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A Visit with Ann and Sasha Shulgin
by Sarah de Haro
Jul 30, 2001
Originally published in Libération
May the 29th. This is my big day. After months of suspense and preparation, here I am, in a big ranch near Berkeley, chatting with Ann and Sasha Shulgin. I'm impressed and moved to enter this place which gave birth to 2C-B and dozens of other psychoactives. What best dream could I have realized, as an ecstasy and psychedelics user? They show me around: the lab, the psychoactive cacti in the greenhouse, piles of PiHKAL waiting to be sent. We have lunch, and then it's time for questions and answers.



Why have you devoted your life to the study of psychoactive compounds such as phenethylamines and tryptamines?
"I would urge a person to try to find out, in any way he can, exactly what is the nature of the drug he or she is planning to take."
Sasha: I've been making new potential tools for studying the human mind, and publishing my work, because these tools have never before existed, and I'm very involved and enthusiastic about them and the art of making them. For about 40-45 years I've been making new compounds that I thought might be interesting in the human animal, and finding out what their effects were in the human mind (beginning always with my own body and mind), and putting the information into the medical and chemical literature.

Ann: I've always been interested in alteration of consciousness, ever since I can remember, as far back as my childhood. It's not just alterations of consciousness but the whole human mind, how it works, why does it work a certain way during sleep, for instance. Then the psychedelics came onto the scene. It was the most exciting thing you'd ever heard of, to have things that you could take, that would let you go into different worlds inside yourself, and to begin to find out what was in there. All this was long before I met Sasha.

Sasha: One thing has to be kept in mind with all these materials : you cannot see their activity in the animal : you may test toxicity, or pain relief or sedation in the animal, but not the idea or concept, not self image, empathy or desire. These are genuinely human. Hence, the testing of these compounds has to be done in man, and that's why I test them in myself and in my wife.

Ann: One of the disturbing things is that people who know nothing about This entire area of experience used to refer to the effects of these drugs as psychosis-like or psychotomimetic, and they still think when you take one of the psychedelics drugs you undergo some temporary form of insanity. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

When you first published PiHKAL, and then TiHKAL, had you realized you were challenging the DEA, which approved your studies at that time? What were the consequences of these publications?
Sasha: First of all, I cannot say that the DEA (the Drug Enforcement Administration) "approved" my research. I had a DEA license which allowed me to do analysis of all scheduled drugs (Schedules I through V) and there was no mention of research. So, to be absolutely exact, the DEA did approve of my doing analysis of scheduled drugs, and nothing more. As for realizing that I was challenging the DEA with the publication of the first book, yes, I suppose that it was clear that I -- we -- are in strong opposition to the so-called War on Drugs, and that we believe in the right of any adult to explore his own consciousness in any way he chooses, including the use of drugs. The reasons for publishing the books, with their recipes, were these: I had taken to heart the story of Wilhelm Reich, whose works, including all his laboratory notes, were confiscated by agents of the government when he died, and everything he left behind -- all his scientific work - was burned. I was determined that my own work would not be lost in the same way, and one way of insuring that the information would continue to be available after my death was to publish in book form.

The other reason was that, since psychedelic drugs are being created in laboratories all the time, all too often for street sale, and since sometimes the chemists who are making them are not well-trained, there is a serious danger that these drugs will be made in the wrong way, and that the results might be toxic and harmful to the people who use them. It is better that there be a reliable recipe for any particular psychedelic drug, a recipe that can be trusted to give the right material, when it is followed by a conscientious chemist. As long as these drugs are considered illegal, there is no quality control, so every effort must be made to minimize harm. This attitude is called harm reduction, and I am doing what I can toward this goal, by publishing factual and accurate information regarding the ways of making the drugs, and their effects in human beings at different dosage levels. As for the results of the publication of these books : I was asked to give back my DEA analytical license in 1994, as the DEA did not want to be associated with my research.

Would you tell me what you are doing now?
Sasha: Currently I have about three interests going simultaneously, but, of course, with my time and energy being limited, they are often in conflict.

  1. I'm very eager to pursue new plants known to be active. Now I'm interested in the cactus area; many cacti have been used in sacred ceremonies by Native North Americans and Native South Americans, with the cactus being the sacrament. Many of these cacti have never been looked at in regard to their chemical composition, and I believe there is a great deal of information to be discovered, in attempting to understand how and why the cacti cause the mental changes that take place.

  2. The area of tryptamines : I've found two or three new types of tryptamines that are psychoactive. I would like to synthesize them, explore them, work out the chemistry and the pharmacology, and eventually to publish this information.

  3. The writing of a book or two about this entire area : I've been working on finishing one book with Ann's daughter on isoquinolines of the simple kind, from plants. There are around 2000 compounds, organized by chemical structure, common name and the plants in which they are found.

Ann: I'd like to add something about what Sasha mentioned, about these cacti that he's beginning to investigate -- about their use in Native American cultures as part of their spiritual lives. What I feel is important -- and it should be more widely understood -- is that, as far back as at least 50,000 years ago, and probably long before that, there is evidence -- in the great caves -- of the use of visionary plants. Sometimes it seems that the plants were used by the shamans or the medicine men (or women), and sometimes they were used by everybody in the tribe, but the use of these things has been part of human experience and human spiritual life probably ever since we came into being.

Sasha and I work pretty much as a team. He has the chemical skill; I have no knowledge of chemistry at all, but when he discovers something, he tries it in himself first, and after he has found the active level, I will join him, and usually we explore the activity together, and depending on what we find, it will go to other people who are responsible for writing very precise notes about their reactions, and all this information goes into the next book. We are both beginning writing the third book of our series, with PiHKAL and TiHKAL being the first two. We both have the same interests, but our viewpoints are different : he has the scientific viewpoint, and I have the psychological and the spiritual. We supplement each other in our writing.

Sasha: There is a great deal of phenethylamine work that has been done during the last few years, and most of the information has been published by various chemists, but with the present law making it almost impossible to study the effects of these compounds in man, nothing has been published on their activity in the human being.

You've been nicknamed the " Godfather " of ecstasy. How do you feel about that?
Sasha: Since MDMA was made long before I was born, I cannot be the father. I'm called the Godfather because I published for the first time information about its effects in man. I feel content with the title. MDMA is a beautiful drug, although its use is not the way I had hoped and expected it would be. The original value that Ann and I saw was with its use in the area of psychotherapy. It allows the patient to trust his therapist, and to be able to drop the defenses inside himself, so that he can have insight into his own unconscious emotions, his fears. Instead of spending six months, trying to let down his psychological barriers, the patient can do this in two hours. MDMA is an extraordinary insight drug, and in some way we cannot explain, it allows you to see inside yourself without feeling guilt, or self-rejection, or shame. Its value in therapy was clearly apparent from the beginning.

Ann: Actually the person who first put MDMA to work as a tool in psychotherapy was the person we call in our books Adam, who was an elderly psychologist Sasha knew. Sasha took the drug to him after he had tried it himself. Adam was in the process of retiring, and Sasha told him, " This may be of interest to you." Adam tried it, and in essence, he came out of retirement, and spent the rest of his life training other therapists in Europe and in the United States in the use of MDMA. He always insisted that anyone who wanted to use it with a patient should first use it in himself; that was Adam's rule, and we believe it is an excellent rule. Even if the therapist may have a quite different experience, he gets an idea of what the patient is going to feel, and I think this is a very, very good and wise practice.

How do you explain the actual use of ecstasy? Do you feel it's corrupted?
Sasha: No, I don't believe it's corrupted; the current use is another side, another facet of the original use. It's being used to indeed open up Interaction between people; it's being used on the music scene, and that is also something which happens with every generation, in one form or another. The value of the drug is still there, but the use of it unfortunately led to MDMA not only becoming illegal, but also being demonized by the government, and it's further complicated by the fact there is no check on what is being sold as "ecstasy." If I had seen it going this way, I'd have still stayed out of the way and let it happen, because I was once at the same age; I knew very well that I was immortal, that the old generation was not to be trusted , and if I had been told not to go to a rave, that would have been even more reason to do so.

Ann: If I had to choose, I would much rather that young people use MDMA than alcohol. Alcohol is a seriously dangerous drug, and MDMA, if it is used with common sense and some amount of information, is relatively safe. If you're dancing all night, you have to be sure you stay hydrated, and not too hydrated, and you should always give yourself a little time out to rest, but my preference of course is to see MDMA used in therapy, because I think that is its greatest use, there is no other drug that can take its place, there is no other drug that can do what MDMA does in therapy, and the loss for therapy is tragic. The fact is that there were some psychotherapists and psychologists who used MDMA in the seventies, and when MDMA became illegal, in the eighties, many of them didn't stop using it; its use went underground. Of course this was very difficult, because getting a reliable supply of good material was difficult, but in both Europe and the United States, there has been a great deal of continuing work, by a class of people who never thought, even in their wildest dreams, that they would become criminals because of some medicine they believed was tremendously important to their patients. That is another tragedy created by the War on Drugs: making criminals of therapists and healers.

How many compounds have you invented?
Sasha: Some 200. The ones which have become most widely known would Probably be 2C-B, 2C-T-7, and 2C-T-2, which have been used in Holland. One of the first ones I had made that became a public problem was something I had called DOM, but which turned up on the street in the late sixties, under the name of STP, especially in San Francisco. Some tryptamines: 4-hydroxy- and 5-methoxy- analogs of psilocyn ; many 2,5-dimethoxy-4- substituted phenethylamines and amphetamines. This latter group includes the 2C- drugs and the DOM, mentioned above. They are widely distributed in Holland, and they are coming into this country. Some of them have already been made illegal here. None of these drugs are yet available by prescription. If any of them ever were to become prescription drugs, there would have to be a new accepted classification, something like "Mind-exploration," or "Consciousness-expansion," and although that may happen in the future, I don't believe it will be soon.

Ann: When Sasha talks of wide distribution in Holland, or anywhere else, we should emphasize that such distribution has nothing to do with either of us. I guess somebody with chemical skills read about them in books, but we just stand on the sidelines, and watch with a certain amount of apprehension.

Which compounds would you consider as having a therapeutic interest?
Sasha: An homologue of DOM, dimoxamine or Ariadne, was patented as a Potential prescription drug by Bristol-Myers. If it had progressed to the final stages, it would have been used as an energizer or motivator for elderly patients. The main value of the materials I discover is that they activate the serotonin system, and one of their greatest values has been using them in human studies with radio-isotope labels: doctors can see the serotonin neuron structure, or serotonergic system, in a patient's brain. It can help to see abnormal distribution of serotonin.

Which ones have proved an interest regarding psychotherapy?
Ann: I used mostly MDMA when I worked with an hypnotherapist, but 2C-B was also of great value, partly because it was relatively short in duration, 6 to 8 hours. A lot of the psychedelics that could have been of great use in psychotherapy have the disadvantage of lasting too long. A great deal of published work shows that LSD, which Dr. Albert Hoffman invented, was also of great value in therapy, and some of the 2C-T compounds can be used to great advantage this way. Regarding MDMA, it's extremely short in duration. The maximum intensity of effect lasts for less than two hours, which makes it very usable.

How many patients have you worked with? Do you know how they feel now?
Ann: The people who stayed in touch all seemed to have benefitted from it, but that's perhaps because they were very carefully chosen. MDMA (which is not a psychedelic) and the psychedelic drugs should never be used with people who are psychotic. For two years I collaborated with a hypnotherapist, and we worked only with people who were what you might call neurotic. They had already done their primary psychological work with the hypnotherapist, and these were people she felt, when they had finished that work, they were ready to go further and deeper. The only thing that has happened with everyone I know who has used MDMA a great deal is that if they used it more than 4 times a year, they developed a tolerance, and after a few years, it begins to not work for them. They want to get back the magic of the first experience, and that is a mistake, because - as Sasha likes to say -- "You never step into the same river water twice. " I found out, for myself, that using MDMA more often than four times a year was not wise. I used MDMA as a writing drug for about a year. Once a week, I would do a great deal of writing using MDMA; it was a wonderful experience for me to use it that way, but I discovered after that kind of use that I had to go up in dosage to get an effect, and the effect became less and less the magical insight; it was more and more the stimulant effects, and for many years now, I have been totally unable to use it. Not only because now it is illegal, but because I used it once a week, and that was too often. Nobody knew that, then, but now I would advise anyone who wants to use MDMA not to take it more than 4 times a year if you want to continue to get the best effects from it, otherwise you risk losing its effects entirely and permanently.

What do you think of the use of MDMA to resolve conflicts?
Ann: MDMA is most useful in the resolving of conflicts, especially in marital therapy. It brings husband and wife together if they have lost the ability to express their love and have gotten into a pattern of blaming each other.

How would you compare the psychedelic therapy to the academic therapy?
Ann: I risk being a bit simplistic in saying this: the Freudians tend to distrust the unconscious, they don't embrace it, while the Jungians tend to love the unconscious (perhaps a little too much), and I think a therapist who is going to use these tools, if they happen to become legal again, would have to be inclined more to the Jungian way of thinking. The most important thing I discovered with psychedelic psychotherapy, is that one must not do it with any particular belief structure. What you learn in university or in the classical training does not serve you well as a therapist using psychedelics. It's a kind of therapy that breaks most of the known rules. It's going to be difficult for the establishment of the medical or psychiatric world to accept this. First, the 50 minutes classic session is out the window. The minimal amount of time that you spend in a psychedelic therapy, even with short-acting compounds, is 6 hours, and there are very strict rules: if the patient comes to a very important crisis point at the end of these six hours, then you do not stop, you go on until the crisis has been worked through, even if it becomes 10 or 12 hours. It's much closer to a shamanic, spiritual session, however you understand that, than it is to classic psychotherapy. The attitude of the therapist is never distant, there must be something very close to love in the feelings he must have for the patient. The distance and objectivity that some therapists insist on is actually impossible if one is going to work in this area. This doesn't mean transferences don't have to be dealt with, but this is very deep and very penetrating, this is the kind of work you do only with a person for whom you can feel great caring, and this is one of the responsibilities for a therapist doing work with these compounds, so it is very different from doing other standard forms of therapy. In the United States, unfortunately, psychotherapy has become mainly a matter of giving pills and drugs, and I hope that changes very soon.

Which studies using MDMA have you heard about?
Sasha: In Spain, there is a project for using MDMA in patients with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) which is fully approved and is now underway. In Zurich, Dr. Vollenweider is doing studies with MDMA at both the psychological and pharmacological level, but the most unusual thing is that his subjects are naive subjects, he's using MDMA on people who of course could not have brain damage or brain changes because of MDMA, since they have never taken MDMA before. He's shown through these studies that there is no damage to the subjects associated with the use of the material. He's been funded by The Heffter Institute here in the United States. His studies have, of course, produced political problems, and I hope that he receives much support for his excellent work.

What would prevent a company from selling MDMA as a treatment if it were legal again?
Sasha: If a company is going to make a product like MDMA, they need to go through various studies to get the FDA approval. They would like to be able to patent it, but MDMA is in the public domain. What is called a use patent is not interesting to most large companies. They prefer to own a drug completely. Therefore, there is not much incentive for most drug companies to not the benefit to humanity, it is the benefit to their stockholders, of course. Another question is: who would supply the drug?

Ann: There is an " orphan drug act " which allows very small groups of people to ask for the use of some compounds. But I don't see LSD or MDMA as possible commercial products.

What do you think of George Ricaurte, who stands for the thesis of an important MDMA neurotoxicity?
Sasha: He's very prolific. He is funded by the government, and those scientists who depend on the agreement for grants have to be very competitive, as there are ten times more people asking for grants than there is available money, so there is a lot of competition, and applications are judged on the basis of the way they are worded.

For instance, in the writing of a grant to study a drug like MDMA, you would word it to give another reason why MDMA is a dangerous drug; all the research is done from a negative point of view. For example, a scientist might explain that he needs funds to explore the question of: "Is neuron damage from MDMA reversible?" This, of course, implies that it is taken for granted that MDMA causes neuron damage! Most of the papers written by Dr. Ricaurte are these kinds of studies, and any research which has not fit this government-approved pattern has not been published at all.

Ann: Also, for instance, George Ricaurte is a very good scientist, but his studies do not, for the most part, apply a dosage level that would be the one used in therapy with humans. His studies are often done with very high dosage levels, which simply would make no sense in human use. If you use a large enough dose of any drug, whether it is a prescription drug or an illegal one, you will certainly find some damage, both in animals and humans.

Sasha: There is widespread misinformation in general, about psychedelic drugs and about MDMA, which is not a psychedelic, but another kind called an entactogen. In case of a death at a rave, for instance, especially in England, and to quite an extent in the USA, the cause of the death will be ascribed to MDMA (called XTC), whether it was the cause or not. As long as XTC is found on, or among the possessions of the victim, MDMA or Ecstasy will be pronounced to be the cause, the villain. The real cause is usually not investigated or published. This is not to say that MDMA never causes injury; there are probably people who are extremely sensitive to it, and if they take too much, it could very well cause injury or even death. But these cases are very rare.

What is your opinion on neurotoxicity?
Sasha: You mean the changes that may occur from repeated drug use? I'm not personally very fond of repeated drug use; my role is the discovery of new things, not confirmation of old things, so I don't have that as a personal worry. If you take a drug with sufficient frequency, you will become unresponsive to that drug, possibly through changes of neurochemistry. Changes occur; from an optimistic point of view you call them growth, from a pessimistic point of view you call them damage, but it is change, and to make it reversible you must stop the drug. But the "holes in the brain " idea is a shameful excess, it comes from people who are willing to mis-use medical information to mislead the public about the effects of illegal drugs.

Ann: We had a program on television about MDMA (called XTC); the program was quite good, but some doctor allowed himself to show a brain scan with holes - absences of flow -- in various places, which are what you see when you're uploading information on blood flow or other such things, and he presented it as a brain scan which was showing actual, literal holes due to the use of MDMA. It was a very big, deliberate lie and mis-use of medical technology to take advantage of a public which cannot possibly understand the images they are being shown.

Which harm reduction advice would you like to insist on about the use of psychedelic drugs?
Sasha: I would urge a person to try to find out, in any way he can, exactly what is the nature of the drug he or she is planning to take. I would also urge him to do some homework, to find out what books there are (depending on what country he is in) which can tell him about the drug he is considering taking. He should know what dosage levels are safe, and what levels are going to lead to trouble. In other words, he should be as fully informed as possible, just as he expects to be fully informed about the safe use of prescription drugs. The difference is that, when you take a prescription drug, there is reliable information given to you by the drug company or the pharmacist, but when you use a psychedelic or other "unapproved" drug, you must take care of informing yourself. Also, if a person is going to use a needle to take any drug, he should remember that needles can be the carriers of lethal infective agents, such as HIV and AIDS, as well as hepatitis, an infection of the liver. If you're going to use a needle, be sure it is either new and un-used, or completely sterilized.

Above all, if you are a young adult, keep in mind that stupid mistakes can cost you your life. Whether the drug is legal, like alcohol or aspirin, or illegal like some psychedelics, you can lose your health or even your life if you act stupidly. If you drink too much alcohol in a small amount of time, you will die. If you take half a bottle of aspirin all at once, you will die. The psychedelics are not, for the most part, either addictive or dangerous, but if you use too much of a psychedelic, you can lose track of where you are or what you are doing, so you can put yourself in great danger. Overdoses of any drug do not prove bravery; they prove lack of intelligence.

Ann: I want to emphasize something. Both in the case of visionary plants and psychedelic drugs, these tools for self-exploring are not for everybody. Not everybody benefits from them, not everyone should try them. Those who feel a reluctance to experiment with psychedelics should listen to the inner voice that tells them to avoid such experiences. The only thing that Sasha and I feel very strongly is that they should be available for those who do wish to use them. My use of such things is in the pursuit of my own spiritual life; Sasha emphasizes the exploration of the nature of the mind, and we feel that they should be allowed to be used for both research and the pursuit of one's spiritual life. But again, they are not tools that benefit everyone. There are other tools, such as meditation or hypnosis, music, drumming and dancing, which can be used for spiritual purposes, and the idea that everyone should try a psychedelic once in their life is perhaps not wise. There are some people who have an instinct that tells them not to touch anything that changes consciousness. And that instinct should always be followed. If a person is ready to use a Visionary plant or drug, he will feel the readiness. It sounds very mystical, but the fact is that instincts should be respected, when it comes to altering one's perceptions and one's mental state. And the most important thing of all is: never, never push anyone to use such a drug.

Sasha: The instinct may be not your own, but that of a person who knows you. I had a friend who wanted me to give him MDMA, and my instinct said no. He was an alcoholic, trying to escape a repressed homosexuality that he could not consciously acknowledge. If I had given him MDMA, and if this hidden part of himself had been revealed, it could have been a disaster for him, and certainly for our friendship.

Why do you think the psychedelic drugs have been scheduled, despite the fact that they could be of some use, for both therapeutic and spiritual purposes?
Sasha: The psychedelic drugs came onto the scene at a time of social unrest, when many things were changing in our society. They were unrecognized by the medical establishment, and had not been tested by the FDA. Their most vocal advocates tended to be young people who were in conflict with the government and also with organized religion. During the Vietnam war, many of the anti-war protesters were users of consciousness-changing drugs. The professional researchers who wanted to study the effects of these drugs went almost unheard during this time. Both government and organized religion declared these materials to be dangerous to social cohesion, and the average citizen, knowing nothing whatsoever about drugs in general and psychedelic drugs in particular, depended on government agencies to tell them how to think and feel about them. When they were declared illegal, they became even more interesting to even more young people, and the psychedelic movement was born. It is well understood in the world of business, in the military, and in government that errors are not admitted and mistakes are not acknowledged, because otherwise there will be a loss of power, and the foremost concern of all these institutions is power. That is why, no matter what research was done and what positive results might have come from that research, the government of the United States would not, and probably will not (at least very soon) allow itself to admit that it might have acted too hastily in scheduling the early psychedelics. By this time, the War on Drugs has become so financially rewarding to its warriors, and has given so much political power to our government, that it simply cannot be stopped. It will not be stopped until and unless somebody comes into power who recognizes the danger to democracy and freedom posed by this "war," and brings it to an end. This would have to be a president who was courageous as well as honest, and who would be content to run for only one term. As the Americans say, "Don't hold your breath."

Do you think the " War on drugs " will ever stop?
Sasha: I'm very pessimistic. I think the war will become more and more complex, and more and more intense, with more and more control. I believe we almost live in a Police State, and that the drug users are the new scapegoats of this totalitarian state.

Ann: I won't be as pessimistic. I think if you've lost the support of the media, and the support of the spiritual community, you have to change the law. This will not happen very soon; too many people earn money from building prisons, urine testing etc., not only the dealers. It should be a right for every adult to use any drug he chooses to use. And certainly, there must be more money for clinics, and there must be factual education about drugs. It's better for a person with a drug problem to get some help outside a jail. This kind of common sense has to win.

Do you think drug use is a human right?
Sasha: Without a bit of hesitation, yes it is. One thing that is badly abused in this country is the presumption of innocence. You should have no such thing as a random urine test for drugs, which is a presumption of guilt. I strongly believe that these human rights are inalienable, and should apply to every individual citizen.

Ann: For any adult, this is a basic human right.

Would you rather advocate decriminalization or legalization?
Sasha: I'm not sure what is meant by decriminalization, nor by legalization. Thomas Szasz says both words are ambiguous. We must get rid of the Federal drug laws. The Federal laws are often more damaging to the defendant, since the penalties are greater. The disadvantage of repealing the federal law would be that you would have several thousand people unemployed, because you'd have no more DEA. But you could do a great service to society by bringing these people in to reinforce the laws that must be maintained: laws against driving under the influence of drugs, laws against giving drugs to people who don't know they've been given drugs, laws dealing with children buying drugs and using them. These laws must be maintained, but these laws are also at a State level. They should remain State laws, but there is no reason for them to be duplicated by the Federal government.

Ann: I think that if you follow what happened in this country with the prohibition of alcohol, that was a total failure, and it gave rise to the great crime families. I think that alcohol is a severe problem for lots of people, but we have learned that it is a worse situation if you legally prohibit it. Our government was on the verge of trying to prohibit cigarettes, and I think they realized it would immediately create a very strong underground black market for something that lots of people are addicted to. Although alcohol is legal for adults, driving under the influence is against the law, and that law should be enforced much more strictly. Making alcohol available to children should not be allowed. If you follow the same rules with drugs, I think this is probably the best general pattern. Somebody asked me how I would feel if I saw billboards advertising MDMA and LSD, and I answered that it would turn my stomach. I don't think of these things as commercial compounds, but if I have to choose between a very materialistic use of these drugs, and the idea of seeing everyone in jail because they've been found in possession of some of them, I'd choose the first option.

What the future of drug use will be like: In your best dreams? In your worst nightmares?
Sasha: I believe that drug use will remain basically the same: if psychedelic drugs are legal, there will be good use and foolish use; if they remain illegal, there will be wise use underground, and stupid use underground. There will be new drugs discovered and someone will publish the information about them; if they are legal, the publications will be in respected journals; if they are illegal, publication will be in underground books and magazines .The internet will continue to offer both factual and worthless information on drugs.

In my worst nightmare, our drug laws will continue to increase until this country is a police state, although the general public will not choose to recognize it as such. Other countries will continue to ignore American drug laws when crafting their own, as they are beginning to do now. Amnesty International will cite the U.S. for putting more millions of people in jail than any other country in the world, except China. Raves will be held far away from the big cities, and never in the same place twice. Police corruption at the borders of the country will be taken for granted. The First Amendment will not apply to anyone speaking openly against the War on Drugs.

The best and the brightest minds of North America will leave the country and make their homes in South America, Canada, Europe and Africa. Every country except China, North America, Argentina and Norway will follow the pattern set by Spain in regard to drugs, i.e., every adult citizen will have the right to use any drug he/she wishes, and there will be numerous clinics set up for those with alcohol and drug problems.

In my best dreams, the present drug laws will be repealed, except those applying to children, driving under the influence, and giving a drug to any person who has not given informed consent. Psychedelics will be used for therapy and for spiritual growth. Several spiritual practices will arise, based on the pattern set by Native Americans of both North and South America, using visionary plants and some synthetic drugs. Prisons will be used to hold violent criminals and the criminally insane. Empathy and compassion will no longer be regarded with contempt, but will be seen as normal attributes of healthy adult human beings. Common sense will be rampant.

Ann: Amen, amen, and amen.


© Sarah de Haro, 2001. All rights reserved.