In the book, Intoxication, by Roland Siegel, he claims that the pursuit of altered states through drugs is a natural part of our biology and it is as deep-rooted as our drive for food, sleep and sex. The desire for drugs, for intoxication, is our ’fourth drive’.
People (and animals too apparently) have always used intoxicants, in every age, in every part of the world so the war on drugs is doomed to fail and the solution is to make ‘safe and unabusable’ drugs. I think he started off with the right idea, because we are programmed to want something more from life, we are driven by this deep desire, but the solution is not pharmaceutical, there will never be a drug without a side-effect, the solution is spiritual.
There are forms of meditation that deliver performance enhancement, chilled-out states or psychedelic adventures. They satisfy the urge for intoxication and there are no side effects except for improving your soul and the planet!