#SensibleSummer – How to Make the Best of Your Summer as a SSDPer

In some parts of the world summer is in full swing, and we’ve put together a bank of ideas to help you and your chapter make the most of your summer! 

Change a Campus Policy

In many universities and colleges, the summer is the perfect time to approach the administration about changes to Campus Policy. The administration has more time, and is often working on student welfare campaigns to launch in autumn. Take advantage of this by talking to your administration and student union about their Good Samaritan Policy, Expulsion Policy, harm reduction and drug services, their responses to student drug use and possession, and any student welfare and health campaigns they organise. Check out our Campus Change Toolkits for more advice!

Get Advocating for Better Policies

Days of Action are ideal times to contact politicians and institutions in order to advocate for different policies. Find out what your governments (local, campus based, national, regional & international) to find out what they are doing to celebrate these days and get them on the record supporting better drug policies! Here’s a list of different days coming up soon:

International Overdose Awareness Day August 31st – Memorial events, advocating for decriminalisation of all drugs & access to harm reduction services. Check out some event ideas here

World Hepatitis Day July 28th – Events advocating for Safe Injection/Consumption Facilities, Needle & Syringe Program, & services for People who Inject Drugs. Check out resources from the International Network of People Who Use Drugs here. 

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples August 9th – A overwhelming number of people from indigenous populations arrested every year due to discrimination, and furthermore the traditional use of different substances remains illegal in the majority of countries. Advocate for the rights of Indigenous People on this day. Get in touch with local groups that support the rights of indigenous people for more resources. 

International Youth Day August 12th – Youth on show! Get out there and advocate for youth rights and the youth voice in decision making. So often drug policies are created in the name of protecting the youth, but rarely are we consulted on our needs. International Youth Day is to show decision makers the importance of young people in policy creation.

World Humanitarian Day August 19th – This year, World Humanitarian Day focuses on frontline workers during the pandemic. This includes people working in essential drug services such as needle & syringe programs and safe consumption locations. Advocate for their rights and funding. You can also use this day to sensitize other frontline workers (such as doctors, police, nurses, paramedics)  on the needs of people who use drugs.

International Day for Charity September 5th – Ever wondered how to fundraise for your chapter’s activities? Consider starting on the International Day for Charity. 

International Day for Clean Air & Blue Skies September 7th – Drug supply prevention efforts often involve environmentally damaging tactics such as aerial crop eradication. Use this day to oppose aerial crop eradication and other environmentally damaging drug reduction strategies. Check out the US policy council’s End Aerial Crop Eradication campaign here. 

United Nations Day for South-South Cooperation September 12th – The Global South has been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs. This is a day for countries in the global south to work together to address shared issues. This is an ideal day for sharing knowledge, developing new cross-border strategies.

International Day of Democracy September 15th – The War on Drugs violates a myriad of human rights and oftentimes breaches the democratic process. Consider using this day to highlight these breaches and advocate for better democratic policies that support people who use drugs.

International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer September 16th – Similar to the International Day for Clean Air & Blue Skies, this is a day for advocating against environmentally damaging drug reduction policies such as Aerial Crop Eradication.

World Patient Safety Day September 17th – People Who Use Drugs face extreme barriers to access to health and are often denied healthcare. This year’s theme for World Patient Safety Day is “Safe Maternal and Newborn Care”. Women who use drugs regularly face severe discrimination during childbirth and are often denied bodily autonomy during this time. Consider advocating for the rights of women who use drugs on this day. Find more resources about pregnant women who use drugs & the difficulties they face here.

International Day of Peace September 21st – People who use drugs and are involved in the drug trade are so often faced with violence. In particular, the violent efforts by governments to reduce the drug supply have not only failed, but have also resulted in the militarisation of drug producing and drug trading organisations. This is a day for calling for peace for all, particularly those affected by this violence. 

International Day for Universal Access to Information September 28th – Many countries have made fact based drug education and/or have prohibited discussion around drugs. This is a day to advocate for the legalisation and funding of life saving fact based education. Check out our Just Say Know Peer-to-Peer drug education program here. 

Submit a Research Article to the Harm Reduction Journal

The Harm Reduction Journal has partnered with Filter and YouthRISE to develop a special series on “Young People, Drugs and Harm Reduction”. Submission on issues affecting young people who use drugs and harm reduction are encouraged, and should include a intersectional consideration on age, gender, sexual orientation, class, race, ability and/or geography. Submissions are considered up until September 21st 2021 and should be submitted for peer review through Editorial Manager.  Learn more about the special series on Filter and YouthRISE’s websites. 

Complete the Just Say Know Peer-to-Peer Education Program

Building a strong basis of drug knowledge and being able to provide valuable advice to your peers are key qualities of a strong SSDPer. So this summer, consider completing our Just Say Know Peer-to-Peer Education Program. This easy to use, online, self paced program consists of 12 modules. After reviewing the resources in each module you are asked to submit answers to a series of self-reflection questions, which our incredible drug education specialist Dr. Vilmarie Narloch will review and provide feedback on. Once you complete the program, you become a certified Peer Educator and can provide advice and training not only to your peers, but also to colleagues in work places, student union/government officers, frontline workers and many more people. Check out the curriculum here. 

Plan for Next Year

  1. Get in touch with nearby chapters, consider working with the chapters in your country to set national priorities & plan coordinated activities. Not sure how to find chapters near you? Email outreach@ssdp.org for more information.
  2. Set goals for your chapter for the next year
  3. Read SSDP’s Chapter Organizing Manual
  4. Make sure your chapter is trained on how to use our Chapter Activity Tracker

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