Tag Archives: AA

10 questions about drugs

1. Which is the most common rape drug?

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?

3. Which drug kills most people?

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.

9. Which drugs are legal?

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

 

You’ll find the correct answers below the picture.

Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr.
Photo: Drug questions by Ano Lobb on Flickr

 

There are obviously legal, country and time specific variations to these answers, but this is the general picture.

1. Which is the most common rape drug?
Alcohol is the most common rape drug. Many think that they need to be wary of people who want to spike their drinks with other drugs, but in the overwhelming majority of cases it is the alcoholic drink itself that is the rape drug. Victims and offenders are often drunk and even when there are other drugs in the mix, alcohol is almost always the main drug.

2. Which drug is associated with the most violence?
Alcohol is involved in most cases of violence. 70 to 90 percent of all violence (wars excluded) is directly linked to alcohol. This is as true for domestic violence as it is for violent encounters between strangers. There are a few other drugs (mainly ego enhancing and consciousness decreasing drugs) that are also associated with violence, but even in cases when other drugs are present alcohol is usually the main drug.

This diagram gives you a hint at how many deaths are attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. It is however misleading since the tobacco part of the diagram only shows England, while the other circles include all of the UK. In other words, the tobacco circle should be far much bigger than it is in this picture.
This diagram shows you how many deaths were attributed to different drugs in the UK 2011. The very large circle represent deaths due to tobacco and the next biggest one is alcohol. In third place we find opiates and opiate substitutes, which are mostly found in legal medications. In fourth place are legal anti-depressants and in fifth are legal benzodiazepines. In other words, all the big killer drugs except for heroin are legal.

3. Which drug kills most people?
Tobacco is by far the most lethal drug. Tobacco kills more people than all other legal and illegal drugs combined. Alcohol is the second most deadly drug and in third place we find prescription medications. Science is having a hard time putting these in relation to each other, but estimates are that tobacco takes somewhere between two and fifteen times as many lives as alcohol.

4. What kind of drugs are responsible for the most overdose deaths?
Pharmaceutical drugs/prescription medicines are the most commonly overdosed with a deadly outcome. One reason is of course the availability but another very important reason is that medications often are highly toxic.

5. Name two drugs that have never killed anyone.
LSD, cannabis and magic mushrooms are a few non-lethal drugs, but there are certainly more. The doses needed to die from them are simply so ridiculously high that it is physically impossible to consume such quantities of cannabis or mushrooms. In the case of LSD it is probably possible to take that much, but you would need to take thousands of doses and as far as I know that still hasn’t happened. It is of course possible to die in an accident or such while on these drugs, but even so these are not drugs that typically make users accident prone. Science rather suggests that people using these drugs are usually more careful and considerate.

6. Name two drugs that have no or very little addictive properties.

Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr
Photo: Hícuri by Mierdamian Rondana on Flickr

Psychedelics generally have strong anti-addictive properties and are therefore fantastic for breaking addiction. Some such drugs are LSD, magic mushrooms (psilocybin), San Pedro/Peyote (mescaline), Ayahuasca, DMT, Iboga (ibogaine) and Salvia Divinorum. Another thing that several of the psychedelics have in common is that the user’s tolerance towards them increases rapidly, so even if a user would want to use it several days in a row it would quickly become meaningless to do so because the effects would vanish.

7. Name two drugs that break addiction.
LSD, magic mushrooms and Iboga are all well known in the treatment of addicts, but psychedelics of all kinds can be helpful. Before being made illegal LSD was among other things used to cure alcoholism. AA co-founder Bill Wilson was an advocate of using it specifically to treat cynical alcoholics by giving them a spiritual experience. Ironically LSD had a higher success rate of curing alcoholics than AA or any other program has ever had.

8. Name two drugs that are used to cure depression, trauma and abuse.
Again, psychedelics are fantastic tools for curing depression, trauma and abuse, especially LSD, magic mushrooms, Ayahuasca and San Pedro/Peyote. They make the user more aware of his/her situation and give insights and experiences that help the user deal with past trauma. Within a spiritual context the plants are especially helpful since they actually speak to the user in a way that an isolated substance cannot do.

Western chemical based medicine often uses medications such as anti-depressants but these medicines most often only put a lid on things and sedate the person. These medicines are also highly addictive and toxic, which makes them very dangerous in comparison.

9. Which drugs are legal?
Alcohol and tobacco are legal, although you need to be of a certain age to buy them. Prescription medications are legal as long as you have a prescription.

10. Which drugs are the most illegal?

Contrary to what many think today's drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was mostly based on racism?
Contrary to what many think today’s drug laws are not based on science but on politics. For example, did you know that the push to make cannabis illegal was greatly based on racism?

Class A drugs are defined as drugs that are especially harmful, have a high abuse potential and that have no medical value. Among these you will find heroin, crack, cocaine, cannabis, LSD, magic mushrooms and mescaline. Which class a drug is placed in is however a political decision, not a scientific one. From a strictly scientific point of view this classification is utterly absurd. Heroin and crack would definitely fall within the definition of a class A drug, but so would the legal drugs alcohol and tobacco since they obviously are extremely addictive, harmful and lack all medical value. The psychedelics and cannabis on the other hand are proven to have huge medical value and do very little harm, so they would be stricken if the list was based on science. It appears however that drug policies are among the least scientifically based policies today.

Main photo: fififififiesta! by Adriano Agulló on Flickr

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Why we need more than 12 steps

Step 1 of the 12-step program goes like this:

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol
— that our lives had become unmanageable.

My very first step to recovery began with just the opposite.

I realized that I ultimately had the power over my life and with that understanding I chose to retake conscious control and responsibility for my life.

The 12-step program was founded in 1935 and is a product of its time and of the American Christian context in which it was born. In it the process to quit drinking is intimately linked to the belief in something greater than oneself that one needs to surrender to. The steps to recovery are detailed and follow each other in a way that easily reminds you of a machine or assembly line. The machine metaphor is easily available because the program was created in an industrial time when many thought models used the machine image.

In the 12-step program the person appears to be broken, and therefore needs to turn to the great mechanic in the sky to be repaired. The machine helps him/her to diagnose the problems that the mechanic needs to remove, but the main responsibility still lies with the mechanic.

The program has helped many people, but is surrounded by a belief to be able to help everyone, which is of course fundamentally wrong. No program, no action or intervention can help all people, because we are basically on different journeys, exploring different aspects of life and living in different realities.

People who do not believe in God, for example, often find it hard to embrace the 12-step program. Today many try to dechristianize the program to make it more accessible to non-believers, but the fact remains that the program is steeped in its history. Six of the twelve steps include direct reference to God, which is said to be a male entity.

The program also becomes problematic if the person finds it hard to work with the image that s/he is a machine that needs fixing, or if you like I have the understanding that the power to change is something internal. I do not recognize myself as powerless. I need quite the opposite – to remember that all power originates from me.

It’s good that the 12-step program is available, because there are people who feel the need to externalize power, who need to admit themselves powerless, who need to surrender and who furthermore need a detailed description of their recovery work beforehand. This does however become very problematic when participants believe that it is the only way, in the same way that many religions believe that they represent the only truth.

It becomes even more problematic that the 12-step program is so dominant that it is many times the only option, which is sometimes even forced upon people. Recently an American man was given a hefty settlement after a court forced him into a confessional sobriety program. In Sweden the alternatives to the 12-step program are hindered by authorities contributing to the 12-step program’s dominance. For example it is not uncommon that social assistance is conditioned with participation in the 12-step program, or that the only treatment available is based on the 12-step model.

At present there is an immense void when it comes to substance abuse treatment in Sweden, which leads to the majority not getting the help they need. There is a growing need for programs based on other belief systems, just as there is a growing need for programs that cater to atheists. We need programs that see people as organic beings, rather than machines. Or for that matter programs which liken the process to a journey, a release from a mental prison or a power struggle. The images we use for our recovery are extremely powerful tools. There is a need for programs that places the power to change within myself (all power in my life is based on me), just as there is a need for programs that place power outside of myself (I am powerless. God help me!).

This all stems from the fact that we need to help people based on their own beliefs about life – not from ours. To impose alien concepts on people in order to assimilate them in treatment is free of insight and thoroughly disrespectful. But above all, it is not good treatment, since it will be less effective.

Photo: So far by Stephen Cummings on Flickr

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Letter to the police in Värmland

Hello.

My name is Daniel Wilby. I am a 40 year old father of two, a writer and an yoga practitioner. Or as Tommy Lindh at the Swedish police in Värmland called me in the Swedish tabloid Expressen – a “drug liberal youth.”

I’m alive thanks to LSD.

Nine years ago I was literally on the verge of drinking myself to death. By pure chance, at age 31, I tried LSD and the experience was so transformative that I stopped drinking that same evening and started taking responsibility for my life. There began my journey of healing and growing, and vital tools for that were LSD and psychedelic mushrooms.

When I had my first experience of LSD, where I over night miraculously recovered from a 13-year long heavy alcohol abuse, I thought that my recovery was unique. When I started to look into it and talk to others who have taken LSD and other psychedelics, I quickly discovered that I was by no means unique. Among people who know psychedelics these kinds of stories are very common. LSD is sometimes likened to ten years of therapy in one night, which I can attest that it is often.

I have worked with these substances for eight years, with myself and with others. I have seen much healing, I have seen many insights that have changed peoples’ lives for the better, I have seen many challenge their fears and overcome obstacles within. For that reason, I have begun to study social work. It is my goal to one day work with legal psychedelic therapy.

But back to Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, who today wrote about LSD on the police Facebook page. The post has created some stir, because it’s obvious that the person who wrote it is very ignorant. In it Tommy Lindh writes about internet drugs which claims victims and says that they have discovered LSD which is an “extremely strong drug which in its dangerousness is clearly comparable to heroin.” In an article in the Swedish tabloid Expressen he continues to confuse LSD with research chemicals and says that the young people have died.

I happen to know much more about LSD than Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland, so I would briefly like to give you a few facts:
∙ It is basically impossible to die of LSD. You need to take more than 1,000 times the dose to stand the slightest risk. No one has ever taken that much LSD.
∙ To risk death with heroin one need to take 5 times the dose and to risk dying from alcohol poisoning one needs to take 10 times the dose. The latter is equivalent to a fourteen year old drinking a full bottle of liquor in 15 minutes.
∙ LSD has with extreme success been used to relieve and cure such things as substance abuse, post traumatic stress, depression, death anxiety, and empathy disorders.
∙ LSD was early on used to treat alcoholics and had much better results than the 12-step program has ever had. Actually one AA’s founder, Bill Wilson, wanted LSD to be step 1 in AA treatment.
∙ Many who use LSD and other psychedelics do it with a spiritual purpose. Psychedelics have been used for more than 6000 years by witches, shamans and medicine men to cure people and to get in contact with the spirit world.

It makes me both sad and upset to see ignorant people like Tommy Lindh at the police in Värmland speak in that manner about healing substances that can help so many people, in a time when more people than ever need the help. It irritates me that people like him are allowed to express their ignorance unchallenged in the media.

But I am not waging a war against Tommy. I think it is a pity that his knowledge is so limited. I think it is a shame that so many in the police, the prison service and in other social sectors are so profoundly ignorant to things that could save so many lives.

There are few who dare to speak as openly as I do about these things, because they fear social reprisals. To be able to take this discussion I stay completely drug-free and have done so for more than a year.

If the police in Värmland want to have a better understanding of psychedelics, they are most welcome to hire me as a speaker.

Sincerely

Daniel Wilby

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For ever grateful

My first LSD trip pretty much cured my alcoholism. The second and third put me well on my way to working through my four year long depression. I was utterly astounded by the miraculous effects, so of course I had to google it.

A few clicks and I had, among other things, learnt that:
* LSD had, before being criminalized, been used with fantastic results to cure addiction problems, such as alcoholism, where it often took only one trip to cure the person.
* One of the founders of AA was a strong advocate of LSD and was actually well on his way to start a program to distribute it throughout AA.
* LSD had a far greater success rate in curing alcoholism, than the AA 12 step program has ever had.
* LSD has also been used with great success to cure depression.
* Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday was right around the corner and he was alive and kicking.
* In his honour there was a LSD conference being arranged in Basel, Switzerland, and everyone who was somebody in the psychedelic community would be there, along with the guest of honour, Albert Hofmann himself.

Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby
Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby

I had to go.

I was flat broke, but there are moments in life that are just too important to miss. This was one of them. I was probably the most inexperienced of the whole crowd, having taken LSD four or five times by then. The lectures were absolutely amazing and confirmed scientifically the effects and experiences that I was trying to describe to friends and family.

On the final night, after having listened to Albert Hofmann tell about his first experience, there was a wonderful party on a boat. It was full of psychedelic explorers, psychonauts of all generations. There were academics and hippies mixed up with ravers and artists. And of course the best LSD I have ever encountered.

I had never been to a rave before. My first encounter was on two drops of LSD and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everyone on the dance floor was dancing in the same direction and they were rediscovering and reinventing what dance, body language and social interaction was. It was as if they had taken out social programming A, and were busy programming social programming B. People were friendly and caring, not at all the type of interaction that I was used to from night clubs.

I had no idea that this was what the ravers were up to.
– I have to find these raves, I told myself. They seem to have LSD.
They sure did, I soon found out. They sure did.

Hofmann on his bicycle.

Today is the 19th of April. It is Bicycle day. Today it is 71 years ago (1943) that Albert Hofmann first took his first intentional LSD trip to try to determine the effects of the peculiar substance that he had synthesized, while looking for a migraine cure. He took 250 micrograms, which he thought would be a threshold dose. It turned out that LSD was really potent. A threshold dose is approximately 20 micrograms. 250 micrograms is a powerful trip and feeling uneasy Hofmann early on decided to go home. Due to war time restrictions he took his bike and it was under that bike trip that the LSD really came to full effect.

Thank you, Albert Hofmann, for this truly miraculous substance. Thank you LSD for saving my life. In honour of you I have named my son Albert. I am forever grateful.

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