The surprisingly delightful musings of a humble Virginian whose satiric paeons to a plausible utopia implicitly shame the cynical zeitgeist of our times, causing it to cry, as 'twere, 'Damn, what was I thinking?' or words to that effect.

June 2018
In response to the article entitled: Meet the Canadian 'Psychedelic Revolutionaries' Who Pioneered LSD Research, in Merry Jane, June 22, 2018,

It's the Addiction, Stupid!

When Barber says that we're only in the early stages of psychedelic research, I'm tempted to reply with a quote from an HP Lovecraft story entitled "The Descendant": namely, "my most hideous fear is that he is right." As a 60-year-old suffering from lifelong bouts of depression, I'm not sure that I'll live long enough to see any benefit from the hopefully upcoming changes in social attitudes. Instead, I'll live out my remaining years in accordance with the current treatment paradigm whereby patients are knowingly addicted for life to SSRI's. (Not that you'll hear psychiatrists describe such therapy as "addictive," of course. At most, they'll gently remind their patients that they will require "medication management" for a lifetime in order to cope with their "chronic condition." Thus the whole uncomfortable subject of "addiction" is taken off the table at once.)

I just wanted to add, however, that it's almost impossible to overestimate the extent to which therapeutic progress is slowed by public attitudes toward psychedelics.

I recently read an article in a UVA newspaper ('The Cavalier Daily') in which a professor downplayed the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, insisting that medical science already had a strong arsenal of drugs with which to fight depression. This was a trifle galling to me since I had 40 years of life experience that seemed to say otherwise. Nevertheless, I was even more disappointed by the comments of an anonymous UVA student who reported that he had found some relief from depression after "dropping LSD." He was quick to add, however, as if apologetically, that he would never give up traditional therapy despite the results.

With friends like these, psychedelic research doesn't need any enemies.

Just think what this comment reveals about the power of stigma:

First, the speaker requires anonymity in order to even admit the fact that LSD was useful to him. Anonymity. How can we have an open debate on this topic when usage is so stigmatized as to keep most usage proponents anonymous?

Second, he pejoratively describes his own drug-taking as "dropping LSD," evoking images of a long-haired rebel at a 1960's nightclub dancing to multi-colored strobe lights while gulping down any pill he can get his hands on. And yet you never hear a psychiatric patient announce that they had "dropped" Effexor or Prozac. No, those drugs (I'm sorry, "medications") are not "dropped"; they are "taken" at the solemn behest of a bona fide doctor.

My point is that Barber is not only right when he mentions the subject of stigma -- he is probably more right than most of us can even realize. Right now the enemies of psychedelic research can claim the high ground because they own the language. They have medications on offer, after all, we have "drugs."

The answer, in my opinion, is for more SSRI victims like myself to point out the inconvenient truth, a truth that I have learned the hard way over 40 years of traditional therapy:

It's the addiction, stupid!

Meaning drug use per se is usually not bad; it's addiction that's bad, because of the demoralizing psychological and economic effect that it has on the addicted person.

Copyright 2017, Brian Quass (follow on Twitter)