Drug War Footnotes


[1] Pat Cadigan, Synners (NY: Bantam, 1991) 214.

[2] Jacques Derrida, "Plato's Pharmacy," Disseminations trans. Barbara Johnson (Chicago: U Chicago, 1981) 70.

[3] Jürgen Habermas, "The Critique of Reason as an Unmasking of the Human Sciences: Michel Foucault," The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures trans. Frederick G. Lawrence (Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1987) 251.

[4] Nietzsche defined truth as "a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms -- in short, a sum of human relations, which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are," Friedrich Nietzsche, "On Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense," excerpted in Walter Kaufmann, ed., The Portable Nietzsche (NY: Penguin, 1982) 46-7.

[5] See, for example, Jürgen Habermas, "The Entry Into Postmodernity: Nietzsche as a Turning Point," The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity 83-105; Cornel West, "Nietzsche's Prefiguration of Postmodern American Philosophy," boundary 2 9:3/10:1 (Spring/Fall 1981) 241-269; and Paul De Man, "Genesis and Genealogy in Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy," Allegories of Reading (New Haven: Yale, 1979) 79-102.

[6] Nietzsche, On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, trans. Peter Preuss (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1980) 24-5. Nietzsce's attack on "history" is prefigured by the Young Hegelian Max Stirner's attack on reason. Stirner argued that the ideal of "reason" is less real than any individual's standards for reason: "According to the liberal way of thinking, right is to be obligatory for me because it is thus established by human reason, against which my reason is 'unreason.' Formerly people inveighed in the name of divine reason against weak human reason; now, in the name of strong human reason, against egoistic reason, which is rejected as 'unreason.' And yet none is real but this very 'unreason.' Neither divine nor human reason, but only your and my reason existing at any given time, is real, as and because you and I are real," The Ego and His Own, trans. Steven T. Byington, ed. John Carroll (NY: Harper, 1971) 137.

[7] Michel Foucault, "The Body of the Condemned," from Discipline and Punish, trans. Alan Sheridan, excerpted in Paul Rabinow, ed., The Foucault Reader (NY: Pantheon, 1984) 175. Gilles Deleuze opposes this argument to the idea of objective knowledge rather directly: "This shows up the error, even hypocrisy, that consists in thinking that knowledge appears only wherever the relations between forces are suspended. There is no model of truth that does not refer back to a kind of power, and no knowledge or science that does not express or imply, in an act, power that is being exerted," Foucault, ed. and trans. Seán Hand (Minneapolis: U Minn, 1988) 39.

[8] "Nietzsche, Genealogy, History," trans. Donald F. Bouchard and Sherry Simon, in Bouchard, ed., Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews (Ithaca: Cornell, 1977) 151. Further references cited in the text as "NGH."

[9] "Nomad Thought," trans. David B. Allison, in Allison, ed., The New Nietzsche: Contemporary Styles of Interpretation (Cambridge: MIT, 1990) 149.

[10] Paul A. Bové, "Mendacious Innocents, or, The Modern Genealogist as Conscientious Intellectual: Nietzsche, Foucault, Said," boundary 2 9:3/10:1 (Spring/Fall 1981) 367.

[11] Derrida, 105.

[12] Gilles Deleuze explains in this context that the simulacrum, rather than being seen as a "copy," as might be said of the simulacrum of writing (that it is a copy of speech), should be seen in its positivity, as a material force. In this sense, the metaphysicality of "drugs" as a discursive entity should not detract from their material influence on human affairs; Deleuze writes, "If we say of the simulacrum that it is a copy of a copy, an infinitely degraded icon, we then miss the essential, that is, the difference in nature between the simulacrum and copy, or the aspect by which they form the two halves of a single division. The copy is an image endowed with resemblance, the simulacrum is an image without resemblance," Logic of Sense trans. Mark Lester (NY: Columbia, 1990) 257.

[13] It is not within the scope of this argument to enter into the complex theoretical terrain surrounding the concept of individual agency, but I should spell out certain assumptions lest my focus on individual choices resound with implications of the unified transcendental subject of liberal humanism and Enlightenment rationalism that has been discredited throughout the latter history of western philosophy; see, for example, Georges Bataille: "A man is only a particle inserted in unstable and entangled wholes. These wholes are composed in personal life in the form of multiple possibilities, starting with a knowledge that is crossed like a threshold -- and the existence of the particle can in no way be isolated from this composition, which agitates it in the midst of a whirlwind of ephemerids. This extreme instability of connections alone permits one to introduce, as a puerile but convenient illusion, a representation of isolated existence turning in on itself," "The Labyrinth," trans. Allan Stoekl, Carl Lovitt, and Donald M. Leslie, Jr., Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939 ed. Allan Stoekl (Minneapolis: U Minn, 1985) 174.

For the purposes of this argument, I do not wish to deny this decentering, but rather to emphasize that its consequences are not necessarily the death of any notion of individual choice. Rather, its consequences should be a recognition that all choices are overdetermined by a host of different factors both institutional and ideological. Thus, I do not wish to pretend that an inner city youth facing poverty, violence and racism is somehow "free" to choose to deal crack on the corner rather than to become a stockbroker. That subject's choices are constrained by his/her position in various structurations. But the structurations themselves are provisional, established through an active mobilization of discourse on the part of other individual subjects, who are making choices no less overdetermined (although certainly more powerful). Discursive formations do not remain static over time, and it will be my contention below that the magnitude of the current drug crisis is in part a result of the ways in which this discursive formation has been mobilized by powerful institutions.

Secondly, I do not wish to elevate the intentional modification of bodily chemistry to the status of a "right" in the liberal sense of the term. The issue of an individual's "right" to behave in any manner has no materiality unless the issue is mobilized in connection with a particular discursive formation. One does not have the right to speak freely; one simply speaks freely or one does not. Establishing a right to do what one pleases does not guarantee that one will not be prevented from doing so. Rights have legal meanings within legal institutions; one exercises a right only in the context of such settings as the courtroom. But even if the courts did not establish a legal "right" to drive 65 MPH on the highway, people would still do so. Max Stirner argues, "If you take the enjoyment, it is your right; if, on the contrary, you only pine for it without laying hands on it, it remains as before, a 'well-earned right' of those who are priveleged for enjoying it. It is their right, as by laying hands on it would become your right," The Ego and His Own, 128.

[14] See above, note 4.

[15] Besides "a dissociative zombielike effect" and "a profound loss of identity," the use of these substances is associated with Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, which can lead to permanent brain damage or death. Furthermore, psychiatrists often counteract the sedative effects of these drugs with amphetamines, while patients will ingest huge amounts of caffeine and nicotine to counteract this sluggishness. Philip E. Wolfson, "Meetings at the Edge With Adam: A Man for All Seasons?" Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 18:4 (Oct-Dec 1986) 333. The hypocrisy surrounding forced treatment with antipsychotic agents has been colorfully described by psychiatrist Thomas Szasz: "Americans can now claim the distinction of spending billions of dollars on armed personell of all kinds to ferret out, harass, imprison, and kill those engaged in providing drugs desired by the American consumer; and billions more on physicians and their paramedical stooges -- armed with powers provided by the State and with drugs provided by pharmaceutical companies -- to chemically control and subdue those who rebel against the prevailing chemical mores," Nova LR ii (1986) 918.

[16] Thomas Szasz, "Why the War on Drugs is Unstoppable," Nova Law Review 11 (1987) 915.

[17] Naked Lunch (NY: Grove, 1959) xlv.

[18] I am not simply being flip here; the addiction to television is a very real addiction and just as much a psychological problem as addiction to cocaine. There is little doubt that television is addicting; moreover, there is also little doubt that its power lies in its ability to transform the consciousness of the "user." Sports is a similar addiction, with the added power of transforming not only the user's consciousness but also his/her chemical balance -- everyone has heard serious runners proclaim the wonders of the adrenaline "rush" that accompanies a particularly energetic workout. Additionally, the intense marketing of the current physical fitness craze has begun to ensure that some "addicts" will probably spend as much money on their habits as some cocaine addicts spend on theirs.

[19] Michael Calvin McGee, "The 'Ideograph': A Link Between Rhetoric and Ideology," Quarterly Journal of Speech 66 (February 1980) 1-16.

[20] "Metaphor and Social Antagonism," in Cary Nelson and Larry Grossberg, eds., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Urbana: U Ill, 1988) 254.

[21] These figures come from a Government Accounting Office study, as reported in Gerald F. Uelmen and Victor G. Haddox, Drug Abuse and the Law Sourcebook (New York: Clark Boardman, 1990) 1-26.

[22] With help, of course, from the ideological apparati of civil society. While Antonio Gramsci and Louis Althusser have usefully separated these concepts for analysis, it is important to point out that they always work together. The purpose of the repressive state apparati of political society (legislative bodies, courts, police, army, etc.) is to enfoce the norms of behavior encouraged by the ideological state apparati of civil society (schools, churches, media, etc.) The difference between Gramsci's and Althusser's distinctions is that Althusser focuses on the structures and institutions (apparati) whereas Gramsci focuses on the codes of behavior and philosophies of those institutions (societies). See Antonio Gramsci, "The Intelectuals," ed. and trans. Quinton Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci (NY: International, 1971) 3-23, "State and Civil Society," 206-276; and Louis Althusser, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses," trans. Ben Brewster, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (NY: Monthly Review, 1971).

[23] The Drug Enforcement Agency, created in 1973, is responsible for the enforcement of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which classifies drugs in Schedule I when the substance in question has "no accepted medical uses" and is demonstrated to be harmful. (Public Law 91-513)

[24] Rudolph Schmitz, "Friedrich Wilhelm Sertürner and the Discovery of Morphine," Pharmacy in History 27 (1985) 61-74.

[25] David T. Courtwright, Dark Paradise: Opiate Addiction in America Before 1940 (Cambridge: Harvard, 1982) 9-34.

[26] John Witherspoon, "Oration on Medicine: A Protest Against Some of the Evils in the Profession of Medicine," Journal of the American Medical Association 34 (1900) 1591. See also T. D. Crothers, "New Phase of Criminal Morphinomania," Journal of Inebriety 21 (1899) 41-51.

[27] US 60th Congress, Public Law 221. "An act to prohibit the importation and use of opium for other than medicinal purposes."

[28] Hamilton Wright, "Report on the International Opium Commission and on the Opium Problem as Seen within the United States and Its Possessions," Opium Problem: Message From the President of the United States, Senate Document 377, 61st Cong. 2nd Sess. (21 February 1910) 45.

29 Thomas Szasz, "The Protocols of the Learned Experts on Heroin," Libertarian Review (July 1981) 297.

30 New York Times (18 February 1984) A8.

31 Syracuse Herald Journal (1 May 1984) A2.

[32] "Marihuana Intoxication," American Journal of Psychiatry 91 (1934) 303-30, cited in Musto, The American Disease 220.

33 William S. Burroughs, The Soft Machine, Nova Express, The Wild Boys: Three Novels (NY: Grove, 1980) 187-8.

34 B. J. Albaugh and P. O. Anderson, "Peyote in the Treatment of Alcoholism Among American Indians," American Journal of Psychiatry 131 (1974) 1247.

35 International Herald Tribune (20-21 December 1975) 3.

[36] Sigmund Freud, "Über Coca," St. Louis Med. Surg. Journal 47 (1884) 502-5. This paper and Freud's other two cocaine studies are translated and published in S. A. Edminster, et. al, The Cocaine Papers (Vienna: Dunquin, 1963). See also Siegfried Bernfeld, "Freud's Studies on Cocaine, 1884-1887," Yearbook of Psychoanalysis 10 (1954-55) 9-38.

[37] Journal of the American Medical Association 34 (June 1900) 1637.

[38] Literary Digest (28 March 1914) 687.

[39] The American Disease: Origins of Narcotic Control (New Haven: Yale, 1973) 7.

40 The hysteria over drug use in the workplace should be compared to a 1977 Labor Department statement directing employers with federal contracts to "take 'affirmative action' to hire alcoholics and drug abusers ... Alcoholics and drug abusers are covered by the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, which protects 'handicapped people' against job discrimination," International Herald Tribune (7 June 1977) 4.

41 "The Crack Attack: Politics and Media in America's Latest Drug Scare," in Joel Best, ed., Images of Issues: Typifying Contemporary Social Problems (NY: Aldine de Gruyter, 1989) 130.

[42] H. F. Hardman, et al., "Relationship of the Structure of Mescaline and Seven Analogs to Toxicity and Behavior in Five Species of Laboratory Animals," Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 25 (1973) 299-309.

[43] W. M. Davis and R. F. Borne, "Pharmacological Investigation of Compounds Related to 3,4 Methylenedioxy-amphetamine," Substance Alcohol Action/Misuse 5 (1984) 105-110.

[44] Stephen J. Peroutka, "Recreational Use of MDMA," in Peroutka, ed., Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological, and Neurotoxicological Effects of the Drug MDMA (Boston: Kluwer, 1990) 53.

[45] G. A. Ricaurte, et al., "Hallucinogenic Amphetamine Selectively Destroys Brain Serotonin Nerve Terminals," Science 229 (1985) 986-8.

[46] "The Scheduling of MDMA: A Pharmacist's Perspective," J Psychoactive Drugs 17:3 (1985) 168.

47 "MDMA: The Dark Side of Ecstasy," Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 18:4 (1986) 341-7.

[48] Reported by Alexander Shulgin, "The Background and Chemistry of MDMA," Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 18:4 (1986) 302.

[49] G. P. Dowling, et al., "'Eve' and 'Ecstasy': A Report of Five Deaths Associated with the Use of MDEA and MDMA," Journal of the American Medical Association 257 (1987) 1615-7.

This text © Ben Attias
Modified by: Ben Attias
Institution: California State University, Northridge
Modification Date: Thursday, December 21, 1995
Modification Time: 1:12 AM
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