The Honest Drug Book presents the hidden truth about a topic which touches the lives of almost everyone. It cuts through the blustering rhetoric of the war on drugs, and documents the facts about the subject in general, and about the individual drugs specifically.

This is a journey through 140 psychoactives, both chemical and botanical, each of which was personally tested and used by the author. For every drug, it lists the fundamental and sometimes life-critical information, including the anticipated onset, the common threshold doses, and the expected period of efficacy.


They were dying.  They really were dying.

Frequently, the names would be familiar. I had even conversed with some of them on the forums; until they stopped posting. They had disappeared. A little later a post would emerge breaking the news of their demise.

The Honest Drug Book
The Honest Drug Book

The details were usually vague, but sometimes I could read between the lines. I could place them into categories: an overdose, a disastrous combination, a mistake with preparation, an addictive loss of functionality, and so forth.

How could this happen?

I knew how it could happen, because even then I had the bones of one of my future rants in the back of my mind:

People are dying because of ignorance.  They are dying because unremitting propaganda is denying them essential safety information. They are dying because legislators and the media are censoring the science, and are ruthlessly pushing an ideological agenda instead.  They are dying because the first casualty of war is truth, and the war on drugs is no different.”

It was always heartbreaking. Gut-wrenching is a better term because despite the territory it always came as a shock.

I also felt impotent. If society was failing them, why couldn’t I explain how to mitigate some of the risks, and describe how to take more rational precautions?   Why couldn’t I articulate my own modus operandi, which I had developed for use during occasional excursions into the relatively benign waters of psychedelia.

Prohibition kills, education saves lives, so why couldn’t I educate?

Eventually, on return from a much anticipated encounter with ayahuasca in Peru, it suddenly came. It came in a flash: I could.

I saw a book: a book which spoke in the right terms, and on equal terms. I saw a book which presented those harm reduction protocols, and explained how to use them. I saw a book which offered drug-specific safety information, each of which was contextualised with a detailed and engaging experience report.

I saw a book that users could simply open, and view the critical data at the turn of a page. I saw a book that wasn’t daunting: one which would place this vital material at the fingertips of those who needed it most.

Could I really do this? I knew that I could, but I also knew that it would take a huge chunk out of my life and that once I started I wouldn’t be able to stop until it was complete.

I started.

Fast forward past personal experiences with 140 different drugs, expeditions to territories across the world, and adventures I could barely have conceived.

Fast forward to last week, when after years of investigation, research, and inner exploration, the book was finally published.

The picture I had seen earlier was now real. The publisher’s blurb was before my eyes:

The Honest Drug Book presents the hidden truth about a topic which touches the lives of almost everyone. It cuts through the blustering rhetoric of the war on drugs, and documents the facts about the subject in general, and about the individual drugs specifically.

This is a journey through 140 psychoactives, both chemical and botanical, each of which was personally tested and used by the author. For every drug, it lists the fundamental and sometimes life-critical information, including the anticipated onset, the common threshold doses, and the expected period of efficacy.

It also describes the subjective experience: what the drug was actually like at each stage of the duration.  These ‘trip reports’ are vital, as they help to identify pitfalls and specific risks for each substance. Often, this is achieved in a humorous and anecdotal manner, which is occasionally accentuated by the fact that the author had to travel the world to undertake the experiments lawfully.

In addition to these often rich and lengthy reports, the book is crammed with data and general information, inclusive of legal briefings, relative harm tables, addiction and overdose advice, detailed reference material, and even a drug dictionary.

Of critical importance is the first section, as it introduces the basics of harm reduction, in the form of a 10 step procedure to help mitigate risk. The same section explains core safety issues, such as how to test and identify a drug, and how to properly establish a dose.

The book itself is lavishly illustrated with hundreds of photographs, including of the drugs themselves. The images in the botanical section also encompass some of the indigenous settings encountered on the journey.

The full gamut of psychoactive chemicals and botanicals is covered. The well known include: LSD, heroin, cannabis, mephedrone, kratom, cocaine, 2C-B, DMT, yopo, methamphetamine, salvia divinorum, ketamine, ayahuasca and MDMA. The lesser known include: betel nut, 4-ho-met, changa, TPA, 4F-MPH, ephenidine, ololiuqui, cebil seeds, mapacho, MNA, celastrus paniculatus, yohimbe, and MEAI.

The scope also extends beyond the most common categories of hallucinogens, stimulants, depressants, cannabinoids and opioids. Included, for example, are nootropics (smart drugs) and oneirogenics (lucid and vivid dream herbs).

Another dimension, which is covered largely in the final section, is that of politics and the war on drugs. This is confronted head-on, with a statement of intent which is crystal clear.

Emphasised and underpinned throughout is personal safety and risk mitigation. This is the first and last message, and guides the entire narrative.

This is a book that won’t only fascinate and inform: it will save lives.

Was I happy with that?

Not entirely, but it provided the right sort of flavour. It was “close enough” as Mckenna famously stated.

When it appeared on Amazon, the button was pressed and its website was launched, inclusive of table of contents, and a number of sample pages: www.HonestDrugBook.com

I was much happier with that.

I posted this news on Reddit and on a handful of major forums. The reaction was positive. Feedback from those who purchased and made contact was a joy to read.

But I knew that this didn’t mean anything and that it wouldn’t mean anything unless it plugged some of those holes I referred to earlier. It had to find its way into the hands of those whose lives were imperilled by a lack of public awareness and personal understanding.

I always believed that if it helped a single person it would have been worth the effort, so perhaps I am being harsh on myself. However, despite initial sales being greater than I had dared hope, I feel frustrated because I know that I haven’t even scratched the surface. Virtually no-one is aware that it even exists.

I expect nothing at all from the mainstream media, or indeed, from any public figure. It’s a bit too close to reality, and the messages it project are a little too close to the truth. I don’t see any grand conspiracy here, it is simply that all these parties have been culturally conditioned, even if they don’t realise it. It is outside their bubble, as are those it seeks to help.

Its best chance to reach truly significant numbers is via some sort of viral play, or word of mouth. I know this will take time, but I am not a patient man, particularly when I believe that lives are at stake.

They are still dying.