Partial transcript of Terence McKenna in Mexico 1996
Interview by Luc Saia

"Drugs"   is a word that has polluted the well of language.

Part of the reason we have a drug problem is because we don't have an intelligent language to talk about substances, plants, psychedelic [and] sedative states of mind, states of amphetamine excitation. We can't make sense of the problem and the opportunities offered by substances unless we clean up our language.

"Drugs" is a word that's been used by governments to make it impossible to think creatively about the problem of substances and abuse and availability and so forth and so on.

So it's a kind of a paradox isn't it?

"Drugs" mean that which cures us and the greatest social problem of the generation.

Apparently there are "good drugs" sanctioned by science and medicine and "bad drugs" used by brown people in strange rites and growing in unusual plants in distant parts of the world. This kind of thinking, because it's naive, leads of course to social problems and bad politics and bad social policy.

Every society chooses a small number of substances, no matter how toxic, and enshrines them in its cultural values, then demonizes all other substances and then persecutes and launches witch hunts against those users whenever some political pretext requires...So it's an old game and it's been played in many places.

Hopefully part of the advancement of society toward ideas of universal human rights and that sort of thing it certainly must include the idea of the universal human right to take responsibility for and to alter your own state of consciousness as you see fit.

I don't think we can even pretend that we are on the edge of a civilized dialogue until we grant that people's minds, like their bodies, must be a domain free from government control. In American law we have the notion of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If the pursuit of happiness means anything it must mean the right to use and experiment with substances and plants.

The state should not, in the matter of drugs, any more than in the matter of sex, act as the secret agent for the agenda of the church, and that's what's happening.