I found SSDP through the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) website.
What made you decide to start a chapter?
I decided to start a chapter of SSDP because I am interested in the field of drug policy, specifically as it affects mass incarceration. Knowing that nearly half the world’s prison population is locked up in “the land of the free,” my home country, is devastating. I hope that my work with SSDP will assist in ending mass incarceration.
What has the reception been like on campus?
At our first meeting we had a turnout of 10 students and a few community members. The students who have attended our meetings are very passionate and knowledgeable about drug policy. Some students already have experience in the field. Staff have been very supportive of the cause. IU’s student-run newspaper, Indiana Daily Student, published an article after our callout meeting.
What are some of the things you have planned or want to plan for next semester?
We are planning to do a 4 part showing of the History channel’s “America’s War on Drugs” on campus. We are working to change our current Good Samaritan Policy to an expanded policy that protects all parties and all substances. We hope to bring in a few guest speakers to discuss the correlation between drug policy and mass incarceration. We are also planning to volunteer with a needle exchange program since the opioid epidemic has affected Indiana.
What is the most challenging part of your experience starting and running the chapter so far?
The most challenging part of starting the chapter is navigating how to use campus resources since it’s all new to me.
What is the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part so far has been brainstorming ideas with Zach and other students about the possibilities of the chapter. Connecting with peers who are also passionate about drug policy has been very exciting.
What are you most excited about in drug policy right now?
Indiana Republican Representative Jim Lucas has announced he is going to introduce a bill in 2018 to legalize medical marijuana in the state. I look forward to our chapter assisting in these efforts. I am MOST excited about Senator Cory Booker’s bill referred to as the Marijuana Justice Reform Act which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act.
What is your vision for IU SSDP? Where do you see your chapter in a year? In 4 or 5 years?
I see IU SSDP providing welcoming atmospheres for educational conversations about drug policy that uncover how the war on drugs affects us and our community. A year from now, I hope that IU SSDP has created mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded student organizations and community groups. Four or five years from now I would love for the acronym SSDP to be recognized on campus and associated with a major event the group hosts each year that furthers the mission “just say know.”