HARM REDUCTION is not possible until the RISKS
of drug use are understood : Click Here .

Frank Zappa's definition of drug abuse : "A drug is neither moral nor immoral - it's a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it as if consumption bestowed a temporary license to act like an asshole." Found at Media Awareness Project.
Wise and Unwise Drug Use. Wise use of drugs, is like wise use of spices or herbs. The spices and herbs are added to something else, something called "the main course". If drugs begin to become, "the main course", rather than being just "added spice", then life begins to suffer. Any usage of drugs or herbs which interferes with normal functioning and good health, should also be avoided. Unfortunately, the "war on drugs" approach too often creates an irrational extremist attitude both for the government and the citizens involved. 


NOTE : Classifying various drugs accurately, according to their harm potential, is the basis of "harm reduction" style drug control policy.

The French government just released a research report on the relative dangers associated with various commonly used drugs like tobacco, alcohol, psychedelics, and marijuana.

Marijuana was classified in the "least harmful" category. Click Here

The Counter Culture Promoted Psychedelic Drugs, Not All Drugs

What is "Harm Reduction" and Where Did It Come From ?

By the web maintainer

If a comprehensive history of "Harm Reduction" style public drug policy is to be written, it will have to include the "psychedelic connection". We are at a moment in time where certain powers wish to "re-write history" so that innovative people and movements are not given credit where credit is due. The Ibogaine Story, at the "Cures Not Wars" site is instructive. (The Ibogaine Dossier : click here.
I have read repeatedly that LSD, ibogaine, and other psychedelics, have been successfully used as "psychedelic drug therapy" in the treatment of Heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and other "physical" drug addictions, under medical/psychological supervision.

After reading Leary's, The Politics of Ecstasy at age 16, recommended to me by an avid 15 year old Deadhead, I have concluded that, at least in 1968, Timothy Leary would definitely have been comfortable at a "Harm Reduction" conference or symposium.

While relatives and childhood associates of mine died under the influence of legal psychiatric tranquilizers, a 15 year old Deadhead gave me practical information about "surviving in the real world." This "real world morality", or practical value structure, allowed me to make non-deadly decisions concerning both LEGAL and ILLEGAL drugs in a time of ignorance, mass hysteria, and extremism. (That era continues, but the tide is turning.)

This early "Harm Reduction", or 60's "drug morality" was occasionally promulgated by parts of the mass media, such as Playboy and others, who in 1972, and again in later year issues, published special "all about illegal drugs" articles. These extremely useful, non - political, and commonsense directories, based on known medical facts rather than exaggeration, gave millions of readers over a large range of ages practical advice about drugs which probably saved many more lives than drug prohibition, or "just say no." I don't recall if magazines intended for women or girls ever carried any such totally rational articles about "drugs". (I was into Car and Driver back then, or 73 Magazine.)

The 1980's "Just Say No" concept was an intellectual "closed door" which indirectly supported the status quo of alcohol, tobacco, and widespread compulsive prescription synthetic drug use, while blurring all distinctions between radically different illicit drugs. The typical kid from 1980 until the present hasn't much of a clue as to what is relatively safe, and what isn't.

In the 1968 Politics of Ecstasy, which I read in 1971, Leary admonished all of his readers to avoid "harmful, old paradigm drugs", like tobacco and alcohol. Also considered harmful by Leary were many other drugs like speed, Heroin, barbituates, etc. Cocaine was not mentioned, since there was then no widespread cocaine use in most of America. Marijuana was considered OK, as well as LSD of course, but only in a "good setting". LSD, and all the other psychedelics were the "transformers of consciousness" so that the new paradigm, the "60's consciousness", could manifest itself. The '60's was primarily a psychedelic revolution, not a "drug revolution".

Drugs Already an Epidemic in 1967. Legal drug use was already quite problematic before the "flower power" period in the "post world war II" era, especially in affluent N. American. This was the era of "pills for everything". (When did this era begin ? 1900 or so ?) One pill to wake up, one pill to make it through the day, one pill for sleep, etc., etc. Amphetimines were legal by prescription, as were barbituates. Inherent in the counter culture's "drug morality" was a condemnation of the accepted and legal drug habits of the decadent "establishment". Marijuana was seen as something better and safer than alcohol, and mom's sleeping pills. LSD, to the lucky, often revealed a universe of intelligence and beauty ; why go off and create hell on earth in Vietnam ? The psychedelic pioneers discovered early that the Heroin trafficked from Southeast Asia did not fit into their utopian paradigm, but that went for alcohol and other "killer" drugs as well. (Leary did not recommend prohibition of his unapproved drugs, but all drugs were classified and given a relative value structure.)

Baba Ram Dass Arrives in India and Discovers Total (Voluntary) Abstinence, another form of Harm Reduction. Timothy Leary's early LSD partner at Millbrook was fellow Harvard professor Richard Alpert, who later changed his name to Baba Ram Dass. Alpert traveled to India seeking "enlightenment" beyond that produced, for him, by LSD. There he encountered a holy man who, among other things, consumed Alpert's entire bottle of pure LSD brought from the states (according to Be Here Now). The drug had no effect on the monk, who said that he didn't need pills to "see God", etc.

Alpert was amazed at the holy man's digestive and nervous systems, its ability to "ignore" a powerful drug like LSD (assuming the story is true). The old buddhist monk was healthier than his age had predicted. Alpert then received a "new name" from his "master", and traveled back to the U.S. where he published a very popular head-shop marketed book, entitled, Be Here Now, which advocated a "drug-free" or natural high. This book, first published in 1967(?) was very popular into the 1970's, and created "self-chosen drug abstinence" as one legacy of Leary's LSD movement.

Even "acid era" bands like the Grateful Dead were also promoting, in the late '60's and early '70's, a kind of "safe drugs" philosophy. The distributors of marijuana, LSD, magic mushrooms, etc., were not to be labeled, "drug pushers", since the psychedelics are not physically addicting, nor practical for everyday use. Psychedelics have never been expensive, so real organized crime has never had much interest in them, regardless of what the press may pretend.

Special Care for Those Having "Bad Trips". Believe it or not, another early "harm reduction" approach was the providing of special compassionate care for those having "bad trips" on LSD or other psychedelics. Since people having bad trips might endanger themselves or others, something had to be done. An experienced LSD user, usually a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist, was on-call for this service, provided by some of the "free community health clinics" set up in a few university towns in California and elsewhere in the late '60's, and early '70's such as Isla Vista (near UCSB), Berkeley, San Francisco, Ann Arbor, and others. Sometimes a special room was provided where the counselor attempted to "talk down" the person having a bad trip.

Set and Setting. The music therapy provided by the Grateful Dead and other bands created tangible beauty, sanity, and order to many psychedelic experimenters. Dead heads were not doing "drugs" at the concerts or while listening to the albums, they were doing psychedelic drugs, almost exclusively. The "everything goes" attitude practiced by many drug users today was also common in the 60's and 70's, but much less so with Deadheads who were always biased towards psychedelia and against "downers", alcohol, or speed.

When "Pigpen" died of liver damage, the anti-alcohol message was clear, according to Jerry Garcia in interviews. (I am ignoring the later periods when Garcia and others were known to be using cocaine, Heroin, and other things. Many older deadheads continued with the stricter "drug morality" from the earlier period, avoided alcohol, and never tried cocaine, Heroin, or even ecstasy.)

DEA noticed a difference also. James Mills, in The Undergound Empire, was very astute in noticing that even the top brass in CENTAC, and the DEA gave "special treatment" to the top marijuana trafficker in the world at that time, a Mr. David Steinberg, who was famous for being "non-violent", and for only dealing in marijuana. Steinberg had no money at all when finally caught. He had literally spent it all paying off old debts. In the end, he was ripped off by many of the associates he'd treated fairly. In federal court, he was treated a little more respectfully since he had been honest and generous with everybody, had not used weapons or engaged in violence, and had not dealt in "hard drugs" like Heroin or cocaine. Steinberg is portrayed as an extension of the '60's consciousness'.

Steinberg and his other "non-violent" marijuana entrepreneurs were the only drug traffickers in The Underground Empire who didn't commit murder, kidnapping, extortion, or torture. He did commit many civil crimes like bribery and tax evasion.

Steinberg was sentenced to Federal prison.


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