Written by chapter leader Sim Sembi ‘20 and the SSDP Newcastle chapter members.
Tell me a bit about yourself, what you study, your interests and why you decided to start a chapter.
We are both intercalating medical students at Newcastle University. We wanted to restart SSDP Newcastle to represent the student voice in the reformation of the drug policy and to provide accurate information/advice for the student body. Beyond SSDP, our interests lie in psychedelic therapy, drug-drug interactions, and drug use motivation.
Tell me a bit about the war on drugs in the UK in your university or in Newcastle and what needs to change.
Newcastle University still operates a ‘zero tolerance’ policy on drugs. As a result, a barrier has been created between students and university support due to lack of trust and fear of judgement. Having said that, the progress made in the few months since restarting the Chapter has been promising and we look forward to the future/what the future holds.
What are your goals, what actions do you hope to achieve, tell me a bit about your members, what will be your focus?
The focus for our Chapter is to dissolve this barrier by assisting the university in reforming their drug policy; providing drug checking kits while helping Newcastle create their own drug-checking system and distributing accurate harm reduction resources via the university website. Our members come from all backgrounds and vocations, each sharing a similar goal of overcoming drug stigma
We are very excited to be a part of the change in Newcastle and look forward to joining the SSDP International network!