Written by Florida Campus Coordinator Colin Fitzgibbon
After about a year of inactivity, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter at the University of Miami is back with a vengeance. SSDP Florida Campus Coordinator Colin Fitzgibbon, an alumnus of the university who still lives in the area, restarted the chapter from scratch by visiting campus and seeking out new recruits. Within just a few weeks, UM SSDP had their first meeting, elected its officers, and started tabling regularly again to build their network of supporters.
So far, the chapter has raised enough money from the school to send four of its members to the SSDP 2016 conference and has organized several events, which included a “pot brownie” sale in the breezeway (non-special brownies served out of a cooking pot) and an event to educate the student body about harm reduction related to “Molly” (what is supposed to be pure MDMA, but what most often is not) and other drugs popular in the electronic dance music (EDM) scene.
As an international hub for EDM, Miami is home to Miami Music Week and Ultra Music Festival, annual celebrations of EDM culture that take place for one week and weekend every March. With these events comes a noteworthy amount of drug consumption, most notably of “Molly” or ecstasy (MDMA). Because of the notoriously impure nature of “Molly” in Miami and in other areas of the world in this day and age, UM SSDP decided to hold their harm reduction event in the middle of Miami Music Week, right before the weekend that Ultra Music Festival took place.
Despite SSDP’s successful efforts to raise awareness about these issues, the university unfortunately suffered the death of one of its students at Ultra Music Festival due to complications associated with drug use. In light of that, the university’s Student Health Advisory Committee is attempting to collaborate with UM’s SSDP chapter in order to change campus policy to allow free adulterant screening for all students that choose to use these drugs so that they can know the purity of substances they plan to consume to reduce the harms associated with them.
You can stay updated about UM SSDP’s activities by joining their Facebook group here.