Skip to main content


David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden is founder and executive director of Borden played the leading role in pioneering use of the Internet for education and organizing in drug policy reform after founding (known then as DRCNet, short for Drug Reform Coordination Network) in late 1993. Borden oversaw the organization's work on the Higher Education Act Reform Campaign, an effort to repeal a federal law that denied students financial aid because of drug convictions until its repeal in December 2020. He has initiated programs including the John W. Perry Fund scholarship program, the Out from the Shadows international conference series, the organization's work on UN drug policy, and international advocacy to stop the drug war killings in the Philippines.

David Borden
In August 2003, Borden sent an open letter to the District of Columbia's chief judge, Rufus G. King, explaining his decision to refuse to report for jury service as a protest of the drug war, an action which was covered by the Washington Post.

Borden published two academic journal articles in 2014 discussing aspects of the prohibition debate, including "If Hard Drugs Were Legalized, Would More People Use Them?" in the Cardozo Public Law, Policy & Ethics Journal, and "Drug Prohibition and Poverty" in the Brown Journal on World Affairs.

Borden earned an A.B. with honors in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University in 1988 and completed an M.M. in Jazz Composition from New England Conservatory in 1990. He is a native of Englewood, New Jersey, one of the first communities in the state to achieve racial integration in its school system. Borden is also a member of the Boards of Directors of Common Sense for Drug Policy and the Flex Your Rights Foundation, and of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Council of Advisors; and he is the namesake of the annual "Dave Borden Friend of SSDP Award."

Phillip S. Smith, Writer/Editor

Phillip S. Smith has served as writer and editor of the Drug War Chronicle newsletter since May 2000. He has reported from the opium fields of Afghanistan and the coca fields of Bolivia and Peru, as well as the US-Mexico border and the mean streets of North American cities from Vancouver to Washington, DC. In addition to the Drug War Chronicle, he has written on drug policy issues for High Times, Cannabis Culture, The Fix and other outlets. He also currently serves as drug policy editor for Alternet.

Phil Smith reporting live from Afghanistan, 2005
He is a graduate of the University of South Dakota (BA Political Science, 1979) and the University of Texas at Austin (MA Latin American Studies, 1989), and served as writer and Associate Editor at the magazine Covert Action Quarterly from 1993-1996. Phil has done freelance reporting on Central American and Mexico since the 1980s, and has had articles published in In These Times, the Guardian (now defunct), New Politics and many other publications.

He is also a long time drug policy activist, having helped to found one of the first NORML chapters in the state of South Dakota. He has been involved in local drug reform efforts in Austin, TX and Washington, DC, including the DC Metro chapter of NORML, and is currently involved in reform efforts in Northern California, where he currently resides.