“Just Say No” was an abysmal failure, as many of us know from graduate school. I used to laugh with colleagues about the number of times we were forced to watch “Breaking the Taboo” on Netflix. This requirement served as an introduction for graduate drug courses that sought to highlight the failed US approach to drug use and abuse.

The long-held belief that “all drugs are bad” has been slowly diminishing. Marijuana and psychedelic treatments are routinely being used to treat medical and psychological conditions. Esketamine (Spravato) was approved by the FDA in 2019 for TRD. Psilocybin has demonstrated psychopharmacological effectiveness for mental health disorder treatment. LSD has been found to mitigate psychiatric symptomatology (most notably for patients with alcoholism).

The psychopharmacological implementation of previously banned substances has occurred commensurate with legislative change; more states are finally decriminalizing and/or legalizing marijuana. Marijuana is still fully illegal in only six states. Petitioners are also calling for the legalization of all substances. Oregon voters have succeeded in decriminalizing hard drugs (November 2020). The national pendulum is slowly swinging from perceiving drug use as a criminal issue towards viewing drug use as a societal issue. Maybe, “just say no” will finally become “just educate yourself first and make decisions that work for you,” as it should be.