Antonio Escohotado Espinosa, a lifetime of drugs, love, freedom, and enemies of commerce

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Photo of Antonio Escohotado surrounded by various types of substances.
Photo of Antonio Escohotado surrounded by various types of substances.


Antonio Escohotado was born in Madrid in 1.941, into a fairly wealthy family considering that we are talking about the post-Civil War period in Spain. His great-grandfather Vicente was mayor of Galapagar, and his father (Román Escohotado) was an award-winning writer and journalist who started out as a socialist but ended up supporting the phalanx, basically a path similar to the one his son took many years later, saving the distances.

The house where Antonio Escohotado was born was always full of books of all kinds, and as he was always a curious child and a great reader, he began to educate himself from a very young age. His father was assigned to Brazil as a press attaché at the Spanish embassy in Rio de Janeiro from 1946 to 1956, and this marked the childhood of little Antonio, who learned the Portuguese language, among other things, by reading Don Quixote in this language. While still a child, he began a notebook called “History of Western Thought“, where he already made it clear that his passion was philosophy.



🧐 Escohotado young



Antonio Escohotado’s family was able to give him a good education, and when he returned to Spain he began his career as a philosopher, although the abrupt change he experienced from the beautiful and free Brazil where he came from to the dark and national-Catholic Madrid of the 1.950s, where he arrived, brought out his rebellious and libertarian spirit with a force that he could never stop. Shortly after, they forced him to do military service, something that also marked him in a certain way because it clashed head-on with his libertarian spirit, although he actually spent most of his time in a military prison.

His father made him see that philosophy could not give him a great quality of life, and Antonio began his law degree confident that he would have more job opportunities. However, his love for free thought and the impact caused by the discovery of the German philosopher Hegel, forced Escohotado to continue expanding his knowledge while trying to satisfy his father’s wishes.


Antonio Escohotado education and studies

The young Antonio Escohotado wanted to combine his passion with his father’s advice, and simultaneously studied philosophy and law at the Complutense University of Madrid, from which he came out with a doctorate in philosophy of law. Thanks to this title and his command of languages, he was able to work as a philosopher, writer, lawyer, translator, and even a university professor, but above all it could be said that Escohotado has been one of the greatest thinkers of his time worldwide.

Once he finished his studies, Escohotado began working at the ICO after winning some oppositions, and he combined this work with that of an assistant in the Faculty of Law and Politics of the Complutense and other assignments that came his way. Among other things, he also worked as a DJ or “dj” as they were known at that time, playing Pink Floyd music among other rock bands.



🎯 Women, marriages and children of Antonio Escohotado


Antonio Escohotado knew many women throughout his life, he was married 3 times and had 7 children, although one of them died at the age of 40. His first wife was Cristina Alvarez de Lorenzana, whom he married in the early 1960s and had 4 children, Jorge who is currently dedicated to expanding his father’s work through the publishing house “La Emboscadura”, Daniel, Alejandro, and Román, who was the one who died while working in South Korea.

His second wife was Mónica Balcázar, with whom he had 2 other children, Rebecca and Antonio. Escohotado was always a close friend of Fernando Sanchez Dragó, specifically since 1.975, he participated in many of the programs presented by him, and even brought guests such as Albert Hoffmann, the chemist who synthesized LSD for the first time. Antonio Escohotado fell in love with Sanchez Dragó’s wife, Beatriz Salama, to the point that both couples separated and since then Beatriz became his third and last wife, with whom he had a daughter and who accompanied him until his last days.

Now it may seem a bit strange to see how a person “takes” a friend’s wife, but as Sanchez Dragó himself recognized years later, at that time it was something quite normal in his group of colleagues and several of them had shared the couples. It must be understood that since the mid-60s and practically the entire decade of the 70s, the world was experiencing an impulse of free love influenced by the hippie movement that has not been seen since.



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👾 Escohotado in Ibiza


Antonio Escohotado arrived in Ibiza in 1.971 attracted by the fame that this island was acquiring as a home for hippies from all over the world. At that time, he was working as a translator and had enough freedom to combine his profession with the libertarian spirit that emanated from him. There he settled with his son at first, in a country house that did not have running water or electricity, as was normal at that time, and he began to live with the basics, his books, his guitar, and of course his pen, totally convinced that you could live on what others threw away.

Before arriving in Ibiza, he had heard about the brotherhood of eternal love, a movement of surfers and hippies that imported hashish from Afghanistan and other countries to finance the production of LSD, and this greatly attracted the teacher Escohotado, who in one way or another started working with them. At that time he was growing marijuana for his own consumption and taking lysergic acid and other psychedelics to experiment and expand his knowledge.


Antonio Escohotado and Amnesia Ibiza

Many people do not know that Antonio Escohotado was the founder of the Amnesia nightclub in Ibiza, one of the most famous in the world at the moment. After his parents died, Antonio inherited, among other things, an apartment on Calle Génova in Madrid, which after selling it for much less money than it was really worth, he was able to buy what little by little became the meeting place for the coolest people, Amnesia Ibiza. Famous people like Orson Wells, Ursula Andrews or the rock bands Bad Company and Pink Floyd, among others, were regulars at the parties at this club, although over time both the music and the characters that visited it changed.

Without knowing it at the time, Don Antonio Escohotado was collaborating with the paradigm shift of the Ibizan island, since until 1970 it was nothing more than a hippie redoubt, but since the Amnesia nightclub appeared, Ibiza was placed on the world map as a luxury tourist destination. All these experiences were reflected in several articles for the magazine Cáñamo, which would later give shape to one of the last books by this author, called “My private Ibiza”



✅ Antonio Escohotado and jail


If there is something unbearable for a libertarian spirit, it is precisely to limit or curtail his freedom, and unfortunately Antonio Escohotado had to “suffer” at various times in his life, putting suffering in quotes because he knew how to make good use of his time in prison. The first time he entered prison was in a military jail, where he spent 14 months for not being the best soldier that could be expected while doing military service. The second time he was already living in Ibiza and it was for growing marijuana, something that later brought him problems again.

The third time that Antonio Escohotado entered jail was because he was involved in a drug trafficking operation that the police organized as a trap, but this time he changed history because he took advantage of this time to write “The general history of drugs“, the most complete work on drugs in the Spanish language that has ever been written. Escohotado never went back to prison, and when he came out after writing this magnum opus, a prison officer said that it was the greatest example of reintegration in history, something we do not doubt.



🚀 General history of drugs by Antonio Escohotado


This book is considered the most complete on drug issues from a cultural, sociological, historical, mythological, and even political point of view. It has a total of 1,547 pages where it reviews the use that humanity has made of drugs throughout history, from ancient times to the present day. It was published for the first time in 1983, and is formed by the union of 3 books that at first would be published separately, “The book of poisons“, “For a phenomenology of drugs” and “Learning from the drugs

In this book, Antonio Escohotado does not advocate drugs as such, but he exposes a lot of information about it and explains that responsible use can be made as long as there is great education about it. The general history of drugs shows that all civilizations have used different types of drugs in ancestral rituals, religious ceremonies, and above all to expand their knowledge. For many people this book was Escohotado most important, but he considers his best work one that he wrote a long time later and that took him up to 22 years to finish, “The enemies of commerce“.

Although it may not seem like it a priori, both books are closely related because they have many points in common, but above all the Greek empire. Greece defended trade against Sparta, who were basically warriors, that is, enemies of trade. In Greece they worshiped the gods Dionysus and Bacchus, and its inhabitants consumed wine, opium, and laudanum, which was a mixture of both, but what most caught the attention of Escohotado, Albert Hoffmann, and other drug connoisseurs were the mysteries of Eleusis. These mysteries are collected in different writings that describe a ceremony that the Greeks performed in an ancient coastal city called Eleusis, where they ate bread made with barley contaminated with ergot, the precursor fungus of LSD.

Some of the most important Greek philosophers in history were regulars at these rites, and we are sure that they helped the expansion and development of the Greek empire. The Roman empire was greatly influenced by the Greek, and they continued to enjoy bacchanalia, opium and wine for several centuries, until Christianity began to spread and with it the prohibition of drugs and other pleasures. The Christian religion insulted merchants, and the Roman Empire imposed it by force in all the territories it conquered, a kind of communism that prompted Antonio Escohotado to change his thinking and delve into this theme that marked his greatest literary work, enemies of trade. Although he had been a declared communist in his youth because this meant going against the system established at that time in Spain, from that moment on he dedicated himself to capturing the advantages that liberalism had over communism for him.

Biography of Antonio Escohotado
Biography of Antonio Escohotado



📖 The last book by Antonio Escohotado


The latest book by the teacher Escohotado has not yet been published, but according to his son Jorge it is about to hit the market. It is very possible that it will become his most important work for many of us because it is a diary or notebook where Antonio wrote down his feelings after consuming all kinds of drugs, from the threshold dose, minimum and maximum doses by weight, and overdose. On several occasions he stated “I hope that all the hours that I have thrown my arms around the toilet throwing up prevent other people from having this bad time” This “secret” book by Antonio Escohotado is related to his other work “Learning from drugs”, but goes much deeper from a personal point of view, reflecting his experience in first person.



✨ Death of Antonio Escohotado


Escohotado was proud of not having set foot in a hospital during the last 60 years of his life, but the reality is that he knew much more about pharmacological remedies than any doctor. Antonio had a very varied first-aid kit, and he knew his body perfectly and how it responded to the consumption of different substances. He died at the age of 80 and until the last day he smoked 3 packets of tobacco a day. He drank whiskey every day and took opium in different forms on a regular basis, yet he reached his last days with impressive mental clarity, an enviable memory, and was physically quite well.

He never made an apology for drugs as such, he only transmitted all possible information on the matter and empirically demonstrated that responsible use of them can be made throughout a lifetime. For the last days of his life, he asked to return to Ibiza, the place where he was truly born as a legend and where he could live as he liked, with total freedom.



🔥 True to his philosophy from start to finish


From a very young age he began to read the most transgressive philosophers, Hegel and Aristotle being his main influences. He had not yet grown a mustache when he began “History of Western Thought” to impress his father, and life took him to complete this work through the many books he wrote, intentionally or unintentionally. He began with philosophy to understand what religion had meant to humanity, later he understood how the Western monotheistic religion had “prohibited” drugs and other freedoms, and finally he demonstrated that the enemies of commerce have led us to the historical moment where we are at the present.



⚠️ Frequent questions


What did Antonio Escohotado die of?

Antonio Escohotado had Parkinson’s, something that according to his son Jorge could see the evolution through the manuscripts he left, where it was clearly seen how the handwriting worsened as the disease progressed. Possibly he also had cancer, but apparently he was doing very well until a few months before he passed away, and this can be verified in the many interviews he left, even in his last days.


How many children does Antonio Escohotado have?

Escohotado had 7 children by 3 different women, although one of them (Román) died a few years ago. His youngest daughter did one of his last interviews with him in Ibiza, but it was his son Jorge who spent the most time with him during the last years of his life, curiously the only one who had not lived with Antonio as a child. Jorge Escohotado accompanied Antonio in many of the last conferences he gave around the world, took his social networks, published all the available videos on YouTube and other platforms, and spread his work throughout the planet through his editorial “La Emboscadura”.

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Fran Quesada Moya
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