Paper Angels

Written by Alexander Greco

It was just before sunset on a Thursday, I’ll never forget. The sky billowed with dense, dark clouds painted a pale yellow at their bellies, and the sunlight just began peeking its beams at us from the distance edge of the mounting storm. The water was a crashing, frothing wine-bottle-glass green, churning and careening endlessly. That water, the corridors of the ship, the communications from hundreds of miles away: these had been the entirety of our lives—the entirety or our reality—since we left port.

We’d been at sea for over a month before we saw any violence, but when violence came, it came in storms. It always came in storms.

The main threat were the Zyrian’s fleets of Mothships, but they and their allies—the Al’Yrer and the Malodrites—were equipped with a tremendous arsenal of aquatic vehicles, instruments of war and aetheric attack options.

News came from all around us of featherswarm bombings, Dynessian hypercannon attacks, Bloolvalian-class submarines, and the Malodrites’ dreaded Fromawkaean Railguns. More minds had been lost than lives—insanity now ran rampant at sea (possibly the worst attack the Zyrians and their allies could’ve made on us)—but at least a dozen ships had been sunk since our fleets had been dispersed to aid the Vallians.

We’d stayed away from the worst of it. A few times, we’d spotted Mothships on the horizon, or our oracles had sensed Bloolvalian subs within a couple miles or so of us, but we’d effectively danced our way far from conflict. Why?

Special cargo, our captain had told us. We were carrying some sort of classified weaponry, or so they told us. No one had any word of what it was, what it did or what our purpose for carrying it was. We were only told we had something on board that wasn’t supposed to be talked about, wasn’t supposed to be known and wasn’t supposed to be used.

Of course, we talked about it. Speculated. But, of course, no one knew what it was, and, of course, it had never been used. It hadn’t been used.

They hadn’t been used.

It was just before sunset on a Thursday.

We spotted a Mothship off the starboard bow of the ship, sailing against the light of the oncoming sunset—something almost like a grey, feathery cocoon in the shape of a crystal.

Our ship’s hull was made of inches-thick steel. We had cannons. We had artillery. We had an arsenal for two times the number of sailors on board. There were eight Elvish spellswords from Glondolia. There were twelve Orcish mercenaries from the Wildlands. There were thirty-six Dwarven riflemen from the Shurkurkian Highlands.

Nearly the entirety of the Mothship’s exterior was paper thin.

Still.

A single Mothship struck fear in the heart of every sailor aboard that ship.

I was standing with a cluster of sailors and mercs at the rail of the ship, about eight yards from the captain and his upper brass. From behind us, someone yelled, “CAPTAIN!”

We all turned to look. It was one of the oracles. They pointed North off the port bow, out toward the darkening horizon of the cloudy veil.

ANOTHER ONE!” they yelled.

We all turned and looked.

No, TWO,” the man yelled, “THERE’S TWO OUT THERE!”

And sure enough, as the oracles always were, they were right.

A woman, another one of the oracles, yelled from the opposite side of the ship, “THERE’S THREE OVER HERE CAPTAIN!”

CAPTAIN!” came from a distant voice at the far end of the ship.

A man came running forward toward us all.

CAPTAIN! JURRIS SPOTTED ANOTHER MOTHSHIP BEHIND US! SAYS THERE’S FOUR OTHERS SOMEWHERE IN THE DARK!”

Even from yards away, I could hear Captain Fallis curse under his breath, with his second in command—a young gnomish lad named Carvawnkle—asking, “Captain, are they circling us? Do they know we’re here? Have they spotted us?”

“I have no doubt they know we’re here,” Fallis spoke, then, raising his voice to his famous roar, began belting out orders to all around.

Carvawnkle and the other brass began relaying orders, taking command of this group, waking up that group, collecting all the mercs and riflemen and spellswords.

That’s when the Mothships began flashing with brief spats of distant light, and burning stars tore across the sky all around us.

I’ll never forget. It always came in storms.1

I was running to my station at one of the cannons when blinding flash of light sailed in front of me. I could feel its heat like for a single fraction of a second like I’d tripped into a funeral pyre and yanked back from it before I could catch on fire.

I hit the deck, covering my face with my arms, and curling up into a fetal position, but it was just a gut reaction more than anything useful—dodging the Mothships’ Frall Cannons was like trying to dodge lightning. I heard the Captain shouting before I looked up again, “WHY AREN’T THE SPELLSWORDS RAISING THE WARDS? RAISE THE FRACKING WARDS! NOW!”

When I did look up, I could barely see. Blurry colors and streaks filled my vision—and the physical things I could see were as dark as if this was night.

In the long seconds it took my eyes to readjust, I could first make out a molten hole in the deck of the ship several yards ahead of me, then three other sailors and an Orcish merc curled up on the metal, slowly uncovering their eyes, and anxiously looking around them. Then I saw the two lifeless bodies with seared, blackened holes—one through the chest, the other through an abdomen—torn through them, each a half-foot in diameter.

More stars sailed through the air at us, most missing, but enough hitting their mark.

I stood up, heart pounding, and ran across the deck, crouched over. Behind me, Captain still screaming at the Elves, “GET THE FUCKING WARDS UP!”

Then Carvawnkle yelling, “CAPTAIN! SWARMS APPROACHING!”

Those who heard this screamed out like ripple, “SWARMS! SWARMS!”, then put on gasmasks if they had them, or, as I did, hit the deck, put our fingers over our eyes, took one last breath before mentally preparing ourselves for screaming, oxygen-deprived lungs, then smashed the sides of our hands into our nostrils and over our lips.

I could hear the screams of the unlucky and unprepared before I felt the clouds of clawing, cloying, scratching, digging, feathery insects envelop my head as they’d likely enveloped everyone’s head in the open air at this point.

They tried to dig their way under my palms and fingers and into my ears and eyes and mouth and nose, but I just clamped my hands tighter over my head. With the absolute terror, with the sound of stars burning through the sky, with the pounding in my chest, the screaming in my head, the oxygen in my lungs didn’t last long before my chest began to burn.

But though I could barely hear through my hands and through the fluttering, flaking, scratching sounds of the swarms of moths, a single sound became overwhelmingly noticeable—the silence of the ocean. The wards had been put up. It was only a matter of time now—hopefully no more than a few minutes.

I heard them walking across the deck—the sprayers, or whichever sailors left alive had gotten to the suits first. “Keep holding!” they yelled through the muffling of their facemasks.

Do not breathe until the all clear!” they shouted.

One passed by me, and I felt my body sprayed in a dense mist of foul-smelling chemicals—nothing toxic to humans, but nauseating when breathed in.

Do not breathe until the all clear!” they repeated over and over again. “Do not breathe until the all clear!”

And within seconds of being doused in the spray, the moths covering my body writhed their tiny death throes until their bodies either fell to the deck, or piled on my body like a massacre of disintegrating tissue.

Do not breathe!” they repeated. “Hold!” they continued. “Hold!”

And then, they were silent for several agonizing seconds, until the sprayers all began shouting. “Okay! All clear! Acquire personal gas masks immediately!”

I did as they said. I didn’t want to have to go through that again anyway, and who knew how long the wards would last.2

Everyone began scrambling across the deck.

Some men and women were still screaming—whether from wounds from the stars, or from the insanity inflicted on them by the moths.

Nonetheless, it was all chaos.

Nonetheless, all was a storm.

Nonetheless, violence had found us.

On my way back to the bridge, back to the entrance below deck, I passed by Captain Fallis and Carvawnkle, and overheard Carvawnkle say, “Captain, we can’t we can’t let the enemy know we—”

“If they’ve surrounded one ship with this many Mothships, I find it unlikely they don’t. Go get—”

And then I was below deck. And I didn’t think about it. I didn’t stop to ask questions. I rushed to the nearest munitions room to grab a gas mask. When I’d acquired it, I ran upstairs to my battle post—the center artillery cannon.

I stood in the glass dome just below the rotating cannon, and peered out across the ocean. That’s when I realized they were no longer shooting stars at us. That’s when I saw the Zaeivlow carving through the ocean.

Seven of them—just from my small field of view. Seven biomechanical horrors—huge sharklike monstrosities that spun and swirled and screamed and belched black smoke fumes. Their bodies were small whirlwinds of razors and metallic teeth and gnashing machineries, with hollow whirlpools of chainsaws where mouths would be.

Seven, and likely a dozen more if they were distributed in all directions like they were in the one area I could see.

My heart dropped at the sight of this. Dread filled my core and hollowed me out. At this number, they would tear through the war like a storm of butcher knives being hurled at a tent of wax paper. This was the end. I was sure of it.

But, we still had time to aim the cannons. Still had time to fight back. Still had time to go down swinging.

All stations, hold your fire,” was called through the intercoms. “I repeat, all stations ceasefire, now.”

And the entire ship stood still.

I turned and looked at my commanding officer, shouted through the gas mask, “Are they insane!?”

Then someone inside the room shouted, “Look! Look out there! Over the water!”

And we all turned. Out there, outside the boundaries of the wards, five spheres of some sort of material—canvas or sheets or… Something—was unfolding itself midair. These spheres unfolded themselves… Until…3

They grew larger and larger… Taking on strange and larger and larger shapes—impossibly large for their original size, almost as if they were unfolding from some pocket universe, until…

They unfolded into five tremendously tall… people, or at least the shapes of people—five giant shapes of featureless humanoid figures, all made from some kind of canvas—but the figures played tricks on your mind, as they moved while floating in the air as three-dimensional figures would, but they looked like flat sheets of paper against the shapes and the forms of the ocean.

Were these the secret weapons?

My jaw had already dropped at this sight—dumbfounded both by the order to hold fire, and by these things’ sudden appearance—and, had we not all been wearing gas masks, I was sure I would see several other bewildered faces. Down below, sailors were rushing back out onto the deck to watch what was happening. As soon as my commanding officer began rushing out the domed room to the stairs to join the sailors on deck, I joined with them.

We all stood there—still basking in the silence the wards offered us—and watched these five nonsensical figures stand against the twilight oceans (stand facing the enemy).

I don’t know why or what made me think this, but some gut feeling told me I was standing in the presence of gods, or at least of some entities that existed in a higher state of being than us mortals. Something about them seemed… Despite all I’d ever seen, despite all I’d ever heard about, despite all I knew, something about these things seemed impossible. Not even otherworldly, other… Just other. Outside the scope of things, outside the scope of being, but—

But the Zaeivlow! The Zaeivlow approached! What could these things do to—

The five figures, their massive, paper-like frames hovered in a semi-circle around the front half of the ship, each raised their hands up. Pillars of light fell from the sky, each one tearing through a Zaeivlow before expanding into these heaven-reaching towers of light and vaporizing the Zaeivlow.

All of them. Gone in an instant. Just like that.

And then the pillars were gone. Debris littered the ocean waves where the biomechanical horrors had once been. Massive holes had been torn open in the clouds above, revealing the starry sky. Sailors and mercs all around stood for long moments in silence. The paper angels still hovered there in the sky.

One of the sailors howled. Others followed. Then, we were an uproar.

WARDS DOWN!” the captain roared above us all.4

At that moment, the uproar died.

At that same moment, lights began flashing from the Mothships.

The floating figures raised their hands.

Lights arching across the sky at impossible speeds all stopped midair—all just outside the radius of the figures.

Dozens and dozens of stars shot across the ocean at us, and all of them stopped before the canvas guardians.

Dozens and dozens, and then… they stopped. Hundreds of quivering stars hung in the air just beyond the paper angels, and the Mothships had stopped firing.

The center figure raised its arms and face up to the sky.

All the trembling bolts of the sky’s fire collected before the center figure, coming together in a sphere.

At that same moment, fire synchronously erupted from every Mothship, instantly flooding across the surface of the ocean.

The four paper figures to the left and the right all lowered down to the surface of the water, putting their hands to the water as the center figure maintained its position, still collecting the shot stars to one center sphere.

Within seconds, the fires had spread across the vast distance between us and the Mothships—setting the entire ocean ablaze. However, the moment they made contact with where the four figures touched the water, it was as if the fire was siphoned into their other-dimensional bodies, and filled them with it.

Within just as many seconds as it took the fires to spread across the vast square miles of the ocean surrounding us, the figures had vacuumed the flames into their bodies. Just like that. Gone.

WARDS DOWN, GOD DAMNIT!”

And suddenly, the sounds of the ocean roared back into our ears.

The center figure then lowered its hands, and reached into the sphere before it.

It drew out a spear made of the burning skyfire, then cast it out across the oceans.

An instant later, one of the Mothships burst into flames.

It reached into the sphere again. Pulled out another spear of light.

Cast it across the ocean.

Another ship burst into flames.

One by one, the center figure cast down every Mothship that surrounded us—but just as it threw its last spear, a dense, black bolt shot from the last ship. Rising, rising, rising into the air.

“A Nothing Bomb…” someone muttered next to me.

The entire deck began muttering anxiously to each other.

“A what?” I asked.

The sailor turned to look at me. “It’s a bomb that erases existence when it explodes. Everything here, within its explosion, will be erased from being. Not burnt. Not evaporated. Not bombarded. Erased.”

My jaw relaxed and dropped in shock again.

I turned and looked back out at the ship just in time to see the center figure cast its last spear—incinerating the distant ship moments later.

The bomb arced across the twilight sky before disappearing above the clouds.

The center figure reached out to the burning sphere before it. Placed its hands against its surface. Absorbed the ball of starlight ahead of it.

Filled itself with it.

Suddenly, the bolt of empty, pure darkness and devoidedness fell from the sky above us. The central figure rose into the sky, raised its hands up to meet the bomb. It fell upon the figure, and immediately exploded in a disc of pure black emptiness.

However, the figure still stood there, seeming to the hold up the explosion above it, and from the figure poured forth the starfire it had swallowed.

The emptiness filled with the light, but the howling explosion was like an infinitely expanding maw of annihilation—it seemed impossible the light left within the figure would be enough to feed the hollow of the Nothing Bomb.

The other four figures hovered upwards, raising their hands to meet the howling, exploding Nothing, and from their fingertips, fire poured forth as if forty spickets from forty Suns had been opened.

The hungering vastness was filled with the relentless onslaught of fire from the four figures fingertips, and from the light of the central figure.

For long, horrific moments, this cosmic, violent equilibrium was maintained, until, in a fraction of an instant, the explosion of the Nothing Bomb was over.

The sky was filled with the clouds—though the clouds had had these holes put in them from the pillars of light of the five figures. The oceans still rocked. The wind still stole across our hair and across the waves. The Mothships still burned and sank at the edge of the horizon.

The five figures lowered their hands, and hovered up above us all for this one moment. Then, they all began folding back upon themselves, folding into small paper spheres in small little pocket dimensions, until they were just these five tiny paper specs floating through the air. Floating back across the air. Floating back to the ship.

Back to the captain, who stood amidst us all with a small metal box with its lid pulled back just enough for the floating specs to drift back inside their box.

And then the captain closed his small metal box. He turned to Carvawnkle and said, “After the bodies are brought below deck, get every sailor and merc and Titan-fearing, two-legged, still-breathing man or woman on this ship a glass of wine or whiskey, whichever they’d prefer. Tomorrow, we set sail for the nearest port. Get moving.”

And the storm was over.

It all happened just before sunset on a Thursday.

I’ll never forget.


References:

  1. Scraps of Tape. (2014). A Neverending [Recorded by Scraps of Tape]. On Sjatte Vancinette. Sweden: A Tendervision Recording.
  2. 65daysofstatic. (2006). The Big Afraid [Recorded by 65daysofstatic]. On One Time for All Time. Sheffield, England: Monotreme Records.
  3. 65daysofstatic. (2006). Radio Protector [Recorded by 65daysofstatic]. On One Time for All Time. Sheffield, England: Monotreme Records.
  4. 65daysofstatic. (2004). Aren’t We All Running? [Recorded by 65daysofstatic]. On The Fall of Math. Sheffield, England: Monotreme Records.

The Rock Music of Argentina

Article Written by Alexander Greco

With Lucas Galeano

May 7, 2019

Stay until the end for a list of recommended music.

Argentine Crowd at a Pearl Jam Concert

I was hooked on Argentina when I watched a clip of Pearl Jam live in La Plata, Argentina. I’ve never seen anything quite like a few thousand Argentines losing their minds to Even Flow. I watched this, and realized there was something special about Argentina.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to Lucas Galeano, a rock enthusiast from Argentina, with a rock broadcast page on Instagram. We talked at length over email, and I got to pick his brains on Argentine rock—its history, its influences, its passion, and where it is today.

“The musical culture of Argentina is very broad and has many influences due to the large number of migrations that came from different parts of Europe—it is a mixture that acquired its own identity. …there were many Spanish, Italian, French, German, Polish and Portuguese influences. They came from many different countries at different times, but culturally the strongest influences were the Spanish and Italian.”

Argentina was settled by the Spanish monarchy in the 16th century, and officially declared its independence in 1816. After years of civil war, Argentina emerged as a modern, federal nation. In the late 19th century, Argentina enacted liberal-economic policies, and promoted large-scale European immigration. By 1908, Argentina was one of the most prominent countries, and by the 50’s and 60’s, Argentina was booming with American rock music.

“[In Argentina] we are already talking about rock music in the 1950’s with the explosion of rock in the United States. The local bands had their first influences, but they just covered [the American bands]. In the 1960’s, there is a lot of influence of beat music. The bands that most stand out from that time are Los Gatos, Almendra, the beginning of Sui Generis, and Pappo. They all exploded in the 70’s.”

The Argentine Dictatorship of ’76 – ’83 was marked with violence, censorship, missing persons, and a decreased standard of living.

This explosion of music coincided with a military dictatorship in Argentina, which lasted until 1983. This dictatorship was responsible for the deaths and disappearances of thousands of people, and for the censorship of journalists and musicians.

“Argentina had a long time of the twentieth century dictatorships. It affects a lot in the psychological sense, since lack of freedom is not just damaging to a person; it is damaging to a country. At that time, it was a hard blow also for the disappearances that there were in the country… there was no freedom of the press. If you went out at night without authorization, they took you prisoner.

“It was a very hard blow for the country. Many musicians had to leave the country, and those who remained sent hidden messages in their songs to avoid problems with the regime. That was extremely risky. If [the government] found out, they were killed.

“The messages of the musicians are subtle in their songs. If they have noticed something, they censor the lyrics or, directly, they ban the song. The majority of rock of the 70’s Argentineans are letters in double sense. Everything they said had a different meaning. The Charly Garcia stands out first and foremost. The public song called ‘The Dinosaurs’. He said in the lyrics that the friends of the neighborhood can disappear, but the dinosaurs are going to disappear. The dinosaurs were a metaphor for the military, but they did not realize it.”

It was a boom of joy, and was represented in their songs. In the eighties the music was very happy. The lives of the people changed, but the economic present of the country was not good. It was hard to live every day, but the Argentine was happy.”

Los Gatos in their Early Years

…when democracy returned, [the country] felt a boom of joy that was transmitted in music.

Despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding this boom, the music that came from the late 60’s up to the early 80’s shaped Argentine music into something truly unique.

A Young Litto Nebbia

One of the first major original Argentine bands, Los Gatos, was formed in the late 1960’s. Their debut album was the first Argentine rock band to locally out-sell American and British records, and this has been considered the birth of Argentine rock. However, when a new dictatorship arose in 1976, Litto Nebbia, the lead singer of Los Gatos, fled the country and took refuge in Mexico. Eventually, Litto was able to move back to his home country, though it would not be for several years.

Other major Argentine bands of the time were Vox Dei, Sui Generis, and Almendra.

Vox Dei

Vox Dei (Voice of God) began in 1967, and is the first Argentine rock band to have created a concept album, titled “The Bible” (1971). Vox Dei produced 10 albums in the 1970’s, and a total of 19 albums between 1970 and 2015. They were also one of the first progressive rock and psychedelic rock groups, as well as the first Argentine rock-opera band.

Charly Garcia and Nito Mestre

Sui Generis is a folk and progressive rock band formed in 1971, and is considered one of the most influential Argentine bands of all time. Sui Generis was formed by Nito Mestre and the aforementioned legend, Charly Garcia. The band originally played experimental psychedelic music, but eventually found a voice in the folk genre.

Charly Garcia would go on to form other legendary Argentine bands, such as Seru Giran, La Maquina de Haver Pajaros, and PorSuiGieco. Beginning in the 80’s Charly Garcia became a highly successful solo act, and has put out several albums that experiment with jazz, folk, synthpop, lo-fi, and, of course, hard rock and experimental rock. Many of his albums are comparable to the musical experimentation of Radiohead, The Cure, and Beck.

Almendra

Almendra is another Argentine band of the 60’s to experiment with psychedelic rock, folk music and progressive rock. Almendra has often been compared to The Beatles, and though they broke up in 1970, their first two albums—Almendra and Almendra II—revolutionized the Argentine music scene. After splitting, members of the band formed new groups—Aquellarre, Color Humano, and Pescado Rabioso. The lead vocalist—Luis Alberto Spinetta—would go on to be another highly successful solo act.

These artists, and several others, changed music in Argentina forever. Just like the music revolutions of America and the UK, Argentine music began evolving in the 70’s and the 80’s, especially with the fall of the dictatorship in ’83. From this came new, dynamic artists, with influences spanning across American and British pop, classical European music, and Latin dance music (the Tango, in particular).

“You have many popular Argentine artists who were on e very popular artists throughout Latin America. Classics [I] would say Charly Garcia, Seru Giran Gustavo Cerati, Soda Stereo, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Pappo, Renga, the “Indian” Solari. Contemporary artists, very good bands that are already playing, [include] Las Pelotas, Divided, The Pills of the Grandfather, Ciro and the Persians, Babasonicos, You Point Me, [and] The Decadents, there are many.

“Today is difficult, because there are many very good bands, but I Stayed With You to Point out to Me, The State of the Motorized Police, the Plan of the Butterfly, [and] Crossing the Puddle.”

Las Pelotas (The Balls, or Bollocks!) began in the 80’s, and contains elements of hard rock, 90’s psychedelia and 80’s synth and FX. In addition, some of their songs use Latin rhythms and chord progressions, as well as elements of funk, blues, reggae, folk and punk. They’re an incredibly dynamic and fun band to listen to.

Las Pastillas de Abuelo Live

Las Pastillas de Abuelo (The Pills of the Grandfather) is an urgent, driving fusion of hard rock, latin music and jazz, and god damn did I like their music. This band may be one of the purest fusion of traditional Argentine music and influences, and the rock revolutions of America and Britain. Las Pastillas de Abuelo began in the 2000’s, and contains the experimental, post-rock vibes of the time. However, this is one of those bands that transcends the genres it was born from, and becomes its own, unique type of music. It’s all at once relaxing and urgent, driving you forward with fluid grooves and huge energy.

Babasonicos is another thoroughly unique band with a great sound. In some ways, they remind me of Muse or The War on Drugs, in other ways they remind me of Alt-J and The Flaming Lips, and they also remind me of a Latin crossbreed between Guns and Roses, Beck and The Beatles. In other words, they’re really difficult to pin down…

…but I love it.

They’re their own incredibly unique band, with their own eclectic mix of Latin-folk, electronica, classic rock, dream-pop, and psychedelia. They’re funky. They’re heavy. They’re psychedelic. They’re absurd. They’re deeply emotional. They’re overall fantastic. I highly recommend this band, they’re fucking crazy.

In addition to these bands, Argentina has a huge variety of contemporary artists who deserve a listen. I listened to at least a couple dozen contemporary Argentine bands, and I kind of loved every band I listened to. However, for the sake of time, I narrowed down my current five favorites (though there’s still a lot to explore).

archipielagos self-titled EP

archipielagos is a math rock band that experiments with all kinds of styles and sounds. Their music includes odd meter, dynamic and complex rhythms, beautiful polyphonic melodies, and experimental composition. While the songs are primarily instrumental, the vocals we do hear are gut-wrenching yells, dreamy, crooning laments, and lo-fi sampling. Their music is similar to bands like American Football, Hella, Foxing, and Tiny Moving Parts, though this band is already developing a distinct voice. They are a pretty fresh and developing band, and have the potential to be a truly unique group if they continue down the path they’ve begun.

Las Ligas Menores

Las Ligas Menores (The Minor Leagues) is a bittersweet mix of garage rock and dream pop. Their music maintains a driving yet not frantic rhythm, matched by calmly-energized guitar riffs that dance on the edge of clean and bright melodies, and big, heavy walls of distortion. They play with a youthful energy similar to bands like The Strokes and Florence + The Machine, but mix it with the synth and distortion of bands like New Order and My Bloody Valentine.

El Mato a Un Policia Motorizado

El Mato a Un Policia Motorizado (That Boy Killed a Motorized Police) is a pretty popular post-punk/rock outfit stylized by drifting, spaced out melodies and punk-infused noise rock. Their music is a carnival of shoegazing pedal-work and electronica. If you go far enough back into their discography, you find a heavier punk core, similar to the now-legendary sounds of Cap’n Jazz and Sunny Day Real Estate. Their newer albums however explore a wide breadth of sound, and broaden their compositional toolkit.

Harm & Ease

Harm & Ease takes a much different approach stylistically than the other bands I’ve talked about. Harm & Ease mixes hard, romping blue-rock with powerful, soulful vocals. This band is a mix of heavy blues, grungy, energetic soul-music, and a gritty folk twang. On top of this already-dynamic sound is a psychedelic veneer reminiscent of the Doors and the Flaming Lips. Harm & Ease is groovy, powerful and unique, and god damn, what a voice this guy’s got.

Riel’s Sueno Electrico album

Riel is an incredibly well-executed balance of 90’s indie rock, 80’s post-punk, and contemporary garage and blues-rock. Mixing the dissonant, heavy sounds of Sonic Youth and Nirvana, the jangling walls of 80’s reverb, and the stomping intensity of bands like White Stripes and Arctic Monkeys, Riel creates a landscape of churning, crashing noise one moment, then a drifting, dreamy river of reverb the next moment. Riel’s music is a sunny drive with the windows down, a waterfall of percussion and shredding, and a journey into the Great Beyond of distorted feedback.

Like I said, there’s a huge list of Argentine rock music that I’ve only just begun to explore. If you listen to these bands and enjoy them, by all means, do some exploring of your own. You’ll never know what sort of bands you’ll find.

Now, I wouldn’t be doing Argentina justice if I didn’t talk about their live music scene. It’s wild.

In addition to listening to hours and hours of Argentine rock spanning from the 1960’s to the 2010’s, I’ve also watched at least 2-3 hours of footage from rock concerts in Argentina, and it’s fucking crazy. Thousands of people are jumping up and down, and chanting, and singing. You can see the band members’ eyes light up when they play for Argentine crowds, and it has this massive effect on the band’s energy. Sometimes, the Argentinean crowds seem to take over the entire concerts, by beginning a song on their own, or singing so loudly they’re almost competing for volume with the band onstage.

As my friend, Lucas, explained, “The concerts in Argentina have a lot of adrenaline. And that adrenaline is from the beginning of the recital until it ends. Here we sing the solos of guitar, piano, saxophone, whatever. Sometimes the same audience invents songs for the bands that give life to the show.”

“I have seen many interviews with musicians from other countries, and they are fascinated by the attitude of the Argentine public in relation to artists. If you are a musician and want to record a video, the best place to go is always Argentina.

“Once I went to a festival here. I met a Peruvian and he said, ‘I can not believe the energy they have, I do not give more and you continue, I can not keep up with your rhythm’.”

There is a deep passion in Argentina for music and live performance. There is a love for the energy and the wildness of music. There is a love for the beauty and the complexity of music. There is a love for the craft and the showmanship of music; a love of playing, a love of experimenting, a love of coming together as a group, a love of the power music has on you, and love of the freedom of music.

Argentina is a nation with a history of struggling for freedom, battling for its sovereignty, and rising up as a nation of individuals. I’ve seen pictures of beautiful nations, and I’ve seen art from distant lands, but there’s something special about listening to music that feels entirely individualistic. When I listen to Argentine music, I think what drew me in the most was the sound of each, individual musician being empowered through their music. It’s beautiful to listen to.

To end this, here is my list of recommended Argentine musicians and songs:

For early music and classic rock:

  • Los Gatos

One of the first major Argentine bands to become popular. Their debut album out-performed American and British records in Argentina, and their first record is considered to be the birth of Argentine rock.

  • Favorite Album:

Seremos Amigos

  • Favorite Songs:

La Balsa

Quizas No Comprendan

Manana

  • Sui Generis

A legendary duo of two highly-influential Argentine musicians, Nito Mestre and Charly Garcia. These two would go on to start several other bands, as well as successful solo projects.

  • Favorite Album:

Vida

  • Favorite Songs:

Cancion para Mi Muerte

Rasguna Las Piedras

Confesiones De Invierno

  • Almendra

Considered by some to be the Argentine Beatles, though they have a sound and style that is quite distinct from the Beatles. This band revolutionized Argentine music.

  • Favorite Album:

En Obras I y II

  • Favorite Songs:

Color Humano

Ana No Duerme

Muchacha (Ojos de Papel)

For 80’s to the early 00’s

  • Las Pelotas

This band implements the best of 90’s rock, 80’s and 90’s synth/FX, Latin fusion, and elements of jazz and reggae.

  • Favorite Album:

Amor Seco

  • Favorite Songs:

Si Superias

Astroboy

Hola Que Tal

  • Las Pastillas del Abuelo

2000’s post-rock fusion band. They blend a wide variety of influences, including heavy rock, folk music, and traditional Argentine music.

  • Favorite Album:

Desafios

  • Favorite Songs:

Incontinencia Verbal

Viejo Karma!

Ojos de Dragon!

  • Babasonicos

A highly experimental 90’s and 00’s band. They mix hardcore rock with punk, psychedelic blues, electronica, and folk-rock.

  • Favorite Album:

Vortice Marxista

  • Favorite Songs:

Larga Siesta

Desarmate

El Loco

For contemporary bands:

  • El Mato Un Policia Motorizado

Popular 00’s and 10’s band. Roots in punk and hardcore rock, though they progressively experiment with more and more synth, psychedelia, space-rock, and dream-pop.

El Mato A Un Policia Motorizado

Guitarra Comunista

Mas O Menos  Bien

La Noche Eterna

  • Harm & Ease

Powerful and dynamic fusion of folk, funk, soul, punk and blues. They mix huge, stomping sounds with roaring vocals.

  • Favorite Album:

Black Magic Gold

  • Favorite Songs:

Run Back

Save Me from Myself

Cosmic Measure

  • Riel

Driving and dreamy mix of post-punk, psychedelic blues/garage rock, and 90’s indie rock.

  • Favorite Album:

Sueno Electrico

  • Favorite Songs:

Vertiginosamente

Nocturno

Merienda

Why America Needs to End Its War on Drugs

By Alexander Greco

April 1, 2019

It’s getting silly, guys. Land of the Free, and you get sent to jail for lighting a plant on fire in your own home? But the War on Drugs extends beyond cannabis. The War on Drugs extends to MDMA, LSD, mushrooms, heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine, and we need to legalize all these things.

Yes, even heroine, coke and meth.

My argument is not that everyone should use them, but that it is unlawful and possibly harmful to keep these drugs illegal.

First of all, there is a simple Humanist argument for this. Why should an adult be told what they can and cannot put into their body, so long as they’re not hurting other people?

We allow sugar, alcohol and tobacco into our society (which are all linked to cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other health risks), and we allow people to consume as much as they want, because we’re a free, democratic society. We trust that people will either make safe, balanced decisions, or they will accept the consequences of their actions, because the pleasure they get outweighs the consequences.

And yet, we put people in prison for using psychedelics, opioids and amphetamines, unless they’re prescribed by large pharmaceutical companies…

Weird…

Why can’t we simply allow people to put whatever substances they want into their body, and punish them for any crimes they commit while intoxicated, rather than punishing them for whatever substance they’re using.

However, beyond this, there are actual medical and social benefits to legalizing drugs, or at least making them available in a regulated way. From cannabis to heroin, there are sound reasons to re-think drug laws.

Cannabis:

So, the cannabis-horse has been beaten to death. If you haven’t read or listened to the pro-cannabis articles or videos, there’s a billion and half blogs and YouTube posts that can tell you all about cannabis.

Still, since cannabis is still a schedule 1 drug (illegal because of high abuse potential, no medical use, and safety concerns) I think the horse should be beaten again.

Here are some proven or potential health benefits of Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), two compounds found in Cannabis:

CBD[1] [2] THC[3] [4]
Lowered Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Pain Relief
Cancer Prevention Reduces Nausea and Vomiting
Promotes Healthier Brain Function Promotes Healthy Brain Function
Prevents Osteoporosis Sleep Aid
Promotes Skin Health PTSD Treatment
Reduces Inflammation Promotes Neurogenesis
Reduces Anxiety and Stress Can Prevent Alzheimer’s
Helps Combat Depression and Mood Disorders Acts as an Antibacterial
Relieves Pain Is an Antioxidant
Helps With Daytime Drowsiness Reduces Inflammation
Can Reduce High Blood Pressure Has Anti-Tumor Properties
Possible Antipsychotic Effects Acts as a Muscle Relaxant
Possible Treatment for Substance Abuse Treatment for Seizures
Treatment for Seizures  

And I suppose now would be a good time to say cannabis isn’t for everyone. While CBD has few relatively minor side effects, THC has been linked to Schizophrenia and Psychosis.[5] It’s unclear as of yet if THC actually causes Schizophrenia or Psychosis, if it acts as a trigger for people predisposed to mental illness, if people prone to Schizophrenia or Psychosis are drawn to cannabis, or if correlation does not equal causation in this scenario.

If you want to learn more about cannabis, there’s a billion other blogs, articles and research studies out there on the subject. I’ve referenced a few, but there’s an endless supply of knowledge out there.

MDMA:

My opinion of MDMA has typically been a negative one. Excessive use of MDMA can short your serotonin system[6], and I’ve personally met people who thoroughly wrecked their brain with repeatedly taking high doses of MDMA. But, I’ve also met people who’ve ruined their minds on ADHD medication and cell-phone addiction, so it’s not like there aren’t legal ways to mess your brain up.

However, I’ve started to change my mind in MDMA.

In recent years, MAPS (MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy) scientists and therapists have been experimenting with MDMA to help patients with PTSD, anxiety, and other mental disorders.[7] The researchers have performed trial runs where patients are given doses of MDMA once every few weeks during a special therapy session. The rest of the time, patients are treated with typical psychotherapeutic practices.

So far, the results have been positive. MAPS scientists have done trials for reducing anxiety in patients with autism, reducing anxiety in patients with life-threatening illnesses, and helping veterans cope with symptoms of PTSD, just to name a few.

I have always had a negative view of MDMA. However, after doing a fair amount of research on MAPS and other similar ventures, I’ve changed my mind on MDMA. There’s a lot of good that can be made from the substance.

If you want to learn more about MAPS, check them out at https://maps.org/research.

Mushrooms:

There are a plethora of mushroom species with great health benefits, such as Lions Mane and Maitake, but no one ever talks about the pharmacological benefits of psychedelic mushrooms. Beyond falling into the sky and watching buildings melt, much research has come out which shows that psilocybin mushrooms are really good for your brain and your psyche.

Research with psilocybin has been done by John Hopkins University, UCLA, and New York University, and they have found that psilocybin can:

  • Reduce Death Anxiety[8]
  • Treat Depression[9]
  • Help People Quit Smoking[10]
  • Increase the Psychometric Trait Openness[11]
  • Promote Neurogenesis[12]

These effects primarily come from psilocybin’s ability to turn off the Default Mode Network (DMN) in the brain. The DMN basically inhibits other parts of the brain, maintains habits and behavior patterns, and keeps different parts of the brain from communicating with each other.

When psilocybin turns the DMN off, the brain is no longer inhibited, and “unrestrained cognition” occurs.

  • More and more neurons fire
  • New connections between neurons are made
  • Different parts of the brain communicate with each other (this is why things like “smelling sounds” can happen)
  • Your perception of information changes, and your perception of reality is altered

In this context, the DMN can be compared to a valve of information in the brain, which is normally 95% closed. When you take psilocybin mushrooms, this valve is opened completely.

This shows the activity and number of neural connections without psilocybin, and then activity and connections with psilocybin:

Research on psilocybin mushrooms has picked up in the last few decades, and still continues. There’s likely to be more effects discovered soon, and more information about how psilocybin works in the brain.

LSD:

LSD likewise has been found to benefit people with depression, addiction, OCD, and other mental disorders.[13] [14] In fact, this is old news. Scientists had already been experimenting with LSD as a psychotherapeutic treatment in the 1950’s, but this research was largely disregarded once the War on Drugs made psychedelics illegal in the 1970’s.

However, there’s been a resurgence of research since the 90’s, and interest in these substances as a form of treatment has grown.

The Legalization of Psychedelic Substances:

It’s almost a crime to keep cannabis illegal at this point. If you still look down on lazy stoners and glassy-eyed 7-11 employees, then fine, whatever, but what about kids suffering from epilepsy? What about cancer patients? Or people using cannabis to relieve pain, or get off of their opioid addiction?

Cannabis even has potential to help people with diabetes, heart conditions, and mental illness—even dementia and Alzheimer’s.

It’s almost criminal to deny these people the use of cannabis.

And what about denying MDMA to veterans who suffer from PTSD? Or to people with autism who suffer extreme social anxiety? Or to people with terminal illnesses, who are suffering from death anxiety? That seems absolutely criminal to me.

And why should LSD and psilocybin mushrooms be denied to people?

Good LSD and good psilocybin have few, if any, lasting negative effects. The worst that can happen with pure, true LSD is that Johnny loses his shit at a Pink Floyd concert, and has to lie down in his friend’s car for a while. Bad LSD and bad shrooms can literally kill you.

What’s the cure to bad drugs?

The legal sale of quality-controlled, purity-tested LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.

Now, what about the harder drugs, such as heroin, cocaine and meth?

First of all, all of these drugs have actual medical uses. In fact, some of these drugs, or similar variations of these drugs, are commonly prescribed to people.

Heroin:

Heroin, or Diacetylmorphine, is an opioid, and is still prescribed to people (though they usually don’t call it heroin when it’s prescribed to you).

It’s similar to morphine, which is still used as a medicine, despite its own stigma. Also, many pain pills that can be prescribed by doctors are also opioids, and these prescription opioids are as powerful if not more powerful than heroin.

Think of this: [15] [16]

  • Morphine is about as strong as hydrocodone
  • Heroin is about 4-5x stronger than morphine
  • Buprenorphine is 40x stronger than Morphine, or about 8x as strong as heroin
  • Fentanyl (the shit that killed Prince) is 50-100x times stronger than morphine, and about 10-20x times stronger than heroin

If you can get a bottle of hydrocodone (which is really easy)[17] then you essentially have a bottle of morphine pills. If you take as little as two or three doses of hydrocodone, you essentially have a dose of heroin. If you down an entire bottle of hydrocodone, or shoot up 10-20 times in a row with heroin (which is not advisable), then you’ve taken a dose of fentanyl.

Cocaine:

Cocaine is actually an anesthetic, though its primary use is as a stimulant.

Other stimulants include nicotine (legal), caffeine (legal), taurine (legal), guarana (legal), and ginseng (legal).[18]

What makes Cocaine different is essentially the potency, and the metabolization of different substances. Doses of cocaine are comparable to large doses of caffeine, taurine or guarana. It’s been explained to me by adventurous friends that using cocaine is similar to chugging three cups of coffee in a span of 15 minutes—which isn’t good for you, by the way, but it’s for sure better than shooting up on heroin 10-20 times in 15 minutes.

Meth:

Meth (or methamphetamine) is an amphetamine, the same class of drugs as Adderall and Vyvance, and it works the same way that ADHD medications do. In fact, Adderall and Vyvanse just different versions of meth.

Meth and ADHD medication work by inhibiting dopamine reuptake in the brain, which causes higher brain activity, and a boost in energy.[19] Just like coke and coffee, the main difference between meth and Adderall is potency and metabolization.

People who take meth are stimulated for hours on end, and often can’t sleep when they’re high on meth. Just anecdotally, I’ve known people who took a little too much Ritalin or Adderall the night before an exam, and they’re bouncing off the walls at 4 AM.

Should Hard Drugs be Legalized:

I’m not going to pretend like there aren’t good reasons for making drugs like cocaine, meth and heroin illegal. People get addicted, people begin abusing these drugs, and people’s lives are ruined, in part, by their abuse.

We made these drugs illegal (in part (there were some political reasons as well)) because people’s lives were being ruined by these drugs.

The assumption is that drug abuse is the problem, and that if people stopped using drugs, their lives would get better.

However, the problem isn’t drug abuse. The problem is why people are abusing drugs.

What Causes Addiction:

Think of all the different habits, obsessions, and addictions people have (reading, drinking, smoking). Now, think about why those people are “addicted” to these things.

Reading might help a person relax and unwind, or maybe it’s a special sort of “ritual” they do every day.

Maybe someone who’s really socially awkward feels like they can’t loosen up at a bar or club if they haven’t had a few drinks.

Maybe a cigarette during a work break is the best part of going to work for some people.

Psychological addictions occur because certain habits or substances are associated with positive emotions. There are physiological/chemical hooks in certain substances that make it far easier to become addicted, but people also become addicted to things with no possible chemical hooks.

Addictions can also develop as a form of self-medication, where someone believes they can’t function their best without a certain substance or habit.

People also develop addictions when their drug-of-choice is the only thing worthwhile in their lives.

I mentioned a hypothetical person whose most enjoyable part of work is a cigarette break.

Now, what if the only enjoyable part of someone’s entire life is a cigarette break?

Imagine someone who’s unemployed, or they live in poverty, or they have poor social connections, or all of the above.

Imagine if that person took some hydrocodone one day, and they felt sooo gooood when they took it. But a couple months later, that hydrocodone just wasn’t enough, or they didn’t have the money to keep buying expensive prescriptions, so now they have to find a dealer who sells opioids cheaply.

Here, we can begin to understand why addiction occurs, and why it is running rampant in our society.

When people lack meaning or enjoyment in their lives, they either rationalize their lives to feel better about it all, or they seek out something that can fill the void.

If you don’t believe this, let’s take a look at the Rat Park Experiment.

Rat Park Experiment:[20] [21]

The Rat Park Experiment was conducted with four groups of mice. Two of the groups were given as much food as they could eat, given toys to play with, and had sex whenever they wanted. The other two groups were kept isolated, and were purposefully put under stress by the researchers.

All four of the groups were given two water supplies: one with regular water, and one with added morphine.

The first two groups of rats—the much happier rats—tended to drink the regular water more than the water with morphine in it. In fact, many of those rats seemed to dislike the morphine-water.

However, the rats in the second two groups, the isolated and stressed rats, rapidly became addicted to the morphine. Happy rats don’t do drugs. Sad rats do.

What does this experiment tell us?

Addiction is not just a chemical phenomena, it’s a psychological one.[22]

The experiment shows that rats who are stressed out and live in sub-optimal conditions, are far more likely to abuse a drug than the happy-go-lucky, orgiastic rats.

But Xander, you might say, rats aren’t people.

Yes, true.

But let’s look at demographics of substance abuse.

  • People who have been the victims of childhood, sexual abuse and physical abuse are more likely to abuse a substance[23] [24]
  • People with mental illness are more likely to abuse a substance[25]
  • Drug use is 50% more common in families/households living on welfare[26]
  • People making $20,000 or less a year are less likely to recover from addiction[27]
  • Unemployed people are more likely to try an illegal substance[28]
  • 35% of homeless people living in shelters abuse illicit substances[29]
  • Rates of drug use is highest among young adults age 18-24
    • 18-24 year-old’s have the highest rates of poverty[30]
    • 18-25 year-old’s have the highest rates of depression[31]
    • The majority of young adults 18-24 make less than $40,000 a year, and about 25% make less than $20,000[32]

So, the numbers show us that most people who use drugs probably aren’t happy with their lives. Correlation does not equal causation, but there’s a damn strong correlation here.

But, just because we know why people get addicted, that doesn’t mean we should make it legal.

Why Hard Drugs Should Be Legalized:

In Switzerland, a highly conservative nation, a radical drug policy was adopted in the 90’s to stop their heroin and HIV epidemic.[33] What did they do?

They created clinics where heroin addicts could get free doses of medically pure methadone [AG11] and heroin, whenever they wanted. The clinicians monitor the people using the drug, to make sure they don’t have any adverse effects, and then let them go.

They don’t stop anyone from coming back for more, and they don’t try to force people to quit. People are given heroin in a safe environment, they’re monitored by certified clinicians, and then they’re allowed to leave. No strings attached.

What happened?

Switzerland saw major drops in:

  • Crime rate
  • Cases of HIV
  • Drug-related deaths
  • Rates of drug abuse

They let people use drugs whenever they wanted…

…and things got better.

Because heroin addicts were able to get their fix in a safe, controlled environment, and get it for free, they stopped going to drug dealers for heroin, causing the dealers to go out of business.

Most would go in once or twice a day, and they would go on with their lives once they left the clinic, until they returned the next day.

From this, many people were able to start getting their lives together. They got jobs. They reconnected with friends and family. They found better places to live. Their lives began to improve, and then many former addicts stopped using heroin.

Similar policies have been introduced in countries such as Germany and Portugal, with similarly positive outcomes.

The key here wasn’t imprisoning people for using drugs, it was letting people safely use the drug, and allowing these people to get their lives back on track. As these people’s lives improved, they didn’t want the drug as much, and they engaged in less high-risk behaviors. Why?

Because once your life becomes enjoyable, you don’t want to be numb all the time.

Why the War on Drugs Needs to End:

As we’ve seen with cannabis, MDMA, psilocybin mushrooms, and LSD, there are actual benefits from taking these substances, so long as they are taken safely.

The biggest risk with these drugs is confusing them with their synthetic versions, taking too much of them, or using a substance that has been laced with something.

The synthetic versions of cannabis and LSD can seriously harm your brain, and possibly even  lead to death. The party-drug versions of MDMA—ecstasy, molly, etc.—are often laced with stimulants such as cocaine, and other drugs, which, in conjunction with MDMA, can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular system and nervous system.

If these drugs were legalized, there would be safe ways of obtaining cannabis, MDMA, psilocybin or LSD. Right now, the only “safe” way of getting pure LSD or MDMA that I’m aware of is through the Dark Web, where you can buy pure, laboratory-grade compounds at bulk-price (or so I’ve been told…).

If these drugs are legalized and sold from reputable businesses, the products can be tested for purity and quality. When you buy something off the street, how are you supposed to know what you’re really getting?

With harder drugs, the Drug War needs to end because we need to solve the actual problems in people’s lives, rather than demonizing the one thing in life they enjoy, and ignoring the rest of their lives.

People become hooked to these substances because nothing else in their lives makes them feel as good, or happy, or as energized. I’m sure there’s exceptions, but people aren’t shooting up with heroin because life is going according to plan, and once these people begin to obsess over drugs, they let the rest of their lives fall apart. Friendships matter less and less, their jobs matter less and less, and their living conditions matter less and less.

The War on Drugs doesn’t help people with their actual problems, and only makes them worse. People don’t receive the help they need, and are instead locked up in hell-holes with murderers and rapists. People are humiliated, vilified, demonized, and punished with horrific living conditions, simply because they injected their bodies with a painkiller to feel better.

The key to ending the Drug War isn’t to win the War, but to stop fighting the War.

Let people use these substances, but in a safer, more regulated way.

People want heroin? Sure, let them have two free, medically pure doses a day, until they can kick the habit. Or, fuck it. Let them keep their habit, so long as they’re not a detriment to society. Why should anyone care what another person puts into their body, so long as they’re not harming society?

People want to smoke pot? Just don’t come to work in a glassy-eyed daze.

People want to experiment with psychedelics to help cure their mental traumas? Yes! Hell yes!

Imagine if we actually tried to help people with addictions, or if we actually learned how to treat mental disorders with various drugs that are currently illegal.

The War on Drugs is keeping this from happening. The War on Drugs, with all of its draconian laws and ill-informed, propagandic stigmas, is keeping a revolution of mental health, physical health, and socio-cultural health from occurring. It needs to end. It’s fucking silly.


[1] Kubala, J. (2018 Feb 26). “7 Benefits and Uses of CBD Oil (Plus Side Effects).” Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cbd-oil-benefits

[2] Johnson, J. (2018 Jul 27). “Everything You Need to Know About CBD Oil.” Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317221.php

[3] NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018 June) “Marijuana as Medicine.” https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine

[4] Garland, R and Wilcox, A. (2018 May 17). “15 Essential Health Benefits of THC.” Green Flower. https://www.green-flower.com/articles/219/8-amazing-benefits-of-thc

[5] “Schizophrenia and Marijuana: Trigger or Treatment?” WebMD Medical Reference. (2018 Oct 22). https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-marijuana-link

[6] Davis, K. (2017 Jun 29) “MDMA: What You Need to Know About Molly.” https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297064.php#adverse_effects_and_risks

[7] “MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy.” https://maps.org/research/mdma

[8] Biello, D. (2010 Sep 8). “Psilocybin Found to Ease End-of-Life Anxiety in Small Study of Patients with Fatal Cancer.” Scientific American. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/psilocybin-found-to-ease-end-of-life-anxiety-in-small-study-of-patients-with-fatal-cancer/

[9] Olson, D. (2018 Jun 20). “Psychedelic Drugs Could Treat Depression, and Other Mental Illnesses.” https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news/psychedelic-drugs-could-treat-depression-and-other-mental-illnesses

[10] “’Magic Mushrooms’ Can Help Smokers Break the Habit.” John Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/stories/mushrooms_quit_smoking.html

[11] (2011 Sep 29) “Single Dose of Hallucinogen May Create Lasting Personality Change.” https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/newsmedia/releases/single_does_of_hallucinogen_may_create_lasting_personality_change

[12] (2018 Aug 8). “Psychedelics Promote Structural and Functional Neural Plasticity.”  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6082376/#_ffn_sectitle

[13] https://maps.org/research/psilo-lsd

[14] (2018 June 19). “LSD as a Therapeutic Treatment.” Alcohol and Drug Foundation. https://adf.org.au/insights/lsd-therapeutic-treatment/

[15] Keating, D and Granados, S. (2017 Oct 25). “See How Deadly Street Opioids Like ‘Elephant Tranquilizer’ have Become.” The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/health/opioids-scale/?utm_term=.05a56e7bc6d3

[16] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equianalgesic

[17] Patterson, E. (2018 Dec 3). “Hydrocodone History and Statistics.” https://drugabuse.com/hydrocodone/history-statistics/

[18] “A Complete List of Legal Stimulants.” https://stimulants.com/legal-stimulants/a-complete-list-of-legal-stimulants/

[19] Newman, T. (2017 Dec 22). “Uses and Risks of Amphetamine.” Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/221211.php

[20] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_Park

[21] (2018 Oct 15) “New NIDA Research Reveals the Power of Social Reinforcers.” NIH Nation Institute on Drug Abuse. https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2018/10/new-nida-research-reveals-power-social-reinforcers

[22] Alexander, Bruce K., (2001) “The Myth of Drug-Induced Addiction.” Delivered to Canadian Senate, January 2001

[23] J Trauma Stress. (2016 Oct 29). “Exposure to Childhood Abuse and Later Effects on Emotion Dysregulation and Exposure to Trauma” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064859/

[24] NIH. (2010 Dec 27). “Substance Use, Childhood Traumatic Experience, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in an Urban Civilian Population”.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051362/

[25] NIDA. (2018 Feb 27). “Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders” https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbities-substance-use-disorders/part-1-connection-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illness

[26] Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2000 May;26(2):335-42. https://www.ncbi.nih.gov/m/pubmed/10852365

[27] Szalavitz, M. (2011 Nov 1). “Yes, Addiction Does Discriminate.” The Fix.

[28] American Addiction Centers. (2019 Mar 14). “Statistics on Drug Addiction” https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/addiction-statistics

[29] “Current Statistics on the Prevalence and Characteristics of People Experiencing Homelessness in the United States.” (July 2011). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

[30] https://www.statista.com/statistics/233154/us-poverty-rate-by-gender/

[31] NIH National Institute of Mental Health. “Major Depression” https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml

[32] PK. (2019 Feb 27). DQYDJ. “Income Percentile by Age Calculator for the United States in 2018” https://dqydj.com/income-percentile-by-age-calculator/

[33] Ochsenbein, G. (2016 Apr 20). “Switzerland: A Pioneer for a Humane Drugs Policy” https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/four-pronged-approach_switzerland–a-pioneer-for-a-humane-drugs-policy/42102778


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