How did you hear about Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)?
Hi! My name is Anjolee! Through my interest in psychedelic sciences, I found my way to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) website looking for volunteer opportunities when I came across the Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Psychedelic Pipeline and learned about SSDP’s overall purpose of fighting the War on Drugs and harm reduction.
Why did you want to get involved/what made you decide to start a chapter?
I wanted to get involved as an ambassador based on my personal beliefs about alleviating the stigma surrounding mental illness and addiction. They are diseases that don’t deny a person’s worth, and those who struggle with these things shouldn’t be dehumanized. Education leads to understanding. As an ambassador focusing on harm reduction through drug education, I can help increase overall awareness and lend a helping hand to the marginalized communities I’ve grown up around.
What has the reception been like on campus? From students, teachers, administration, etc.
My family and friends are super supportive of my decision to be a part of SSDP because they know that SSDP supports topics I feel strongly about. They are the ones that surrounded me with this empathetic care and understanding of all, without judgment.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
It seems like being unhoused and addicted to a substance tend to go hand in hand, and with winter coming up I want to build some care packages that are ideal for someone who spends much of their time outside or in unlivable conditions. Prioritizing their health and safety while promoting self-care as well.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting/running the chapter so far? What’s the most rewarding and exciting part?
So far the most challenging part of my experience has been trying to figure out my approach to the people in my community that will best resonate with them not only now but long term. I’m excited to see how psychedelic legalities change over the years and what advancements and improvements are made within the science community. In specific in New Jersey, State Senate President Nicholas Scutari introduced a bill to legalize “magic” mushrooms for the treatment of mental disorders. I would love to see what opportunities this brings for those struggling with their mental health, as I would like to be someone who aids in psychedelic-assisted therapy sessions.
What is your vision for your chapter? Where do you see your chapter in a year? in 4 or 5 years?
Through my involvement in SSDP over the next 4 or 5 years I hope to have made a significant impact in the communities affected near my home. Formulating relationships with those I help further deepens the impact and range on the community. At some point allowing them to pay it forward or provide more awareness for others who may be struggling. I also hope to educate my peers and give them opportunities to support others in need. The more people that are aware of these programs and the facilities able to be provided, the more doors open for various opportunities for growth and understanding. Can’t wait to see what comes next! 🙂