Hamline Students for Sensible Drug Policy
What is SSDP?
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is an international, student-run, grassroots, nonprofit organization of young people who believe that our current drug laws, campus drug policies, and drug education programs have failed us. We work to empower each other and our peers to create change in our communities and beyond, prioritizing human rights, public health, harm reduction and compassion above models that fuel mass incarceration, systemic racism, fear, and stigma.
Examples of "Sensible" drug policies include:
- Ending the prohibition of marijuana on the state and federal level, establishing legal businesses where adults can purchase and consume marijuana without fear of arrest or intimidation, while ensuring that the cannabis industry and taxes collected benefit communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs.
- Decriminalize the possession of all drugs and release all persons incarcerated for non-violent drug possession, opting to provide individuals with taxpayer supported social services, healthcare, and treatment programs. (Similar to the successful model used in Portugal)
- Allow and provide financial support for harm reduction services and resources, including syringe exchanges, drug checking services, Naloxone access, and Supervised Consumption Sites.
- Implement drug education programs in schools nationwide that are taught by health educators, rather than cops, emphasizing harm reduction, critical thinking, and healthy decision making, learning from the mistakes of DARE and other abstinence-only approaches
- "Ban the Box", so that a drug conviction doesn't prevent students from using federal financial aid to further their education, prevent individuals from finding employment or housing, or accessing welfare benefits, ending cycles of recidivism.
- Lower the Drinking Age, and decriminalize underage consumption of alcohol, providing safer, supervised spaces for young people to experiment with drinking, as an alternative to house parties, which encourage binge drinking.
You can learn more about SSDP here.
SSDP is a "Drug Club", right?
Not quite! Although much of our work is focused around drug policy and drug education, we also discuss and work on topics such as criminal justice reform, police brutality and over-policing, civil liberties, racial injustice, mental health and mental healthcare, income inequality, ableism and accessibility, gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ justice.
We work to make sure our meetings are accessible and welcoming to the entire community, regardless of a persons individual relationship to drug use, as we believe that the War on Drugs is a War on Us, all of us. Regardless of if you've never used drugs, occasionally use alcohol or marijuana, regularly use drugs, or are in recovery, we value your ideas, input, and lived experience in our work to make the world a safer and more just place. If you have feedback or ideas to make our meetings and events more accessible and welcoming to you, please fill out our anonymous feedback form.
SSDP does not condone or condemn drug use. Rather than using "Just Say No" messaging, scare tactics, or arbitrary punishments, we believe that when the tools and resources necessary to make reasoned and informed decisions, individuals will make sensible choices that consider their personal health and well-being. This being said, we can not and do not tolerate illicit drug use at any SSDP-sanctioned events.
Can I join SSDP at Hamline?
Oh yeah, you betcha! Hamline has a long relationship with SSDP, with the original chapter being active from 2008-2010, and the current chapter launching in September 2015. We've been going strong ever since.
Some of our accomplishments include:
- Traveling to 4 international conferences to learn more about drug policy and harm reduction, meeting with SSDPers from all across the world, and networking with movement and industry leaders to help further our careers.
- Nominated for the "Rising Star" chapter award in 2018 - given to the chapter that has shown exceptional growth and stands out among the 350+ active chapters worldwide.
- Organized and hosted educational opportunities to reduce the harms of drug use in our community, including Just Say Know drug education classes, and annual Naloxone (opiate overdose first-aid) trainings.
- Partnered with Sensible Minnesota, a local drug policy and patient advocacy organization, offering our chapter more opportunities to make significant policy reforms, access interest-driven internships, and to help host Minnesota's only professional-oriented cannabis conference.
- Founded DanceSafe Twin Cities, an organization that offers harm reduction resources to the Twin Cities nightlife and music community, including free water and electrolytes, ear plugs, condoms, safer partying literature, drug adulterant testing services, and psychedelic support.
Hamline SSDP has no formal membership, and involvement with our organization has no cost or commitment. If you want to get involved, stop by at an SSDP meeting or any of our events (found on our calendar). All our events and meetings are available to the general public, unless otherwise noted. If you can't make any of our events, but still want to get involved, please contact us, we'll find a way for you to help!