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Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs [Paperback]

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Item description for Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs by Preston Peet...

In the latest in the oversize Disinformation Guide series of anthologies, editor Preston Peet assembles an all-star cast to lay to rest the specious misinformation peddled by prohibitionists who depend upon the "War on some drugs and users" for their livelihood and power.

Drug users and abusers describe their feelings and fears for freedom, not only for themselves but for all their fellow citizens in the United States and the rest of the world, detailing the Constitution-shredding War on some drugs and users.

Despite the antidrug hysteria promoted by prohibitionists, drugs have been an inseparable aspect of life for thousands of years-curing disease, calming stress, easing pain, enhancing intelligence, opening the doors of perception and altering consciousness. So why is the "War on some drugs and users" underway? The answers can be found in Under the Influence.

Decades of spending trillions of dollars while waging war on neighbors, friends and families have done nothing to eradicate drug use and abuse, but it has succeeded in overthrowing governments, tearing apart families and communities, and ensured the rise of international criminal cartels. Under the Influence explains how we came to this state of affairs and how we can bring about real reform.

Bestselling writers, professional researchers, degenerate drug users and just plain folk offer fact-based alternatives to the propaganda of prohibitionist anti-drug warriors. Contributors include Tom Robbins, Paul Krassner, Rick Doblin, Mike Gray, Lonny Shavelson, Daniel Forbes, Steve Wishnia, Cynthia Cotts, Russ Kick, Dr. Stanislav Grof, Daniel Pinchbeck, Paul Armentano, Jacob Sullum, Peter Dale Scott and Robert Anton Wilson.

Preston Peet is a writer, editor, photographer, musician, actor, DJ, activist and adventurer. A regular contributor to High Times magazine and website, the editor of the controversial website, and a columnist for the New York Waste, he lives in Manhattan with his other half and 10 rescued cats.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   360
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 10.63" Width: 8.43" Height: 0.94"
Weight:   2.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2004
Publisher   The Disinformation Company
ISBN  1932857001  
ISBN13  9781932857009  

Availability  0 units.

More About Preston Peet

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! The editor of "Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs", Preston Peet is a writer, editor, photographer, musician, actor, DJ, activist, and adventurer. A regular contributor to "High Times" magazine and its website, the editor of the controversial website "", and a columnist for "New York Waste", he has published in a variety of publications both in print and online.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Americas > United States > 20th Century > General
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Current Events > Poverty > Social Services & Welfare
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Popular Culture
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Under The Influence: The Disinformation Guide to Drugs?

Just Say Know  Jan 31, 2005
Anyone who can put aside the preconceived notions of mainstream political discourse can see that the "war on drugs" is a hypocritical, expensive, heavy-handed, and nonsensical failure. The drug war is not about public health but about social control, and this book from Disinformation collects far-flung thought and knowledge on such matters. For example, small-time recreational users of comparatively harmless cannabis (which has never killed a single person) get excessive jail time, while the producers of the more addictive and hazardous tobacco (which kills hundreds of thousands of people) enjoy life in the corporate and political mainstream. Naturally occurring opiates are the subjects of multi-billion dollar wars and police state tactics, while corporate-controlled products like Ritalin, which is designed specifically to chemically alter the brains of children, are promoted by the establishment. Completely prohibited illicit substances are easier to obtain than lightly regulated alcohol. With a little independent thought, one can see that the drug war is about suppressing dissent from certain non-mainstream populations and perpetuating the prison-military-industrial complex, under simplistic sloganeering about health and crime.

Like all of the compendiums from Disinfo (I have reviewed three of the previous volumes here), the essays herein are of widely disparate quality, from hard-hitting investigative reports to whiny conspiracy theories. This particular book also has the added disadvantage of extreme repetition. While the various authors approach the concept through different specific events or issues, almost all of them repeat, ad nauseam, the basic counter-cultural thoughts on the drug war's problems, which I just did far more efficiently in the last paragraph. This adds up to 300 pages (which is effectively 600 pages given the book's large physical size and small typeface) of different authors preaching to the choir. That makes the reading of this book quite tiresome.

As for the particular essays, the subject matter can be fascinating and effective, and I can say that the entries by various authors and thinkers in the "Reform and Politics" and "For Medicinal Use" sections, and a fair amount of the essays in the rest of the book, are strongly researched with compellingly realistic observations and recommendations. However, that old lack of editorial control by the Disinfo folks has also resulted in a damaging number of clunkers, like the pointless and sensationalistic conspiracy theories of Dan Russell (law enforcement as treason) and Catherine Austin Fitts (narcodollars pervading every aspect of the world economy), and multiple writers who fail to make a convincing argument through legal and constitutional precedents for the "cognitive liberty" concept. The Disinfo philosophy is to keep an open mind when exploring controversial subjects, and that works reasonably well here, but having an open mind is a double-edged sword. With an open mind you'll also see that this book, through repetition, inflammatory language, and conspiracy theorizing, tends to sink the strong arguments of its more levelheaded contributors, who deserve to be surrounded by better material. [~doomsdayre520~]
Raise Consciousness, Not Weapons  Dec 8, 2004
I first tried LSD many years ago when I was relatively very young. I have always found it near impossible to describe the mystical-religious experience that ensued. It was the most spiritual and religious, in the most impersonal, non-Christian sense of those terms, I have ever known. For one split second during the trip there was a seeing, feeling and being of oneness with the Universe, all light, wisdom and bliss. It was beyond words, which are already shadows of the realities they represent. Words are by their very nature full of dualities: subject, object; speaker, spoken to. Reality also: light, dark, positive, negative, yin, yang. That experience was not a hallucination. The LSD was a tool that helped me to expand my consciousness to the transcendental reality; and if not the only such tool, the best one. And that experience taught me that everyday reality and consciousness is the real illusion, but at the same time points at and infers this higher reality. All is paradox, and maya.

I always considered my drug use to be a search to enhance and expand consciousness, not smother and sedate it. Marijuana, LSD, MDA, MDMA (Ecstasy) were my drugs of choice for just this reason: an attempt, to a certain degree an achievement, but also of abject failure, to recreate that singular experience - sort of a bar mitzvah for a goy. Rather than an institutional and cultural framework of support for such a breathtaking discovery, there was the most mendacious dissembling around the issue of (some) drugs. Other than a few close friends, I was groping alone in the dark.

True religious freedom to me would be an exploring and attempt at recreating these kinds of states of consciousness; understanding the potentialities and limitations of integrating them into everyday life; freedom to create some kind of cultural and institutional framework to give them legitimacy as religious ritual. But there is no religious freedom in America. The word "religion" in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution might just as well be replaced by the word "Christianity," with all its ridiculous nonsense, making exceptions for honorable Christians.

Because several of the writers in Under the Influence examine seriously this religious/mystical aspect of the drug policy issue, their call for reform takes on a much more urgent dimension. "Drug prohibition is really," writes Richard Glen Boire, who holds a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from UC Berkeley, "a war on consciousness itself - how much, what sort we are permitted to experience, and who gets to control it. More than an unintentional misnomer, the government-termed `war on drugs' is a strategic decoy label; a sleight-of-hand move by the government to redirect attention away from what lies at ground zero of the war - each individual's fundamental right to control his or her own consciousness."

Why are entheogenically-induced states of consciousness prohibited while those prompted by the constant advertisements and come-ons to buy consumer crap, vacuous television-watching, endlessly grinding it out on a soul-destroying job, and a permanent wartime economy, to take just several egregious examples of a culture bankrupt through and through, considered acceptable? This book explains it is because the powerful and privileged are afraid of the alternate realites these substances can show us.

Boire adds significantly: "Those who have never experienced the mental states that are now prohibitied do not realize what the laws are denying them." Mary Jane Borden calls opposition to drug prohibition part of the "age-old fight against bigotry." She maintains that the struggle against "chemical bigotry" is part and parcel of the perennial struggles against the bigotries of racism, sexism, colonialism, and imperialism, and for democratic rights.

Dr. Stanislav Grof's interview with Albert Hofmann, the accidental discoverer in 1943 of LSD's singularly potent properties, is fascinating. Hofmann was a chemist at Sandoz Laboratories in Germany innocuously attempting to derive a drug analogue useful in obstetrics from alkaloids of ergot, a fungus that grows on rye bread. While conducting chemical synthesis experiments, he unknowingly and accidentally ingested a tiny amount of one of these analogues through the pores of his skin. He had a powerful and bewildering response. Hofmann relates the work this led him to be interested in in other cultures with similar substances like the magic mushroom of the Mazatec Indians in Mexico, ololiuqui, a derivative of morning glory seeds, and salvia divinorum. Other essays look at the Native American Church, whose rite of religious use of ceremonial peyote has been upheld by the Supreme Court, and ayahuasca, a vine that contains DMT, which has been used in this siteia to induce religious visions for thousands of years.

Initially Dr. Hofmann considered LSD to be his wonder child. He deeply laments it becoming a problem child with its rise as a drug of abuse in the early 1960s that put an immediate surcease into any further research into its psychotherapeutic applications, which until that time had been quite substantial. The pendulum is swinging arduously back the other way and there is again halting but significant steps being made in this direction. They face constant official resistance. Rick Doblin, founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, glimpses into the slight thawing of policy respecting the potential of psychedelics in psychotherapy, and examines the issue of medical marijuana. Several other essays also examine this latter topic.

This book, like the drug-policy reform movement itself however, is in the great bulk on the defensive. Even discarding the blasphemous idea that certain illegal drugs are in actuality a great boon to humanity if only it could see it, the many negative arguments alone against prohibition as ineffective and counterproductive ought to prevail and prompt radical change. A whole section of the book analyzes this aspect of the issue. Cigarettes kill 430,000 Americans every year, alcohol tens of thousands more, but they are sanctioned, even heavily advertised. Marijuana, which has never been blamed for a single fatality, is outlawed. Many so-called drug crimes are actually drug law-related. Drug prohibition artificially and exponentially inflates the price of drugs. It is the mountains of money to be reaped dealing drugs, the battles for turf and the like, rather than drugs per se and the states of mind they engender, which prompt so much violence. It is also this that encourages a never-ending flow of dealers willing to risk the huge profits of the illicit trade. Several writers note that illicit drug trade is part and parcel of every modern day military enterprise, including those of the United States. Legalization, medicalization would itself reduce armed insurgencies around the world. If drugs were legalized no individuals would sell them for there would be no profit. Users wouldn't have to commit crimes to obtain them.

This book contains too many reasons for drug legalization and medicalization to list. Its reminding me of the almost lost knowledge of that split second in eternity all those years ago renewed my hope momentarily that life could be something other than just the wartorn battlefield it is.
Wide Ranging and Informative.  Nov 22, 2004
I found this book to be surprising when I first opened it. I had been waiting for its release, having heard that Preston Peet was looking for people with a history and/or knowledge of what Prohibition and "The War On Drugs" is all about.

I suppose, for some reason, I was expecting a rehash of the statistics that all add up to show what a dismal failure the War On Drugs really is; stats which are contained and which most certainly do show. But what surprised me most I guess, was the amount of personal experience contained within the pages. There are any number of glimpses and personal insights into "The War" and into the lives led by the contributors during these oppressive decades. There are numerous personal anecdotes; some quite chilling, many of them humorous, all of them thought provoking. These are told by people of whom many of us will have already heard.

But there is also good representation from people on the periphery, or at least persons not normally associated with righting the wrong that we know of by it's more formal name-----The War on Drugs; perhaps the greatest hoax of the 20th century, something that the contributors to this book make quite clear.

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