The Book on Drugs - Page 2

By Tony O'Neill 05/22/12

JR Helton hates literary writers, recovery memoirs, and everything he learned when getting his MFA. But he loves drugs and has written a magnificent book about them.

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(page 2)

“Sobriety has no guarantees against the existential horrors that are simply life itself,” he says. “I lived in the country on a 600-acre ranch for 10 years and I can tell you, nature is hardship as well as beauty. You cannot judge it in moral terms. But if we do, it seems cruel as one animal constantly eats another and the laws of survival of the fittest rule. As human beings ,we are different from the animals; we have this thing called compassion that we’ve developed. I think that a drug like cannabis can help one to become enlightened and connect to ideas of empathy for others and a more relaxed state of being. That’s something we certainly need as a species that is destroying the planet right now. Meditation can also do this—probably even better. I don't believe one should live their life constantly on drugs, in a permanent state of escapism, and yet, ironically, that is exactly what you are encouraged to do in America: engage in constant state-sponsored escapism and idiocy. Our mainstream corporate media reduces everything to this bullshit two-sided argumentative construct, as though everything just has two sides, which limits and stifles independent and creative thought. It's all reduced then to this: are you sober or not? Are you on drugs or not? Are you a liberal or a conservative? Are drugs bad or good? All of this simplistic, pre-framed moral paradigms that bring all the wrong answers and questions. Moderation is the key if one is to use any drugs at all but, as I say in the book also, drugs can be fun. Drugs have their positives: they sell themselves, that's why people take them so much.”

So what would he say the message of Drugs is, if there is one?

“The actual, hopeful takeaway I want people to get from Drugs is this,” he says. “You have a right to control your own consciousness as a human being. If you don't, you are not free." 

Tony O'Neill is the author of several novels, including Digging the Vein and Down and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). O'Neill has also covered Jerry Stahl and abstinence, among many other topics, for The Fix. O'Neill and Helton will be reading along with Fix contributor Joseph Mattson on May 29th at Book Court in Brooklyn.

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Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.