I am thrilled to introduce Camila Gerardi of Bakersfield College chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. She is a third year at Bakersfield studying Criminal Justice with an interest in drug peer education. She hopes to transfer to a school in Colorado next year to continue her studies in criminal justice. Camila decided to get involved with Students for Sensible Drug Policy because she believes that those who suffer from addiction suffer from a disease, and in order for their disease to be cured, they need the proper help. “In Bakersfield, CA, kids are raised around harder substances like methamphetamines and heroin. A lot of kids start around 15 or 16, and they mainly start because family members are already addicted. That’s essentially the only life they know – it seems like everyone knows someone who’s died from drugs.” Given the problems in Bakersfield, she hopes to start a conversation about what SSDP can do for the community, so that kids who were raised around these harder substances don’t feel as though it’s their only path in life. She also hopes to create a SafeRide program, as drunk driving is a big problem on campus. “To me, a sensible drug policy is one that would decriminalize substances. It wouldn’t decriminalize the distribution of substances, but rather those caught in possession. Instead of being given a misdemeanor or felony, law enforcement could give them resources to where they can get help. And these rehabilitation centers would be federally funded.” She is currently a volunteer at DanceSafe, which educates people on common substances found at clubs or music festivals. Her advice to SSDPers is, “FInd something that lights your fire. Once you find whatever may ignite that fire, you can’t ever stop that fire from going out. And if creating a more sensible drug policy for your community is what you’re passionate about, then give it more gas!” Outside of SSDP, Camila really enjoys dancing. She has been involved in musical theater since she was able to walk, and has been attending raves since she was 13 years old. She loves contemporary and hip hop – they are very different, but beautiful in their own way.