We’ve expanded our staff! We have two new Regional Outreach Coordinators, Jake Agliata and Scott Cecil, and one Administrative and Development Assistant, Christopher Cronk. SSDP’s total staff is now six people.
Administrative and Development Assistant
Christopher is originally from Maryland but has lived in the New York and San Francisco areas for several years each. This will be his first time working in drug reform. He views the legalization of marijuana as an individual liberty, “regardless of the consequence garnered from the expression of such liberty,” he states. He believes that our society has a perception about drugs and drug users that is inaccurate and harmful to the greater public.
Regional Outreach Coordinator
Jake joins us from Carlisle, PA where he attended Dickinson College. Jake co-founded an SSDP chapter during his sophomore year and served as President until accepting the job at SSDP HQ. He considers developing an organized group of activists one of the greatest accomplishments of his lifetime. During his time at Dickinson College he also interned with the U.S Army War College in Carlisle and worked on global peacekeeping initiatives.
Regional Outreach Coordinator
Scott, from Omaha, NE, co founded an SSDP chapter in Arizona at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. He served as a chapter leader for two years and was then elected to SSDP’s Board of Directors in October of 2013. He was able to gain extensive knowledge about lobbying of elected officials, policy research, and political writing. Scott expresses that he is not content with living life oblivious to the sufferings of others. To him, legalizing marijuana is sensible because he does not believe in criminalizing people for drug use using only arbitrary and unscientific data.
All three of SSDP’s new members are conjointly passionate about drug reform. “By negating ineffective drug policy we can create a safer, more open society that meets substance abuse with therapeutic aid rather then litigious consequence,” Chris states. He sees prohibition as a dangerous underground that can undermine communities.
Jake values a progressive society that challenges old perceptions, expressing that “drug use is not the cause of a broken society but rather a symptom of one; people use drugs as a diversion from their greater problems.” He plans on developing different societal views of drugs and drug users, which correlates with finding solutions for social issues such as poverty, climate change and civil rights. Jake points out weaknesses in some other drug policy reform groups he has experience with: “They assume the statistics, science, and personal stories will speak for themselves. I found that once my chapter began to approach drug reform as one part of a larger issue, we gained a lot more support from people with like-minded ideas about building a more progressive, just society.”
Scott has similar views of how drug reform affects broader aspects of social injustice; he considers the drug war to cause massive, unnecessary suffering in the world. He states, “I can scarcely think of any other societal problems that we face which are not directly or indirectly connected to the war on drugs.” Like any other activist Scott has learned from trial and error, reflecting “I am in a position where I can share not only my successes but also my mistakes so that others may avoid them and become an effective advocate faster than I did.”
Jake will serve as the Outreach Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic, Mountain, Northeast, Pacific, and International Regions. Scott will serve as the Outreach Coordinator for the Heartland, Midwest, Southeast, and Southwest regions.