Introducing SSDP Netherlands

Tell me a bit about yourself, what you study, your interests, and why you decided to start a chapter. 

My name is Dennis Lemke. I am a 20-year-old student starting my first year of a Bachelor’s in Psychology (international track) at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. I originally come from Germany, but moved to the Netherlands 5 months ago and am currently living in student housing. I am interested in a lot of different things. My main hobbies are: going to the gym, playing chess, playing piano, meditation, playing videogames with friends, and cooking. As of now, my long-term goal is to be a psychedelic therapist, which is also part of the reason I joined SSDP. I want to help create an environment, where it is possible to benefit from these substances by receiving guidance from a trained professional. I also in general just want to increase awareness for the potential psychedelics hold. Besides that, I am interested in peer education, especially in the months after the corona pandemic is over, as I can imagine that many young people want to party “extra hard” to make up for lost time. It is then even more important to inform people about certain risk factors and safer use.

Tell me a bit about the war on drugs in the Netherlands and what needs to change. 

Overall, I would say I am pretty lucky to live in the Netherlands. Or well, I guess it was my choice to come here, so I’m lucky that the country is so progressive when it comes to drug policy. Marijuana and Magic Mushrooms (or more specifically Magic Truffles) are decriminalized and can easily be bought in shops. And even illegal drugs have certain exemption limits, whereby individual users should not have to face serious consequences when caught with an illegal substance. Drug-testing facilities are quite well established as well, which makes it easier for people to know whether what they are buying is what they are getting. And also, the country seems to be at the forefront when it comes to psychedelic research. They are even doing psilocybin studies at Groningen’s university-clinic right now. So in my opinion the focus should be on integrating psychedelics into the therapeutic process. Ideally, helping to shine a more objective light on the general prejudices people have about drugs, which might keep people from experiencing the benefits of their skillful use, would be desirable. Destigmatization, the creation of safer use environments, and a reduction of harsh criminal prosecution, which lets many fall victim to the vicious circle of acquisition crime, are of main concern.

What are your goals, what actions do you hope to achieve, tell me a bit about your members, what will be your focus? 

I would be very interested in hosting a talk, maybe in cooperation with our psychology-student association, about the results obtained in the psilocybin studies at our university hospital. Of course, in times of corona, this task will be a bit more difficult but hopefully, it’s going to be all over soon. As I mentioned previously, I would also like to host peer education events.