This post is part of a series highlighting our network outside of the United States. This work would not be possible without the support of the International Activities Fund. I’m delighted to share a blog post written by one of our most dedicated activists, Declan Moore ‘15. Declan won Outstanding Student Organiser 2019 and has been one of our most exceptional members in recent years. From on campus change to engaging in national campaigns, he has not only been one of our most successful members, but also the kindest. He is the leader who introduced me to SSDP and for that I’m forever grateful. To make a gift to the International Activities Fund, click here. – Róisín Downes
In September 2015 I joined SSDP. I had read about harm reduction and wanted to apply it to local nightlife I was involved with. After returning to education in 2015, I joined the organisation after being inspired by their advocacy for drug policy reform and joined.
I was blessed to have Dan Nickström as a mentor when I joined, the chapter leader at the time. The following four years I was involved in various committee roles, including chapter leader for Dublin City University for two consecutive years.
I was first introduced to another important mentor in my tenure with SSDP; Jake Agliata who made the time to attend Ireland’s first national conference in University College Cork in 2017. Having Jake as a peer mentor was paramount to our work as a society, our connection to the US organisation and the international community. I’m proud to call him a brilliant leader and a good friend.
In 2017 Eleanor Hulm, Charlie El Baba, and I introduced a radical policy change to our university and country when we made reagent testing kits available to the students through our Students Union. This program was the first of its kind in Ireland in 2017 and has since been adopted by a number of third level institutions and assessed for feasibility as a state funded programme for all colleges and universities through the Union of Students Ireland (USI).
SSDP has enabled me to find my people. It has allowed me to work towards genuine change to the status quo both on-campus and nationally. I’ve attended three International Conferences, one Regional EU Conference, and hosted two national Irish Conferences. Attending and putting on these conferences would not have been possible if it weren’t for the International Activities fund. The training, resources, education, and the bonds forged at these conferences make our work changing global drug policy possible. And I’ve made friendships which will last a lifetime.
As I graduate, seeing my friend and chapter leader Róisín Downes go on to join SSDP staff this year – taking up the mantle of my mentor Jake; I can see the winds of change for Irish Drug Policy Reform and the global alliance of advocates and harm reductionists strengthening. As an alumni, I hope to bring a different perspective to the community and that our mission for global drug policy reform will one day succeed.
To make a gift to the International Activities Fund, click here.