Drug War

How to Tell When the Latest Drug Scare Story Is Just the Usual BS

Five hallmarks of anti-drug hysteria



Have you heard about wacko? Wacko is a highly addictive drug that is sweeping the country, leaving broken lives and dead bodies in its wake. People under the influence of wacko experience delusions and hallucinations that drive them to hurt themselves or commit bizarre crimes. They are irrationally violent and exhibit superhuman strength; it takes several men to restrain them. Wacko is different from every drug you have heard of but also strangely familiar.

Wacko, of course, does not really exist. But neither do the drugs described in breathless reports about the latest chemical menace. To be more precise, the substances may exist, but they do not have the terrifying characteristics ascribed to them by drug warriors and their accomplices in the press. Here are some clues that can help you distinguish between careful reporting and anti-drug hysteria.

Read the whole thing at Playboy.

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  1. Similar properties have been ascribed to PCP (which supposedly gave Rodney King “Hulk-like strength,” even though he had not taken it) and cathinones, whose users are so powerful that restraining them requires anywhere from four to nine men.

    King was a terminator? It all makes sense now. “Come with me if you want to get along.”

  2. One of the most pernicious lies about drugs is the idea that marijuana is now “more harmful” than it was in the 60’s. I get soooooo tired of hearing about this primarily because yes, the strains are definitely stronger due to better growing techniques as well as more direct THC delivery systems (vapes, wax, etc.) and yet Marijuana STILL has absolutely ZERO cases of overdose.

    One would think they would just give up on weed at this point. It’s stronger and more readily accessible than ever yet the demon weed fails to bring on the societal ills predicted to occur.

    1. Now you only have to take a hit or two to get the same high as a whole joint. I would think that’s a good thing. Less smoke to inhale.

    2. And the very worst thing that happens as a result of smoking too much strong weed is a panic attack. And people for whom that is a result don’t usually become heavy users. They are desperate.

      I’m sort of amazed that American drug warriors haven’t pushed the “potent weed causes psychosis” thing that they are all into in the UK.

      1. And the very worst thing that happens as a result of smoking too much strong weed is a panic attack.

        Or, you put a frozen pizza in the oven and fall asleep- and wake up to ashes.

  3. I expected to be reading the articles of Playboy via Reason after the Libertarian Moment had happened, not during.

  4. In a 1914 New York Times article headlined “Negro ‘Cocaine’ Fiends Are a New Southern Menace…”

    The headline actually had the word fiends in scare quotes, not the word cocaine. It makes it better.

    1. Is there a place to get an old copy online? That article sounds hilarious.

      1. Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to “Sniffing” Since Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition


        1. My favorite old-timey NYT article is the one about how you can’t tell Chinamen apart. I’m amazed this sort of thing doesn’t go down the memory hole.

          1. I was recently at the Border Patrol museum in El Paso. They had old guidebooks on how to spot a Chinaman with lists of Chinese surnames. When the BP was founded their mission was to enforce the Chinese Exclusion Act. Mexicans could legally come and go as they pleased so the Yellow Peril mingled amongst them, sneaking in in serape and sombrero.

  5. Don’t call me Shirley.

  6. Wacko, of course, does not really exist.

    [calls underground chemist friend, files tradename applications]

  7. Way to NSFW it,

  8. Excellent, now I can actually go there for the articles.

  9. If you want a “natural” high, score some Environmentalist Wacko.

  10. Apparently the drug warriors have decided that the only problem with Reefer Madness is that it wasn’t sufficiently over-the-top.

  11. Yet studies of actual LSD users found they were no crazier than abstainers, and maybe a little saner.


    1. “A little bit saner now, a little bit saner now, ….”

  12. I don’t care what you guys say – jenkem is totally real.

    1. Only if you butt-chug it.

  13. Is that Leslie Nielsen’s younger brother?

  14. “How to tell when the latest Drug Scare is just the usual BS.”

    It is. End of Story.

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