SSDP Peer Education Program

Students for Sensible Drug Policy believes that students should be an overall part of any campus and community prevention and intervention strategy.  Our SSDP Peer Education program seeks to empower students in our network to analyze the relationship between drug policy and drug use by providing evidence-based drug information, teaching students to recognize and address dangerous behaviors and unhealthy attitudes, and promoting prosocial and harm reduction oriented behaviors and attitudes.

SSDP is in a uniquely qualified position to do so because:

  • Students turn to their peers first when they encounter and experiment with drug use. SSDP can meet students where they are.
  • SSDP does not condone nor condemn drug use, but seeks to reduce drug-related harms both personally and in their campus communities.
  • SSDP complements existing campus health and wellness programs, and fills in important gaps when it comes to open and honest discussion of drug policy. SSDP peer educators are able to challenge and critique campus policy and culture in ways that campus administration often cannot. While campus programs seek to change individual behavior, SSDP can change campus culture.
  • SSDP students have a unique perspective on the relationship between campus drug policy and campus drug use culture. Sensible drug education must acknowledge how drug policy and culture shapes attitudes and behaviors.

Federal cannabis prohibition is at its end, but sensible drug policy is more relevant than ever. The United States has just ended a significant portion of the War on Drugs with the increasing approval and enactment of cannabis legalization. However, we as a society need to take time to recover – mentally, emotionally and physically – from our failed drug policies, relearn why we started this fight in the first place, and reflect on what values we should hold about drug policy and drug use culture as we move forward. SSDP peer education will further the mission, vision, and values of the organization by promoting education, not incarceration!

Goals for SSDP Peer Education Program

  • To promote open and honest dialogue around drug use, drug policy and drug culture
  • To reduce drug-related harms through a lens of love, rather than stigma or punishment
  • Convey factual information about drugs, including how to access further resources
  • Convey factual information about drug policy, including how to access further resources

SSDP Peer Educators achieve this goal through three primary activities

  • Facilitating small-group educational programs in residence halls, in fraternities and sororities, for other student groups and high schools, and during Orientation Week
  • Providing students with informal counseling and professional referrals
  • Planning campus-wide events in collaboration with other student groups, academic departments or community organizations
  • Soliciting feedback and communicating to National staff to ensure that the program continually meets students’ needs

See the Peer Education Program 101 Powerpoint here

Peer Education Training Curriculum

SSDP Peer Education was launched at the SSDP 2016 International Conference with a presentation by Pacific Region Outreach Coordinator, Frances Fu, and SSDP Drug Education Manager, Vilmarie Narloch, PsyD. At that time, the Training Curriculum went live, providing access to our 12 lessons and accompanying resources.

To become a SSDP certified Peer Educator, students complete each lesson by reading, watching, and reviewing the resources available, and complete a set of reflection and feedback questions for each of the 12 lessons. Each submitted reflection form earns students 15 CAT points through our Chapter Activity Tracker. Along the way, Vilmarie will provide support, answer questions, and keep track of their progress.

Once one has completed all 12 lessons, Vilmarie will confirm completion of the program and they will receive an official completion certificate in the mail. Once one is a SSDP certified Peer Educator, they can present our Just Say Know drug education and harm reduction modules!

If you are interested in creating a module, contact Vilmarie who can help you through the process! By creating a new module, you will be earning 50 CAT points for your chapter!


Peer Education on Campus

Integration on Campus and Community

SSDP Peer Educators strive to promote harm reduction on campuses and in college communities where treatment and resources are not always harm-reduction based. SSDP Peer Educators will be encouraged to work with existing campus and community resources, and learn how to navigate different philosophical conflicts surrounding drug use behaviors, treatment, and recovery.

On Campus Staff Support: SSDP Peer Educators are encouraged to work closely with a health and wellness administrator on campus. Staff can connect students with administrators, and university or community specific committees that they may otherwise not have had access to.

If  campus support does not exist: If the SSDP Peer Educator is on a campus that doesn’t have a robust health services program, they are encouraged to collaborate with community members and organizations (ex. health/social work) and put on these trainings as educational events. SSDP Peer Educators are not meant to serve as experts on substance use, but as facilitators in connecting students with facts and resources.

Encouraging campus and community training opportunities: SSDP Peer Educators will be encouraged to undergo existing health and wellness  training opportunities that already exist on campus or in the local community. In addition, SSDP Peer Educators will be encouraged to work with their campus’ health services program to deliver these trainings as key stakeholders in their own health and wellness and that of their campus communities.

SSDP Peer Education and CAT Points

SSDP Peer Education will track accountability and desired outcomes through our Chapter Activity Tracker. SSDP Peer Education objectives will be viewable under the “Training and Education” category. Below are some examples of new actions your chapter will now be able to earn CAT points for:

Just Say Know Drug Education Lessons

SSDP Peer Educators will be able to present and create educational modules, starting with Just Say Know.

Just Say Know

Just Say Know is a series of drug education modules aimed at promoting open and honest dialogue around commonly used substances. The program aims to equip young people with harm reduction tools and skills as it relates to the specific substance, but can be applied to substance use generally.

Before you dive into the presentations, please review Just Say Know: A Guide to Presenting for an overview of how to best utilize these resources.

  • Adderall (coming soon!)
  • Benzodiazepines (coming soon!)
  • Nitrous Oxide (coming soon!)

Student Created Resources

Binghamton SSDP Party Guidebook

(Rotated view for printing)

Get Involved Today.

  • Questions? Comments? Email Dr. Narloch at

Working Group Contributors 2015-2016

  • Frances Fu, Pacific Region Outreach Coordinator, SSDP
  • Vilmarie Narloch, Board Member, SSDP
  • Sheila Vakharia, Assistant Professor, School of Health Professions
  • Sarah Merrigan, Board Member, SSDP
  • Jerry Otero, Youth Policy Manager, DPA
  • Kathie Kane Willis, Director, Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy
  • Eddie Einbinder, Center for Optimal Living
  • Kenneth Tupper, Adjunct Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia
  • Dan Reist, Center for Addictions Research of BC, University of Victoria
  • Julie Wu, former Health Promotion and Wellness Intern, Students for Sensible Drug Policy at University of Chicago
  • Evan Nison, Ithaca College
  • Devon Tackels, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Matthew Scott Kuehlhorn, THRIVE
  • James Kowalsky, Outreach Coordinator, Heartland Alliance
  • Amanda Reiman, UC Berkeley Faculty
  • Craig Reinarman, UC Santa Cruz Faculty
  • Rhana Hashemi, UC Berkeley
  • Tomas Robles, UC Berkeley
  • Benito Guijarro, UC Berkeley

 Additional Resources

Know Your Rights (coming soon!)