"Let me just say, and I say this because there's something I want to say. The word 'drug' has been tremendously misappropriated and corrupted by the movers and shakers of society. I mean we all, I believe it's safe to say, are repelled by obsessive self-destructive, unexamined behavior and that's what is laid at the feet of drugs. However, chasing dollars or pounds, worrying about making a fashion statement, owning a Ferrari, all of these things are obsessive self-destructive habits, so I have a rule, a three-step test if you're thinking of availing yourself of a substance as part of your program of self-growth and advancement. The first question you should ask yourself is 'Does it occur in nature?', and question two is 'Does it have a history of shamanic usage?' You see, if it has a history of Shamanic usage, then issues like 'Does it cause tumors, miscarriages, blindness, palsy?' -- this has all been answered, we have our human data, we have five thousand years of use by the Mazatecan Indians or somebody else, we have our human data sample. Then the third test is 'Does it occur naturally or do its near relatives occur naturally in the human brain?', because we don't want to insult the human brain, we don't want to toxify it, we don't want to poison it. Well, the happy conclusion of applying these rules is that the most terrifyingly powerful of the psychedelics pass all tests with flying colors -- DMT being the perfect example. DMT is a megatonage hallucinogen -- it occurs naturally in the metabolism of every single one of us at this moment. If you were an American audience I would tell you you're holding a schedule 1 drug and are subject to immediate arrest and trial. Every human being on earth falls into this category. This is the Catch 22 that they hold in reserve if they ever have to come after us -- you are holding, and you can't stop yourself. The fact that DMT, that we return to a normal state in only a few minutes from DMT, argues that the non-invasive quality is very important. If you take a drug and feel wobbly 48 or 72 hours later or are having body aches or blurred vision or something like that, this is a drug to stay away from, this is not something you want to get mixed up in. You judge the non-toxicity of the drug by how fast your body is able to return you to normal. Terence McKenna at Camden Centre 1992
Pharmaceutical Industry Factoids: from Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do by Peter McWilliams
The FDA was given the power to ban "harmful" additives. By what criteria do we define "harmful"? If a chemical has a known lethal dose, should it be prohibited? If that were the case, salt could never be used as an additive. For the most part, whatever the FDA decided was harmful was harmful. Over time, the FDA also grew to encompass regulation over all medical techniques, practices, and devices... Instead of giving certain products the "FDA seal of approval," the FDA wants to remove all products that it has not approved. The FDA also wants to arrest those products' manufacturers. I shouldn't say the FDA wants to do this — it's doing it right now.
According to Science magazine in 1993, it costs, on average, $231,000,000 and takes twelve years to do the necessary testing on a drug to receive FDA approval. If difficulties arise in the testing stage, the cost can be considerably more. This sheer financial burden keeps any number of useful drugs off the market. Pharmaceutical companies often don't bother with the necessary testing on promising drugs because they doesn't feel they will make back their investments. Even if a pharmaceutical company moves full speed ahead, cures are still, for the most part, twelve years from market. The FDA guidelines are known to be so strict and so all-pervasive that clothing manufacturer Lees can say of its Relaxed Riders jeans: "If they were any more relaxing, we'd need FDA approval."
Even worse than suppressing newly discovered drugs is the fact that drugs discovered years ago will never receive FDA approval and therefore can never be marketed. Who is going to spend twelve years and $231,000,000 proving the safety and effectiveness of a drug that anyone can then manufacture? No pharmaceutical company in the known world, that's for sure.
These many hurdles are keeping essential drugs and treatments from the American public. Jane S. Smith observes in her 1990 book, Patenting the Sun: Polio and the Salk Vaccine,
"As Jonas Salk has often remarked, it would be impossible to repeat his polio work today, when such ventures need to be passed by human-subject review boards and peer review boards and various other qualifying agencies. In 1952 you got the permission of the people involved and went out and did it, and then wrote up your results in a scientific journal. If something terrible happened, the blame would be on your head and the blood on your hands, and of course your career would be over—but in the planning stages, at least, life was a great deal easier for the medical experimenter than it has since become."
By today's standards, the Salk vaccine (which was used widely starting in 1953) would not have been available until the mid-1960s—providing that Dr. Salk could have found a pharmaceutical company willing to gamble $231,000,000 on his vaccine. With current FDA guidelines, polio might be a common disease even today.
The Food and Drug Administration is intimately connected with the American Medical Association as well as the handful of pharmaceutical companies which create and manufacture the majority of prescription drugs. Working at the FDA, being on the board of the AMA, and working for any of the large pharmaceutical companies is like playing musical chairs. The high-paying jobs—the gold ring on the merry-go-round—are at pharmaceutical companies. The best way to get a raise is to become a "public servant" for a couple of years and spend some time at the FDA or AMA.
Politicians frequently own pharmaceutical stocks. For example, when George Bush, Sr. became vice-president, the New York Times reported, "The Vice President still owned the Eli Lilly stock upon taking office. It was his most valuable stock holding." Dan Quayle's family owns an enormous amount of stock in Eli Lilly. When Bush left the CIA in 1977, he was made the director of Eli Lilly (appointed by Dan Quayle's father), a post he held until 1979 when he began running for vice-president (with a generous campaign contribution from guess who).
While vice-president, Bush made what the New York Times called "an unusual move" when he "intervened with the Treasury Department in March in connection with proposed rules that would have forced pharmaceutical companies to pay significantly more taxes" (New York Times, May 19, 1982).
The word "drug" is a loaded one, so overused that these days I think we often forget its meaning. Our current difficulties with drugs and their distribution is nothing new... addictive substances have been smuggled and pedaled for millennia often at great cost of human life. As Terence McKenna puts it in Food of the Gods:
"The cycle began with sugar… Sugar, whose existence depended on the slave trade, deepened its hold on consumers throughout the 16th century. The 17th century introduction of tea, coffee, and chocolate only drove the craze for sugar to new heights… When the tea market collapsed, the distributing system that had been put in place and capitalized by the British East India Company turned to the production and selling of opium… The invention of morphine (1803) and heroin (1873) carries us to the threshold of the 20th century. Alarmed social reformers who attempted to legislate drug use only succeeded in driving it underground. There it remains, controlled today, not by robber baron corporations operating under public charter, but by international crime cartels often posing as intelligence agencies."
Drug War factoids: from Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do by Peter McWilliams
CONSUMERS UNION—the highly respected, scrupulously impartial organization responsible for Consumer Reports—studied the drug problem in this nation long and hard. Its conclusions — yet unpublished — are:
This nation's drug laws and policies have not been working well; on that simple statement almost all Americans seem agreed. . . . They are the result of mistaken laws and policies, of mistaken attitudes toward drugs, and of futile, however well-intentioned, efforts to "stamp out the drug menace." [What we have in this country is] aptly called the "drug problem problem"—the damage that results from the ways in which society has approached the drug problem.
The Consumers Union report made six recommendations. I quote:
1. Stop emphasizing measures designed to keep drugs away from people.
2. Stop publicizing the horrors of the "drug menace."
3. Stop increasing the damage done by drugs. (Current drug laws and policies make drugs more rather than less damaging in many ways.)
4. Stop misclassifying drugs. (Most official and unofficial classifications of drugs are illogical and capricious; they, therefore, make a mockery of drug law enforcement and bring drug education into disrepute. A major error of the current drug classification system is that it treats alcohol and nicotine—two of the most harmful drugs — essentially as non-drugs.)
5. Stop viewing the drug problem as primarily a national problem, to be solved on a national scale. (In fact, as workers in the drug scene confirm, the "drug problem" is a collection of local problems.)
6. Stop pursuing the goal of stamping out illicit drug use.
The report, which is nearly six hundred pages long, concludes,
These, then, are the major mistakes in drug policy as we see them. This Consumers Union Report contains no panaceas for resolving them. But getting to work at correcting these six errors, promptly and ungrudgingly, would surely be a major step in the right direction.
I'm sorry. I lied. The previous excerpts were not from a "yet unpublished" report. The report was published in 1972. It was published by Consumers Union in book form, Licit and Illicit Drugs. It asked for its proposed changes to be made "promptly and ungrudgingly." Instead in 1972, President Nixon began our most recent war on drugs. How successful has prohibition been? To give but one example: since 1972, according to the office of National Drug Control Policy, annual cocaine use in this country has risen from 50 metric tons to 300 metric tons.
McKenna defines a drug as "something which causes unexamined, obsessive habituated behavior." For the record, that isn't just chemical compounds sold on the streets or prescribed by doctors. McKenna again from Food of the Gods:
"Most unsettling of all is this: We are confronted with an addictive and all-pervasive drug that delivers an experience whose message is whatever those who deal the drug wish it to be. The content of television is not a (mystical or imaginary) vision but a manufactured data stream that can be sanitized to 'protect' or impose cultural values. Could anything provide a more fertile ground for fostering fascism and totalitarianism than this? ...no drug in history has so quickly or completely isolated the entire culture of its users from contact with reality. And no drug in history has so completely succeeded in remaking in its own image the values of the culture that it has infected... Television is by nature the dominator drug par excellence. Control of content, uniformity of content, repeatability of content make it inevitably a tool of coercion, brainwashing, and manipulation . Television induces a trance state in the viewer that is the necessary precondition for brainwashing... The closest analog to TV is Heroin. It flattens the image… things are neither hot nor cold. The junkie looks out that the world, certain that nothing matters. It gives an illusion of knowing and control. Television allows the viewer to blot out the real world and enter a passive and pleasurable state…viewers routinely overestimate their control over watching… It weakens relationships by eliminating opportunities for communication.
And here's a longer section on the subject of the modern "War on Drugs" from Mckenna's Non-Ordinary States Through Vision Plants:
"We're playing with half a deck as long as we tolerate that the cardinals of government and science should dictate where human curiosity can legitimately send its attention and where it cannot. It's an essentially preposterous situation. It is essentially a civil rights issue because what we're talking about here is the repression of a religious sensibility. In fact not "a" religious sensibility, the religious sensibility. Not built on some con game spun out by eunuchs, but based on the symbiotic relationship that was in place for our species for 50,000 years before the advent of history riding priestcraft and propaganda. So it's a clarion call to recover a birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us..."
"It is now very clear that techniques of machine-human interfacing, pharmacology of the synthetic variety, all kinds of manipulative techniques, all kinds of data storage, imaging and retrieval techniques, all of this is coalescing toward the potential of a truly demonic or angelic kind of self-imaging of our culture. And the people who are on the demonic side are fully aware of this and hurrying full-tilt forward with their plans to capture everyone as a 100% believing consumer inside some kind of beige furnished fascism that won't even raise a ripple. The shamanic response in this situation I think is to PUSH THE ART PEDAL THROUGH THE FLOOR."
"...How drugged shall you be? Or to put it another way: How conscious shall you be? Who shall be conscious? Who shall be unconscious? Imagine if the Japanese had won World War II, taken over America, and introduced an insidious drug which caused the average American to spend six and a half hours a day consuming enemy propaganda. But this is what was done. Not by the Japanese but by ourselves. This is television. Six and a half hours a day! Average! That's the average! So there must be people out there hooked on twenty-four hours a day. I visit people in L.A. who have one set on in every room so they're racking up a lot of time for the rest of us."
"You see what is needed is an operational awareness of what we mean by "drug." A "drug" is something which causes unexamined, obsessive habituated behavior. You don't examine your behavior, you just do it, you do it obsessively. You let nothing get in the way of it. This is the kind of life we're being sold on every level: to watch, to consume, to buy... This is this nightmarish thing which McLuhan and others foresaw, the creation of the public. The public has no history, has no future, lives in a golden moment created by credit which binds them ineluctably to a fascist system that is never criticized. This is the ultimate consequence of having broken off our symbiotic relationship with the vegetable, feminine, maternal matrix of the planet. This is what ended partnership. This is what ended balance between the sexes. This is what set us on the long slide."
"So now the culture crisis grows ever more intense. The stakes rise ever higher. If there were ever a time to be heard and be counted in order to clarify thinking on these issues it would be now because there is a major attack on the Bill of Rights underway in the guise of a so-called "Drug War" and somehow the drug issue is even more frightening than communism, even more insidious. McCarthy told America that communism was under the bed, he was wrong. Ronald Reagan and George Bush tell America that drugs are in the living room and they're right! It is here. It is real. It is the hydrogen bomb of the third world... The reason women couldn't be given the vote in the nineteenth century, there was a very simple overpowering reason that was always given: it would destroy society. This was also the reason why the king could not give up a divine right, chaos would result! And this is why we're told drugs cannot be legalized, because society would disintegrate. This is just nonsense. Most societies have always operated in the light of various habits based on plants. The whole history of mankind could be written as a series of made and broken relationships with plants. Think about the influence of tobacco on mercantilism in 17th and 18th century Europe. Think about the influence of coffee on the modern office worker, or the way the British influenced opium policy in the far-east to rule China, or the way the CIA used heroin in the American ghettos in the 1960s to choke off black dissent and black dissatisfaction with the war. History is about these plant relationships. They can be raised into consciousness, integrated into social policy and used to create a more caring meaningful world, or they can be denied the way sexuality was denied until the force of the work of Freud and others just made it impossible to maintain the fiction any longer..."
"I should mention that DMT is an endogenous neurotransmitter. Yes, DMT, the most powerful of the hallucinogens occurs in the human brain as a normal part of metabolism. It also is a Schedule I drug, so you're all holding and this might be the basis for some kind of case. To just show what absolute poppycock all this nonsense is: People Have Been Made Illegal!"