Greetings all readers of Mindheal. Today we have a significant post. We are opening a new section, Mindheal Talks, in which we plan to interview people who have dedicated themselves to popularizing and developing Harm Reduction principles online and beyond.

It seems to me that it is right to start this chapter in the history of our project with a conversation with a person who has extensive theoretical and practical experience in Harm Reduction and broadcasting these principles to people all over the planet.

If you have been interested in psychoactive substances for a long time, then you probably came across the book The Drug Users Bible. Today we have its author, Dominic Milton Trott aka DM Trott, as a guest. We talked indirectly, and I didn’t have the opportunity to personally greet you, but I will do it now. I am glad to see you at Mindheal, thank you for join us and thank you for what you are doing!

My endless introduction is over, let’s get down to talk.

Introduction

Dominik Milton Trott
DMT. This and other photos on this page are taken from the author’s Flickr collection

Hello. Tell us a little about yourself, where you are from, how old you are, what you do in life?

I am basically retired, and have been since I started to write the book about 15 years ago. Prior to that I originally worked in IT for a large corporation before creating my own start-up, which essentially funded what was to follow. I was born in Preston, UK and I am so old that I vaguely remember the summer of love.

Nice. When you first learned about the principles of Harm Reduction. What was the reason for this?

My route to harm reduction stemmed from curiosity about psychedelics and philosophy, the latter of which is probably a routine manifestation of aging. I had read quite a bit about various psychedelics, and watched the obligatory Terence Mckenna videos on YouTube, but it was ayahuasca which caught my attention.

I took the decision to engage this, and booked a trip to Peru. However, I didn’t want to go there as a (relative) psychedelic virgin, so I began to explore the legal high scene here in the UK. I was able to easily, legally and quickly procure a number of research chemicals, and thus began to dip my toes into albeit shallow water.

It was during this period that, as part of my research, I frequented a number of drug forums, particularly the old UKCR Forum. Here I noticed a disturbing tendency: posters would sometimes disappear, and word would occasionally surface that they had made a mistake. They had died.

This of course re-enforced my determination to take due care, but I also started to consider why this was happening. In most cases the reason was self-evident: the lack of harm reduction awareness, process and knowledge. It was also obvious that complacency often played a significant role.

Harm Reduction

Drugs by DM Trott
The DM Trott collection from the book, only a part of it

What do you think about the principles of Harm Reduction?

Lofty principles are useless unless delivered in a form which has meaning, and is understood by those at risk. I understood this at the time, as information tended to be scattered, unavailable (particularly with new chemicals) or not targeted at actual users.

The bottom line is that furnishing individuals with safety information on their drug of choice reduces the risk of tragedy and death. This is a self-evident truth. Putting it another way, via a popular mantra: ignorance kills education saves lives. We have to do a much better job of educating.

How do you assess the development and dissemination of these principles today? What prospects and difficulties do you see?

For years dissemination of safety information has largely, but not entirely, been driven from the major drug portals and forums. They have done a magnificent job, but there are limitations with this, which are usually related to format, distribution, or ease of reference.

What do you think about the criticism of Harm Reduction principles?

They tend to stem from the same quarters that criticise drug use and drug consumers: from individuals who lack empathy, care and/or knowledge. They are a manifestation of the war on drugs, which is essentially a war on people whose only crime is to exercise choice; the choice to use those drugs which are not sanctioned by politicians.

Legalization

How do you feel about the movement to legalize substances? What does the legalization of psychoactive substances mean to you?

I believe that all drugs should be legal. Oppressing and terrorizing people who exercise the choice referred to above, whilst promoting and glorifying one of the most addictive and toxic of drugs (alcohol), is an unambiguous demonstration of hypocrisy and corruption.    

I see no rational basis for the current situation, particularly here in the UK, where even the most benign of substances fall foul of what are effectively draconian laws.

The consequences of driving drug use underground are inevitable, and are all around us. Prohibition invariably breeds ignorance, death and suffering. This is stated equally bluntly on the back of the book:

“People are dying because of ignorance. They are dying because unremitting propaganda is denying them vital 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.”     

Why do you think alcohol ended up in the position it is in today, and what can be done to change the ingrained misconceptions about this narcotic substance.

There’s obviously a strong historical element to this; not that alcohol hasn’t faced its own challenges on occasion, and still does in certain parts of the world.

I suggest that overcoming the misconceptions can only be achieved via education, for instance by directly stating its real place as a drug in the overall drugscape. Subsequently leveraging the obvious irrationality of what amounts to drug apartheid and exceptionalism is also a potential route to undermine the sort of blanket prohibition in situ.   

The Book

The Drug Users Bible

What motivated you to write the book? How was the work on the book going?

The first version of the book was published in 2017. The final edition was published in September 2022. Amazon describes it as follows:

“Over a 12 year period the author of this book self-administered over 180 psychoactive substances; both chemicals and plants. For each he recorded the life-sensitive safety data, including the anticipated onset times, the common threshold doses, the routes of administration, and the expected duration of the experience.

In addition, for every compound he also produced a trip report, detailing the qualitative experience itself. This delivered another invaluable insight, enabling, for example, an objective assessment of the extent of any loss of judgement and self-control.”

Why did I write it? Why did I embark upon this all consuming mission? Because I felt that I could produce something that would make a difference. I believed that I could reach people with information presented in terms that would help them to navigate danger.

With fellow posters on those old forums actually dying for lack of the information which I knew I could provide the motivation to undertake this was compelling.

Who will be interested in your book? Why is it worth reading?

I’m not much of a salesman, in fact I’m not a salesman at all, so I will again extract from the back cover of the book itself:

“This is essential reading for the 250 million people who use drugs, and for anyone thinking about using them. It’s the first stop for every worried parent who can envisage the words “Oh my God, what’s our little Johnny taking?” It’s vital reference for anyone who needs to cut through the noise, nonsense and misinformation, fast. It’s a must-read for the interested and the curious; for those who actually want to know the hidden truth.”

What difficulties did you face during the creation, release and distribution of your book? How did you deal with them and solve them?

See also  Plugging and Boofing Drugs

Actually writing the book became a way of life. Those 182 drugs had to be identified, researched and sourced, which was often problematic and testing, and indeed, I travelled to 33 different countries during this period.

They then, of course, had to be self-administered, most of them on more than one occasion.

I had to build my normal everyday life around these challenges, sometimes around experiences which were difficult and traumatic.  

Regarding distribution, I always understood that this was going to be of paramount importance. I sought to inform those whom existing channels were failing to reach. But how? This was to unfold in a most interesting way.

When the final edition was published in 2022 it was already successful by drug-book standards, in that it was widely known and had sold well over quite a few years. However, on release of this, being finally happy with the contents, I was able to initiate a more ambitious project.

In an attempt to reach those consumers who didn’t read books, or who couldn’t afford them, I produced a PDF version for free-distribution. Why a PDF?

The answer is that for many the quickest easiest route to harm reduction information will be via their mobile phones; and the provision of instant access to something the individual actually owns (the PDF). This sense of ownership is undoubtedly a factor in terms of motivation to reference.

Further, upon opening the PDF there is no requirement to search or to think or to work anything out. All that is needed is a swipe down to that drug of choice.

For many, this is surely the most cogent scenario in terms of preventing tragedy. It’s possibly as simple as it gets. Alternatively, the PDF can be used on a PC or laptop or wherever is required.

This approach immediately proved to be successful: the first weekend alone yielded almost 20,000 downloads.  

[For the record, the PDF can be downloaded from any of the cloud network links provided on the web page. And a browser edition can be viewed here]

This was a really good start, but I had set my sights on an even more ambitious vision.

Imagine vital harm reduction information being provided without charge at point of drug purchase, on a global basis. Imagine the potential impact this might have in terms of user safety.

With this in mind I approached the darknet social media platform. With the enthusiastic support I received, I then began to approach all the major darknet drug markets, asking for help in turning this far fetched scenario into a reality.   

In a relatively short period of time this began to bear fruit. Market after market accepted my request, and offered the PDF to their customers/consumers. In a nutshell that’s harm reduction information being delivered directly to those actively sourcing their drug of choice.

At time of writing this response the PDF is now provided free-of-charge by darknet directories, and by almost every significant drug market.

I feel certain that this is having a significant impact upon the well being and safety of many, even though it remains unreported by the mainstream media (with the honourable exception of the BBC World Service).

Future

Amsterdam Coffeeshop

Let’s dream up. Describe your view of the future of the human-society-substance relationship. Positive scenario and negative scenario. What awaits us, given the current situation?

Unfortunately, given the current climate, I don’t expect positive change for a very long time. Overcoming entrenchment, vested interests and corruption isn’t on the cards without fundamental social transformation.   

However, I’m not a fatalist and in the final section of the book (Worldscape) I do confront the war on drugs directly, inclusive of the provision of materials which hopefully campaigners can use. Ideally that social change can occur much more rapidly than I anticipate.

The potential human-substance relationship is covered in the Epilogue and includes the following summarizing passage:

“Used safely and appropriately they can help to modulate your life, providing benefit, enrichment and reward. In essence, at any given time you can determine whatever sensory physicality you require and/or select whatever mode of conscious space you wish to occupy.

You can, from a higher perspective, pro-actively plan and determine an endless variety of states, managing and potentiating a more rewarding existence. You can exert more precise control and granularization of your human experience, across a wider spectrum of choice.”   

On the flip side of this, we can expect more of the same:

“The lack of social intelligence, public education, and cultural understanding produces a picture which could hardly be more disturbing.”

How do you feel about AI-based chatbots, can they become part of a Harm reduction strategy? To become a safe entry point for education and assistance to those in need?

I suspect that the full integration of AI (inclusive of chatbots) for harm reduction purposes will largely be dependent upon its wider use and acceptance in society at large. Harm reduction chatbots already exist, for example, and their popularity will surely align with sociological trends.

Epilogue

What advice would you give to a person who wants to sort out their relationship with substances and adjust them better?

Research, educate, inform yourself on your drug(s) of choice… and take it easy: there is never an urgency to take a significant dose of any drug. Also remember that complacency breeds tragedy. Most of my mistakes stemmed from the latter.

It is vital not to allow drugs to become the central focus of your life, and it is not always easy to know when you are edging towards this path. Reflect often, and indeed, follow a procedure such as The 10 Commandments of Safer Drug Use (from the first section of the book).

Always be aware that you, and you alone, are responsible for your safety and well being.    

Many thanks to Dominic for his openness to communication, free thoughts and worthy deeds. We received a lot of interest and good vibes, and were happy to pass it on to our readers. I urge everyone to at least familiarize with the book, download or purchase it and tell about it to those who might benefit from it. I hope Dominic will delight us with new works in the future

See also  Harm Reduction Books for Free

With the author’s permission, we are posting the PDF version on our server, you can download it right here or find it in our Harm Reduction Books for Free catalog.

The first issue of Mindheal Talks is completed. Stay in touch.