I write to you from New York City, to which I traveled 2,000 miles to join five other FOR global leaders at the first-ever United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS). This UN summit has deep personal meaning for me because my family bears the scars of the terrible misconception that policing and the stigmatization of addiction can cure a societal illness.
The U.N. plan suggested that the solution must include "(a) more development assistance to reduce supply and (b) more attention on health to lower demand." Now, seven years later, there is growing awareness that the implementation of the strategies related to the original plan, which, particularly in the United States, have included criminalization of addicts and those trapped in cycles of violence as a result of the drug trade, have not achieved the envisioned goal.
The entire so-called "justice system" in the United States, as protestors all over the country repeatedly testify, is “guilty as hell.” It is time to allow space within our legal institutions for a more nuanced understanding of the world and people. In a virtue theoretic approach, suspected criminals and ex-offenders are humanized as they are viewed by the justice system as people capable of virtue.
Lead by International FOR's main representative to the United Nations in New York, John Kim, IFOR along with the Center for Global Nonkilling sent the statement below to members of the UN Security Council