“The distinction between licit and illicit drugs hinges on binaries: healing versus harm, relief of suffering versus desire for pleasure, medication versus recreation, obedience versus rebellion. These oppositions crumble under the slightest pressure. There are countless examples of harm caused by medical interventions. In the case of psychoactive medications, the most severe unwanted effects include addiction, psychosis, overdose, and suicide. Illicit psychoactive drugs, meanwhile, can heal. Ibogaine can help those addicted to heroin; psychedelics and MDMA can help relieve PTSD, depression, and anxiety in some people; opiates, stimulants, and sedatives can help people survive the aftermath of trauma or the suffering of unhappy everyday life. Relief is a kind of pleasure, engendering desire. Recreation relieves pain, and obedience can be a form of self-harm.”
— Sophie Pinkham at Portside, reviewing White Market Drugs by David Herzberg.