IOC September Monthly Bulletin

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Welcome to the SSDP International Organizing Committee’s September 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 September.

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

Trump Kicks Off UN General Assembly with ‘Problematic’ Drug Policy Document

The Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem had 130 signatories and re-affirmed member states commitment to the global drug control regime. The meeting was more or less just a photo op and the document itself did not pass through any official UN channels, nor was it open to negotiation.

3rd CND Intersessional Meetings Includes Discussion on Drugs, Human Rights, Youth, Children, and Women.

The Intersessional meetings were held from 25-28 September in Vienna. These intersessional meetings are a chance for member states and civil society to discuss thematic issues in preparations for the 62nd CND meeting in March, 2019. During the third day of the September meetings issues related to youth and children were highlighted. Check out the statements from Civil Society speakers, including SSDP’s own Orsi Feher, here. Also, get caught up on what member states had to say at the CNDBlog.

New High Commissioner on Human Rights released her report on post-UNGASS & Human Rights.

On September 14th, a report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) titled “Implementation of the joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem with regard to human rights” was presented at the Human Rights Council. On this occasion the world met the new High Commissioner (and former Chilean president), Michelle Bachelet, as well as the OHCHR’s new “drug policy” focal person, Zaved Mahmood.

Human Rights Council adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas.

The United Nations just adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas (EN, FR, ES, AR, CN, RU), thus proclaiming new rights and binding States to take measures to respect and protect rural needs, singularities, traditions, and knowledge. This has important implications regarding drug policy reform and sustainable development.

In addition to all of the above, we highly recommend checking out the new advocacy note released by the International Drug Policy Consortium which goes over some of the key issues to be discussed at the 2019 High Level Ministerial Segement in March 2019.

Regional Updates

  • SSDP Belarus is petitioning to abolish criminal penalties for possession and trafficking of controlled substances in small amounts. The petition has 2300 (online) + 600 (on paper) signatures so far and it will be submitted when the autumn parliament session begins.
Latin America
  • 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.
  • EPSD Mexico attended a meeting of the Global Commission on Drug Policy in Mexico City. They also started working with the Mexico City youth council. They attended a training and got to meet the other young organizations involved in the initiative. EPSD is the only drug policy group involved in the council.
Southeast Asia
  • 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.
West Africa
  • SSDP West Africa Global Fellow Moronfolu Adeniyi ’14 spoke at the Nigeria Drug Policy Summit. He spoke about the effect of drug prohibition on youth development. Specifically, he cited declining health, unemployment, and homelessness as the biggest consequences of prohibition for youth.
  • SSDP Nigeria students in Abeokuta and Ibadan conducted HIV screenings, counseling referrals, and distributed condoms on campus as part of their harm reduction outreach campaign.

Drug Policy News


Senate Committee Endorses Plans to Drug Test Welfare Recipients

The legislation establishes a mandatory drug testing trial of 5,000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients in Canterbury-Bankstown, New South Wales; Logan, Queensland; and Mandurah, Western Australia


‘The Crisis is Note Abating’: Opioids Killing More than 11 Canadians Daily

More than 11 Canadians are dying every day on average because of opioids, according to new data from the federal government.


UNICEF Cooperation in Drug Control

UNICEF is collaborating with Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters on the prevention of substance abuse among children and youth. For the first time in Iran, a partnership agreement was signed between UNICEF and the DCHQ on prevention of drug use among children and adolescents.


Death Sentence for Malaysian Man Who Gave Patients Free Cannabis Oil

On 30 August, the Shah Alam High Court sentenced Muhammad Lukman to death by hanging, after he was convicted of possessing, processing, and distributing cannabis oil. Three litres of cannabis oil and 279 grams of compressed cannabis were found in his home, according to local sources.


Myanmar’s President Calls for an Increased Effort on Drug Abuse Control as Youth Drug Addiction Increases

Myanmar’s President U Win Myint has called for putting more efforts in drug abuse control in the wake of increasing drug abuse ruining the lives of youths in the country, Myanmar News Agency reported Friday.


New Zealand to Pay Out Millions after Thousands Wrongly Evicted for Drug Use

Under the previous government, Housing New Zealand (HNZ) ended more than 800 tenancies on the basis that the houses could be contaminated because methamphetamine had been cooked or smoked on the premises.


Students’ drug use: Do we know what we’re talking about?

Two standing committee reports on bills to drug-testing students in the capital will be taken up today, just days before the National Assembly dissolves. While these bills are likely to lapse, the demand for such a policy may be heard again in the future.


Drug laws outdated: Youth officer

The Constitutional Law Reform Commission launched an issue paper last week on review of the law on use and abuse of alcohol and drugs.


Youth sentenced to probation for drug-related offences bought ice to help his teacher

A district court heard that a former student, who was given a probation sentence for drug-related offences on Tuesday (July 24), had bought methamphetamine for his secondary school teacher.


Constitutional Court Decriminalizes Cannabis Cultivation, Use and Possession in South Africa

In a groundbreaking ruling the Constitutional Court of South Africa has decriminalised Cannabis after years of legal challenges by citizens and civil society groups through the nations courtrooms. Following an unprecedented length of time to make their decision, the court ruled that it will no longer be a criminal offence for an adult person to cultivate, possess or consume Cannabis in private.


Catalan Cannabis Clubs declared Unconstitutional in Madrid – But Blooming in Barcelona

Catalonia, the home of Cannabis Social Club – these non-profit and cooperative Cannabis supply micro-regulation model – has just have its legal regulation declared unconstitutional by Spain’s Court. The wasted opportunity for Cannabis policy is also a negative element in the context of Catalan’s intent of independence.


Gov. Brown Vetoes Bill to Open Safe Injections Sites in San Francisco

The city of San Francisco and its mayor, London Breed, have been pushing to open the safe injection sites, with hopes that they would take drug users off of the streets and into clean facilities with access to counseling.


Hanoi police detain music fest organizer after drug deaths

Le Thai Son, 26, director of Vietnamese event planning firm A Chau, which organized the Vietnam Electronic Weekend (VEW) Festival at the West Lake Water Park in Tay Ho District on September 16, is jointly liable for its consequences, including the deaths of seven festival goers, police have said.

Upcoming Events/Opportunities

18-21 October, New Orleans: 12th National Harm Reduction Conference

24 October, Vienna: VNGOC General Meeting

22-25 October, Vienna: CND Intersessional

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