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Media: David Borden in Televised Drug Legalization Debate

Submitted by David Borden on (Issue #543)

  • David Borden, Executive Director,, Washington, DC

  • Deirdre Boyd, CEO, Addiction Recovery Foundation, London
  • host: Shahab Mossavat

  • part 1 of 3:

    part 2 of 3:

    part 3 of 3:


    Click here to view the full one-hour program on David Borden did not appear in the first half due to technical problems. PressTV is an English-language network based in Teheran, which airs across Europe and the Middle East.

    references for statements made by David Borden:

    Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


    Anonymous (not verified)

    If she's serious about saving lives she should consider all the murders that result from fighting over drug money.She should also consider all the overdoses that happen on the street, which, if happened in a safe injection site like the one in Vancouver, would not result in death.

    Fri, 07/18/2008 - 2:13pm Permalink
    Anonymous (not verified)

    So if we want to legalize drugs then we are supporting slavery now?? Is this the next thing they are going to try to pin on us? We create crime and poverty and violence, rip apart families and consort with terrorists(according to ONDCP anyway) and now we are the cause of slavery. I wish I had some of what she's smoking because it clearly takes you away from reality for a while.

    Fri, 07/18/2008 - 7:39pm Permalink
    Malkavian (not verified)

    In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

    She's effectively arguing that to make the Lesser Evil - drugs - illegal is clever because the criminal by nature stops at the Lesser Evil, and in the absense of such a Lesser Evil all those people would by definition turn to the Greater Evil.

    The absurdity is demonstrated when we argue for a prohibition on orange juice in order to make criminals stop at orange dealing so that they don't turn to peddling drugs. Less obvious is perhaps her rather strange psychological profile of those involved in drug crimes?

    Clearly she's very ignorant on both the nature of the crime, how the structure is on the market and the moral differences between people traffiking, murder and selling a drug.

    The obvious incentive is, of course, the quick buck, but going into drug dealing is a lot easier because it's so abundantly clear that your're not hurting anyone. Sure, some people oughta try another approach to medicating their undiagnosed depressions, but for good or worse it's still his decision. Whether the drug of choice is alcohol or heroin.

    The median "drug dealer" is small fish of the kind that sells a bit of pot to his friends, and when he stumbles upon some cheap stuff he buys a little extra and sells the rest to his buddies. It HAS to be this way because most users actually feel bad about scoring drugs directly from the pro pusher. They prefer the quality of friends-endorsed drugs. In every other respect this would simply be named "networking".

    People like that would never have turned to real crime that directly hurts another human being.

    When we criminalize drugs or something else of a comparable nature we will end up with increases in crime. It has to be this way because the actors in the market cannot use lawyers to fight their battles.

    Sun, 07/20/2008 - 5:25pm Permalink
    Anonymous (not verified)

    The woman in London was really reaching in most of her responses. David, you seemed cool and confident compared to her blubbering. I thought she switched scripts with you for a second when she was talking about the drug problem being health related. Excellent job. I especially appreciated the bit about the drop in cocaine prices, though I'm suprised she didnt turn that into proof that the drug war is lowering demand. coke sucks anyway. GJ!

    Fri, 07/18/2008 - 9:56pm Permalink
    rita (not verified)

    I've gotten this ultra-lame response to my opinions, too -- as if they don't understand the difference between harming other people and harming only yourself. Besides, it seems to me that the drug war IS legalized murder and robbery -- as long as you have a police badge.

    And didn't she lose her own argument when she compared drug addiction to diabetis? I've known quite a few diabetics; not one has ever been harrassed, arrested or imprisoned for either having, caring for or neglecting their disease. And anybody who thinks that imprisoning drug users stops them from using has definitely taken the express route to Fantasyland.

    Fri, 07/18/2008 - 10:08pm Permalink
    Malkavian (not verified)

    In reply to by rita (not verified)

    There are many different theories as to what "addiction really is". It's not as simple as she makes it out, and she should have been severely pummeled by the following facts: that e.g. 88% of all heroin addicted veterans from the Vietnam war experienced "spontaneous curing" of their condition, i.e. they treated themselves for their addiction without professional health. She never sees these people. Her world consists of the particular type of person who really needs help and for that very reason is AT the treatment facility. But she's making scientifically unsound conclusions when she bases all her decicions of that smalll sub-set of people.

    She clearly pushes the "addiction is a disease" card, because it plays so well into on the premise she NEEDS to make any of her illogic work: that once a person with the right chemistry tastes a drug he or she loses free will and becomes a will-less zombie slave to the drug.

    She is without perspective on that one, but she is in fact using the mental image of Demonic Possession and her mindset is as obsolete as that of the Inquisition.

    Some facts:
    You can't talk down a Diabetes I. That's just almost purely genetic. You get it, often at an early age, and it's unrelated to life style.

    You can often prevent diabetes II or even treat it in people by persuading them to lead a healthier life.This is because the causes of diabetes II are well-defined. Typically the choices of the individual leads - whether intented or not - to overweight which in turn adds stress on the body, which then screws with the insulin system. In a sense the unhealthy life style can be compared to a person using cocaine every day or someone on amphetamines who don't sleep for days. Bad things eventuelly happens.

    You can treat "addiction" by simply talking to the person. So obviously the disease metaphor only goes so far.

    Sun, 07/20/2008 - 3:55pm Permalink
    Giordano (not verified)

    Ms. Boyd seems to have gotten her crumpets in a ruffle over challenges to her views on addiction and access to illicit drugs.

    Unfortunately for her, a family values woman such as Ms. Boyd must cede territory to the looming encroachment of the sciences into her professional world of addiction treatment.

    Ms. Boyd emphasizes the latest research studying the genetic components leading to drug addiction as a reason to forestall any new policies making certain drugs of choice available to addicts.  But she fails to take into account that the consequences of analyzing the genes that create addiction for some, but not others, will lead to new medications to alleviate addiction much the way SSRIs alleviate depression.  There may even be a new medication for curing severe addiction that involves something like a one-week regimen of pills.

    Once addiction becomes curable, Ms. Boyd’s job is done.  Addiction will be treatable by the family GP.  She can go home to her crumpets.

    But I feel that won’t happen with Ms. Boyd.

    Curing addiction as if it were a headache will take away one of the key excuses for prohibiting illicit drugs.  Drug use with no consequences?  The family values groups would go berserk.  If there are no consequences, then people will use drugs.  According to this prohibitionist ideology, the playing field must be poisoned to emphasize that drugs are ‘harmful’, or to use their own carefully hidden vernacular, ‘sinful’.  No doubt Ms. Boyd will want to remain a loyal soldier in the drug war to the bitter end.


    Sun, 07/20/2008 - 8:20pm Permalink
    Anonymous (not verified)

    For one thing, they're very different busisness and it would be hard to make the switch, and for another thing, the market for people trafficking is not infinite. There's probably room to fill still, but it's not infinite. There's not gonna be more demand for people trafficking just because drugs are legal. Could there be enough room in the existing people trafficking market to absorb the entire drug market? I don't know but I highly doubt it.

    With people trafficking, if my logic is right, there's only two options: charging people money to carry them into another country (people who might anyway find the means to cross the border by themselves), or kidnapping people to make them slaves in another country. The first one is probably an easier switch for the drug traffickers. If they did it, it would be much harder for them to make money doing it than it is for them to make money trafficking drugs. Plus, there are only so many people who will be trying to emmigrate at any one time. The market is proabably not as large as to absorb the entire drug market. The second one is an extremely difficult business. You're talking about either fooling people or kidnapping them, and then making them slaves in another country without anyone in either country finding out what you're up to. Plus, there needs to be a demand for slaves in the receiving country. Not many people are willing to have slaves. Plus, if you legalize prostitution, the bulk of that market is gone.

    Another thing is that that would only apply to international drug trafficking. There's plenty of local drug trafficking that that wouldn't even apply to. There's plenty of local drug trafficking violence that we could eliminate that would in no way be repalced by any kind of people trafficking.

    Mon, 07/21/2008 - 10:46pm Permalink

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