A few months ago journalist Thijs Roes (also known as Tice Roose) created the Amsterdam-based Youtube channel Controlled Substance. Fed up with the depiction of psycho-active substances as inherently bad, dangerous and addictive, he now fights back with science to weed out the myths and propaganda from the facts.
We sat down with Thijs in Amsterdam, and under the enjoyment of some local herbs, we had a joyful and animated discussion on global drug policy, drug users and drug benefits.
Why did you decide to start this channel?
Thijs: To give a voice to drug users who are too afraid to talk, so they have a seat at the table in peace negotiations in the drug war. Most people that use drugs do so without any trouble. But if you’re a user and say that you’ve had a positive experience on drugs, the general public will instantly point a finger and say: YOU’RE PROMOTING DRUGS. What I’m trying to do is show what users know perfectly well: drugs can be both dangerous AND great at the same time. That’s exactly what makes them so incredibly complicated.
I can easily say that I’m a drug user, because I know most of the people on the planet are. Whether it’s chewing coca leaves, smoking cigarettes, rolling a joint or grabbing a beer: substance use is common human behavior that’s nothing to be ashamed of. What I’m trying to do is to get users to be more informed about their use, be more knowledgeable than their opponents, and to become brave enough to get out of the drug closet so they can start a change where they live.
What do you hope to achieve?
Thijs: To do my part in ending the drug war, just like all the cops, health workers, priests and politicians that work on the issue. Because no one wants to see people get hurt. As a user and a science journalist, I just come from a different angle, and I think it’s a perspective worth sharing.
What I’m trying to show is that in its essence, the drug issue comes down to a very fundamental moral discussion: Does a human have the right to put whatever in their body so that they feel differently? If someone’s answer is ‘no’, then I will respectfully tell that person that I disagree with them, but I respect their opinion.
But right now, our prime minister’s answer in the Netherlands is literally ‘yes, people are allowed to do that’, while still supporting policies that go against that convinction. Because our governments have decided that the answer to that question is “NO! …. unless it’s one of these.’
I’m here to tell them that the stubborness in their conviction, their caricaturization of users, and a world-wide, mind-boggling level of ignorance on this issue have led to suffering that is far greater than drugs themselves cause.
What is the message you hope your audience will remember?
Thijs: There is nothing morally wrong with doing drugs, but you better get your shit together when you start doing them. Try to always be the person that knows more about it than the people around you. Be that person that not only speaks out against the government for making the drug problem worse, but also against their buddy who thinks he’s cool when he downs a bottle of whiskey and pops three pills. This might all sound very boring, but I don’t see any other road map to peace in the Drug War than education, discussion and openness.
Since the birth of his new channel, Thijs has covered everything between “How To Handle Strong Ecstasy” to a psychedelic festival that provides “harm reduction,” (something illegal in the US under the RAVE act.) I had the pleasure to briefly say Hi to Thijs during this Psy-Fi. He was busy reporting, and I was easily distracted due candy-flipping. But I think we can both agree the hands-off approach by the police and security was fantastic.)
In his latest installment, Tice tracks the messy history of MDMA (and its different street names like Adam, Molly and Mandy) from the moment of its discovery, through its use in therapy and how a pastor fell in love with the drug and called it ‘Ecstasy’
What is Molly? What is Mdma? What is ecstasy? Well, to understand it you need to know the story about a catholic priest and the emotion he felt after taking the drug.
Watch the video to find out:
Visit Controlled Substance’s Youtube channel to learn more. Don’t forget to subscribe!
Important Disclaimer: MDMA, if used appropriately and responsibly, is quite safe, according to our research. However, there are still certain health risks to be aware of, so you should do substantial research before dabbling with this substance. The Erowid MDMA FAQ is a good place to start. Also, unfortunately, due to the illegal status of this substance in most countries, it can be quite difficult to procure 100% pure MDMA. For this reason, it is imperative that you buy a test kit if you’re going to be experimenting with MDMA or other powerful substances; a test kit will allow you to confirm that the substances you’ve procured are indeed what you believe them to be. Be smart, be safe, and enjoy yourselves.