IOC October Monthly Bulletin

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Shoutout to Dublin City University SSDP for the awesome pumpkin!

Welcome to the SSDP International Organizing Committee’s October Bulletin! Here you will find updates on some of the major SSDP activities happening around the world, as well as news and updates from the United Nations. This month’s bulletin will cover SSDP activities from the month of October.

SSDP’s International Organizing Committee (IOC) is dedicated to supporting youth-led drug policy activism all over the world. Any active member of SSDP or member of the Alumni Association is welcome to join. If you’re interested in getting involved, please e-mail Jake Agliata at and he’ll put you on the IOC mailing list.

UN Updates

  • The Paradigma Global Youth Coalition, of which SSDP is a member, has released a document outlining three key asks for the upcoming 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment.
  • The Commission on Narcotic Drugs hosted their 4th intersessional meeting from 22-25 October in Vienna. Topics discussed included supply side reduction measures, elimination of precursors, crop control strategies, alternative development, and of course, preparations for the 2019 High Level Ministerial Segment. The next intersessional is slated for 7-9 November, also in Vienna.
  • The UN Human Rights Committee also published a new general comment on the “right to life” where they discussed why this right should not be interpreted narrowly. This comment doesn’t make many explicit references to drugs, but does touch upon related issues such as the death penalty and extradition.
  • The International Drug Policy Consortium has released a civil society shadow report which evaluates the impacts of drug policies implemented across the world over the last 10 years. The report concludes that the targets set in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action have not been achieved and in many cases have resulted in counterproductive policies. This report will hopefully be an important civil society contribution to the 2019 High Level Minsterial Segment in March, where member states will conduct their own review of the targets they set in the 2009 Declaration.  

Regional Updates


SSDP Belarus submitted a petition to change the criminal code of Belarus to exclude possession or trafficking of small amount of drugs from criminal prosecution. The petition has 2900 online total signatures.


Two members of EPSD Mexico received scholarships to work at the Kuymi Center in Bolivia for two months. A project of EPSD Bolivia and Acción Semilla, the Kuymi Center utilizes art and evidence-based education to educate Bolivians about the harms of the War on Drugs and inspire them to get involved in policy change. As one of their first projects, they organized a “Introduction to Drugs” workshop for parents.


United Methodist University SSDP hosted several drug education workshops on substance use and harm reduction. They spoke at both the Assembly of God Mission High School and the People’s Institute Junior and Senior High School.


SSDP West Africa Global Fellow Moronfolu Adeniyi ’14 spoke at the Nigeria Drug Policy Summit about the effects of drug prohibition on youth development. Specifically, he cited declining health, unemployment, and homelessness as the biggest consequences of prohibition on youth.


In partnership with Akbayan Youth, we hosted an online webinar with Senator Risa Hontiveros of the Philippines. The Senator discussed her work fighting against the War on Drugs in the Philippines and answered questions from participants. She also gave SSDP members advice on how they can support her efforts from their home country. The webinar was recorded so those who did not participate can listen later.

Calls to Action

Drug Policy News


Harm Reduction International Condemns New Bangladesh Law Expanding Use of the Death Penalty for Drugs

“Bangladesh’s parliament passed a bill on 27 October that expands use of the death penalty for drug offenses in the country. The Narcotics Control Act 2018, an update to the 1990 Act, now makes the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine pills – known as ‘yaba’ – punishable by death.”


Brazil Heading for Even Deadlier Drug War After Election of President Jair Bolsonaro

“Bolsonaro’s military background informs his violent approach to drug policy. The former artillery unit captain has frequently expressed support for police killings of people merely suspected of drug trafficking. This position echoes that of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte, who is currently conducting a large-scale drug war that has killed, without trial, over 12,000 people suspected of drug-law violations.”


Colombia is growing record amounts of coca, the key ingredient in cocaine

“Last year, Colombian farmers like Tapia produced 422,550 acres of coca, the largest coca crop in Colombia’s history, according to a United Nations survey released last month. That’s enough to make about 1,500 tons of cocaine, the report said.”


Mexico Supreme Court says ban on recreational marijuana unconstitutional

“Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that an absolute ban on recreational use of marijuana was unconstitutional, effectively leaving it to lawmakers to regulate consumption of the drug.”

New Zealand

Green Party wants drug checking legalised before summer festivals

“The Green Party is pushing for drug-checking to be legalised in time for the festival season this summer, following last summer where 21 percent of pills were not what festival-goers thought they were.”


Thailand is about to legalize medical marijuana and it could change everything

“It would be a landmark decision in a part of the world with some of the harshest drug laws on Earth. Thailand has the largest prison population in Southeast Asia, and the sixth-largest in the world.”


Prison officers undergo training on promoting harm reduction

“ZCLDN director, Wilson Box said the workshops were meant to enhance knowledge of drug and substance use among prison officers and change attitudes and values towards drug use and reduce risk behavior associated with substance use among key populations including drug users.”

Upcoming Events/Opportunities

5 November, Brussels: Civil Society Involvement in Drug Policy Conference

7-9 November, Vienna: CND Intersessional

10-11 November, Vienna: SSDP European Regional Conference

5-7 December, Vienna: CND Reconvened session

7-9 December, Vienna: International Cannabis Policy Conference 2018

14-15 March (tentative), Vienna: High Level Ministerial Segment

18-22 March (tentative), Vienna: 62nd Commission on Narcotic Drugs

29 – 31 March, Chicago: #SSDP2019