How Scientific American Reckons Without the Drug War

Brian Quass
2 min readMar 6, 2023

in response to ‘A Talking Cure for Psychosis’ by Matthew M. Kurtz, Scientific American print edition, March 2023

Dear Professor Kurtz:

When we say that drugs by themselves have not solved the problem of psychosis, I think we must specify which drugs we are talking about. As you know, we live in a country in which almost all psychoactive medicine is outlawed. So when we say that “drugs are ineffective,” we are really saying that “drugs that work according to reductionist criteria” are ineffective. The latter is a very different statement from the former.

I would also caution against the reductionist approach in treating psychological disorders. I have been chemically dependent for over 40 years now on drugs that purported to treat my depression via scientific reductionist criteria. Not only has my depression not been “cured,” but I have been turned into a ward of the healthcare state, taking expensive pills that tranquilize me rather than empower me to live large.

You write of a “new era of psychology,” but psychology remains blind to all the obvious reasons why banned psychoactive drugs could help the depressed: Even if these substances did nothing but elate, they could be used intermittently to give the patient something to look forward to (which is far better than shocking a patient’s brain or having them commit suicide). Moreover, coca wine has empowered the lives of HG Wells and Jules Verne, helping them to work harder, giving them greater self-esteem, creating a virtuous circle. In the 19th century, poets used opium wisely, in what author Richard Middleton called “a series of magnificent quarterly carouses,” improving their work and giving them “something to look forward to,” again creating a virtuous circle.

Alexander Shulgin has synthesized hundreds of non-addictive drugs that elate and inspire the user. These drugs have not been found to be ineffective in treating psychological problems: rather they have been completely ignored in fealty to the Drug War ideology of substance demonization.

Scientists are blind to the benefits of such “drugs” because to acknowledge them would be to violate Drug War orthodoxy, which tells us that certain substances have no positive uses, for anybody, anywhere, at any time, ever — which, of course, is an anti-scientific lie, as there are no substances of that kind in the world. Even cyanide and botox have legitimate medical uses.

Science today is censored by the Drug War. And this will never end as long as we continue to pretend that the Drug War does not even exist.



Brian Quass

Founder of, whose life purpose is to expose the philosophical absurdity of America's unprecedented war on substances