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David Borden -- Remarks at the United Nations, February 10, 2016

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke on the event's opening panel.
Last week then UN held a meeting for NGOs concerned with drug policy -- the "Interactive Institutional Stakeholders Consultation" -- as one of a series of events leading up to this April's "UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem" (UNGASS). The event was not recorded, but the following is approximately what I said during one of the panels. More information on the concepts discussed here can be found at

Thank you. My name is David Borden, and I'm the executive director of We support the calls that have been made for harm reduction and the decriminalization of users, and for people-centered approaches. But it's important to remember that the harm we seek to reduce is not only from drugs, but also from drug policies.

Criminalizing the drug trade drives users into an underground where drugs' quality and potency are uncertain. The high price of street drugs causes life destabilization for addicted users, often in ways beyond the effects of the drugs themselves. The criminalized environment encourages high-risk behaviors such as the sharing of syringes, or resorting to prostitution or becoming homeless because of the financial cost. Illicit drug profits fund transnational criminal organizations, as well as low-level street crime that fuels poverty, social instability and violence.

And so along with pursuing these necessary objectives for drug policy that many of us have talked about – human rights, development, health and security – in fact in order to pursue them more effectively, we urge that this UNGASS consider alternatives to criminalizing the drug trade, and the changes to the drug conventions that can codify such alternatives as legitimate. We likewise urge that the UNGASS consider how nations' obligations under the drug control conventions vs. human rights treaties should be balanced, in cases when those obligations conflict.

We also support a proposal offered by several nations for an UN Expert Advisory Group to assess the tensions in the international drug control regime and present options for moving forward.

New York, NY
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Good work David

Thank you for what you said and did in there. I hope you will be at the actual big event or involved in some way. I have been commenting on this site many many years now I think. I have often talked about my life as a homeless heroin user who has had recourse to prostitution, countless nights sleeping on cardboard all over the country, from NYC, to FLA, Utah,Massachussetts, even other countries. I would be more than willing to do anything for the cause, I'd go anywhere and can bring with me fellow heroin users currently homeless living the life that I used to live. We have to end this drug war by any means necessary.

Good to know you're still going strong CJ

And second the compliments to David for speaking truth to power

rx drugs

This war on pain patients like myself , is causinvery people who we thank for allowing us our freedomnest citizens to turn to the streets , for opiate pain control we can no longer get through our dr.s who for fear, will not prescribe any type of pain meds. The alternative? Suicide is preferable to some who can no longer live in the unrelenting pain. But as we know, the drug war is oh so lucrative to the powers that be, and to end it, would mean the end to their jobs!  Oh no, cant have that! The banks for one would run out of money, as well as the government jobs produced by the war, would actually have to work and give up the cushy jobs. But, behold, all, the lowly honest citizen in pain each and every hour of every day now has to give up on functioning as a productive tax paying citizen, and being part of their families lives so we may make sure the addicts are sent to rehab, at what cost, benefiting whom? The person whos only crime is that they have pain, chronic pain , are being led to what amounts to torture. The very service men n women, without which,we would not have any freedoms, are left to suffer, after fighting, some in chronic pain, who are being told to deal with it, suck it up etc.. Really..? No one is immune it seems. Seniors like myself who suffer from age related diseases, older and let to suffer needlessly when there are many solutions available, but chosen not to be given..   Why and how is it the government  gets to decide who should be in pain? So much suffering, needlessly. We are not drug addicts, only wish to be an active part of the human race, so why is it, they decide , if, how much, if at all, and tell our drs how to do their job. Isnt running the country enough power for them? But now they control all  matters, plus, push us into the direction, they want us to live, what to put into our bodies, as long as it benefits them, without consideration of us. Let the drs be drs, and allow them to use their education and experience to decide how to help us. We are warriors of pain, not abusers of meds. 


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