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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

The Non-Medical Use of Drugs.

[Canadian Government] Commission of Inquiry Into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs. (1971).
Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books.

ISBN: 0-14-052-289-1

Description: Paperback, 448 pages.

Contents: Letter of transmittal, 6 chapters, 6 appendices: A. Submissions to the Commission, B. Letters from Private citizens, C. Commissioners and Staff, D. Some Surveys of Drug Use Among Canadian High School and University Students, E. Current Research on Cannabis and Other Drugs, F. Innovative Services, Glossary of Scientific and Technical Terms, index.

Note: This commission and study are often referred to as the "Le Dain Commission" and the " Le Dain Report." First published by Information Canada in 1970.

Excerpt(s): Undertaken by the Canadian government, the research on which this book is based was never allowed to stray from the actual experiences of people who use drugs. In fact coffee houses and universities played a key role in the investigation. And among the six appendices is a special section of letters from private citizens-some warmly in favor of wider legalization-others indignant in their expressions of grief and outrage. When this volume appeared in Canada it created a sensation. Its recommendations, which are often surprising, will provoke as much discussion in other countries. For drugs, whether they bring delight to the senses or death to the body, are now a phenomenon that no one can ignore. (back cover)

329. While pleasure, curiosity, the desire to experiment, and even the sense of adventure, are dominant motivations in drug use, there is no doubt that a search for self-knowledge and self-integration and for spiritual meanings are strong motivations with many. We have been profoundly impressed by the natural and unaffected manner in which drug users have responded to the question of religious significance. They are not embarrassed by the mention of God. Indeed, as Paul Goodman has observed, their reactions are in interesting contrast to those of the "God is dead" theologian . It may be an exaggeration to say that we are witnessing the manifestations of a genuine religious revival, but there does appear to be a definite revival of interest in the religious or spiritual attitude towards life. As one drug user put it: "The whole culture is saying, `Where is God?' I don't believe in your institutions, but now I know it's there someplace." ...

330. ... Indeed, there is an active doctrine of transcendence which sees drug use as a catalytic or transitional thing to be abandoned as soon as it has enabled you to glimpse another way of looking at things and of relating to life and people. (page 223)

Modern drug use would definitely seem to be related in some measure to the collapse of religious values-the ability to find a religious meaning of life. The positive values that young people claim to find in the drug experience bear a striking similarity to traditional religious values, including the concern with the soul, or inner self, the spirit of renunciation, the emphasis on openness and the closely knit community, are part of it, but there is definitely the sense of identification with something larger, something to which one belongs as part of the human race. (page 224)

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