I am so excited to introduce the Sonoma State University chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy! The newest SSDP leaders are Kelly Kauffman (third from the left) and Wendy Contreras (not pictured), the newest SSDP leaders of Sonoma State University! Kelly and Wendy, both seniors studying sociology, decided to get involved with SSDP because of their sociology professor, Nicole Wolfe. Because of their leadership, passion, and dedication to the movement, they were able to get the club established on campus within one week!
Kelly, the new chapter leader, decided to get involved with SSDP after taking Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, and Sociology of Drugs and Society. “I learned about how the War on Drugs is directly linked to mass incarceration, and how having drug offenses means you can lose the right to vote. It’s also just that there is no education for drugs, so a lot of people go through their whole lives without ever having any knowledge about it. People who are sick and addicted are put into prison with rapists and murderers and people who hurt other people. It’s not okay to lock up people who are addicted to substances and leave them alone in prison.” Wendy, the new treasurer adds, “In high school, I used to think, ‘Everything’s fine, laws are for bad people.’ But now, after learning a bunch of information about the War on Drugs, I realized that it’s the laws that are bad,” referring to the inappropriate scheduling of substances like cannabis.
Although both Kelly and Wendy are set to graduate this year, they are confident that they will be able to secure new leadership for the group before the end of the year. To aspiring chapter leaders, their biggest piece of advice is, “Don’t give up! Drugs and drug policy are controversial topics, and sometimes there might be people at school who don’t want this club to exist. If you stay still, nothing will change. If you take part, you’ll be able to make a difference.” To Kelly and Wendy, SSDP is just one fact of their commitment to drug policy reform. After Kelly graduates, she hopes to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to raise awareness about the War on Drugs and fundraise for SSDP on a national level. She is also a TA for Drugs and Society.