been indistinguishable from torture. But, after receiving Novocaine®, Valium®, and Nitrous Oxide, I was disinclined to report my dentist to the American Dental Association. It was such an excellent out-of-body experience that my only regret was getting all four teeth pulled in one visit—lesson learned.
Mind-altering drugs aren’t inherently evil.
I don’t do drugs myself (wine’s not a drug, right?), but I know lots of people who do them. And not just people; monkeys trip on hallucinogenic millipedes, dolphins get high off puffer-fish neurotoxin, and elephants get blotto with booze. That’s the intoxicating power of drugs—they’re fun, trippy, and relieve pain, both physical and emotional. So it’s no surprise that racist, Puritanical wet-blankets have tried to demonize drugs ever since they first saw immigrants enjoying them.
We’ve been looking at the drug problem in America all wrong.
Contrary to popular opinion, the drug problem in America isn’t that people are taking drugs—we’ve tried addressing that symptom multiple times, and nothing has worked in the last 150 years. What we haven’t addressed yet is the root cause underlying why people take drugs. Many think it’s because people are unhappy, but that just begs the question of why they’re unhappy? It’s because they know the world is going to hell. They know democracy is failing. They know our planet is burning. They know children are starving. And they know who’s to blame for it all.
More damage to society is done by people who don’t take drugs.
Few people will deny that stone-sober people accomplish more things than stoned folk do. Yet no one ever asks if those things should be done in the first place. For example, the folks who work at Shell Oil, Co., are very productive, but too often it’s at the expense of the environment and indigenous peoples. The employees of RJ Reynolds are likewise industrious, yet frequently in ways that lead to an appalling number of ethical lapses and lawsuits. Sadly, examples of “destructive sobriety” are all too common in American culture.
The solution to the drug problem in America might just be drugs.
The actual drug problem in America is that greedy, motivated assholes aren’t taking drugs. If we encouraged the worst people in the world—the ones responsible for making this world so miserable—to take psychedelics, they’d be less capable of doing bad things. Things like signing Taylor Swift to another recording contract, making more DC Universe movies, or giving the Kardashians yet another TV show.
Once those people are zonked out, the rest of us won’t feel the need to take drugs. Problem solved.
Big Photo by Shadia Amen