About Us

About The Peace on Drugs Podcast

Aaron Akulis and guests discuss the war on drugs, the negative impact it has had on the world, and the slow turning of the tide of public perception as more states legalize cannabis, decriminalize psychedelics and other drugs meant for personal use.

Meet The Host

Aaron Akulis


Aaron Akulis is a musician, writer, and podcaster.  He was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, and grew up in Gastonia; a city “Charlotte swept under the rug,” as he described it.

Drugs were a big part of the underground culture in Gastonia, and he was introduced to them early, as most children growing up in the age of “drug awareness” were. “I learned about drugs in D.A.R.E,” Aaron said.  “I remember finding them really interesting.  Especially the story an officer told us about a man high on PCP that took ten officers and multiple gunshots to subdue. 

“At the time I was into comics and superman was my favorite; had been since I was a little boy.  I used to fly around the house in a cape.  And here, this officer is telling me and a classroom full of fourth graders that there’s basically a superhero formula called PCP – and it’s not in the DC Universe – it’s in real life!”

He and his friends, later in high school, became heavily entangled in the drug culture.  “It started with mostly pot,” Aaron said, “then there were pills and even crack. I feel lucky that I gravitated towards psychedelics like LSD and mushrooms instead of meth or crack.”

Aaron has lost many friends to overdose and seen many of them end up in prison or without lives, hopelessly addicted to heavy opiates.  He himself has been arrested multiple times for marijuana possession and feels lucky that he was able to overcome an addiction to Vicodin.  In Gastonia, he was robbed and pistol whipped – if that’s the proper term for being jabbed in the head with the barrel of an assault rifle – while living with a pot dealer.  He has seen on many different levels the effects the “War on Drugs” has had on our culture and our society. 

“I don’t think the drugs are to blame,” he said, “it’s the way our society handles them.  Being illegal, they are sold indiscriminately to adolescents – the dealers and users are both subjected to potential violence and arrest – they’re given criminal records that bar them from decent careers, and it leads to higher rates of addiction and suicide.”

After reading books like Johan Hari’s Chasing the Scream and Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind and listening to podcasts that talk openly and honestly about drugs, such as the Joe Rogan Experience and the Duncan Trussell Family Hour and listening to people like Dr. Carl Hart, Aaron decided he wanted to join the fight to end the war on drugs.

Aaron lives in Fort Myers, Florida with his wife, Meagan Rose.  They are both gigging musicians and you can hear them play almost any night of the week.  Meagan is a well-established singer and pianist in Southwest Florida and her influences range from Joni Mitchell and Elton John to Dr. Dog and Andrew Bird.  Aaron’s musical influences range from Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground to Nirvana and Tool.  They find common ground in many influences that show up in their collaborations, from Iron & Wine to Blind Melon.  Together they are working on an album they hope to release in the fall of 2021. 

They share their home with three fish, named Yoshimi, Father John Misty, and Yoko, two cats named Clementine and Barnabas Collins, and a Cocker-Doodle named Lt. Dan, and finally, a 135lb long-haired German Shepherd named Reggie (after Elton John, originally named Reginald Kenneth Dwight).  “Like most ‘dog people,’” Meagan said, “we consider the dogs our kids.  Aaron and I always, even though we’re busy, we try and do something fun with them every day.  Long walks, take them to the beach, dog park, camping trips.”  She paused and smiled and finished with, “We have a happy home.”

Meagan helped Aaron convert the spare bedroom into a podcast/recording studio she has named “Akulis’ Studious Studio.”  She has been very supportive of the podcast and looks forward to being a recurring guest.  “As will all four pets,” Aaron added. “They love hanging out with me in the studio when I’m working.” 

When asked what he hoped to accomplish with his podcast he said, “To bring more attention to the drug war and help push along its end.  It has been devastating to poor communities, especially in the inner cities.  Even entire countries are suffering south of the border.  My sister, Kristen [Jones], said, after being on my podcast, that until I brought the issue to her attention she hadn’t thought much about the war on drugs.  My sister, who’s first husband died of a drug overdose and has her Masters in Latin American Studies!  When someone like her had to have the war on drugs brought into perspective by me – it really illuminated how it’s not being properly reported on.

“I watch the news daily,” Aaron continued, “and the drug war is almost never discussed; the humanitarian issues in Mexico with the cartels, the inhumane way we run our prisons, mandatory sentencing laws that have led to the highest incarceration rate in the world- here in ‘the land of the free!’ They rarely talk about the homelessness problem and how the reason our homeless won’t go sleep in the shelters is because they won’t let them use drugs which they need to avoid extremely painful withdrawals.  All of these problems are embarrassingly underreported. Last time I saw the homelessness and addiction problem brought up on a major news outlet was as a slight against Nancy Pelosi and her district.  This isn’t a red and blue problem, it’s a health and humanitarian crisis, and thanks to the war on drugs it is now a global problem.”

When asked what the endgame is for his podcast he said, “We don’t end until this ridiculous, costly, murderous, dehumanizing war is over.  Our endgame is peace.”

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