We Need to Open Our Minds to Drug Reform

We Need to Open Our Minds to Drug Reform

OPINION: The drugs we use as a society shape us, individually, and collectively. 

Alcohol is a depressant, a neurotoxin, a carcinogen, and a teratogen (damages foetuses). At high levels (which kiwis most often consume) it can be a significant factor for increased risk of injury, violence, and mental illness. As a nation we are dealing with cumulative generations of alcohol abuse. This has manifested in an array of society wide symptoms – high rates of suicide, depression, mental illness, and self-harm. 

Psilocybin (mushies) has been used to effectively alleviate end of life anxiety in cancer patients who are about to die. MDMA (pingazz) has been used to heal treatment resistant PTSD in war veterans. LSD (acid) has been used to treat addiction, and causes significant brain growth (neurogenesis) that could be utilised as a treatment for depression.

If these substances have such measurable and powerful impacts, why are we not reviewing our archaic Misuse of Drugs Act (1975)? If they can be so healing, imagine the impact they would have on our alcohol and trauma-ridden population – which has some of the highest rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide in the OECD. Why is the University not diving deeply into the blooming and rich research field of psychedelic medicine?

These substances have the capacity to shape us as sentient individuals, and as a collective whole. The substances we use physically shape our brains, which impacts our overall culture, beliefs, and paradigms. Why is the neurotoxin the legal one? 

In psychology there is a concept called Hebb’s postulate: neurons that fire together wire together, forming a network of electrochemical links that constitute ideas/concepts. Each and every one of us has been shaped by our society and its available experiences. Prejudices, language, stereotypes, fears, beliefs, are all subtly physically programmed into us. Some have the fortune of encountering a critical perspective, of being taught how to analyse, question, and shape their own circuits/paradigms – but many do not. You can see it in our language: some are “unable to think outside the box/stuck their ways” – literally, neuronally, chemically, stuck in self-reinforcing loops. 

Serotonin is one of the oldest and widely utilised neurotransmitters in the brain. Many psychedelics are shaped very closely to serotonin, and mimic its effects on the brain (connecting neurons!). This means that when you have a psychedelic experience, it enables connection at a very physical, mechanical level. Enhanced neurogenesis, augmented neurofluidity! The induced ability to critically examine and alter those ingrained old connections. Brain areas connect that otherwise might never have.

Our world is slowly dying. The need for a radical, species-wide paradigm shift is obvious. But still, wind turbine applications (in Dunedin) are being turned down because they would affect the property values of properties that will be literally underwater in 40 years. 

The old paradigms are holding on strong, people are not willing/able to face the cataclysm that we have started to unleash – until it is far, far, far too late (by which point many of the richest/oldest/most conservative of our society will be safe, far up on the hill, after vociferously opposing preventative measures). Business as usual is damning our children's children.

We need an induced and accelerated paradigm shift. We need to open our minds (literally, Psyche(the mind) Delic (to open)). IMO drug law reform is a matter of life and death for our species. New Zealand is nimble, has a small population, and has always been used as an arena for social experimentation. We could be a beacon for the rest of the world, leading our species into a new societal paradigm.

If you guys wanna get involved head on over to “@TheBuzzDuds” on fb. Imma be coordinating some shizz. Actual fed up with the snail’s pace as our species cruises over the cliff. For our kids’ kids’ kids’ kids’ kids. <3 up tha breathas xo.

This article first appeared in Issue 24, 2018.
Posted 3:08pm Friday 14th September 2018 by Josh Smythe.