Top 13 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Highlights of 2013

Top 13 Students for Sensible Drug Policy Highlights of 2013

Wow, what a year! We’re proud to share with you our top 13 highlights of 2013.

1. Launched our most ambitious fundraising campaign ever

A few weeks ago, SSDP launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo with an ambitious goal of raising $100,000 by January 7. We’ve raised over $65,000 so far, but we need your help to make it over the finish line. If you’re one of the more than 200 supporters who have already donated, thank you! Please consider asking a friend or family member to contribute today. If you haven’t yet donated, there’s no better time than now to check out our campaign video. No amount is too small to make a difference! Read more.

2. Changed drug policies on six campuses

One campaign that has always been a priority for Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapters across the country are Call 911 Good Samaritan Policies. Call 911 Good Samaritan Policies highlight the issues between health and punishment when dealing with alcohol and drugs on campus. These policies promote life-saving measures by allowing students to make responsible decisions during an emergency relating to alcohol and drugs by calling for help without fear of punishment or expulsion. This past year, SSDP helped pass 6 more campus wide Good Samaritan Policies.

– University of South Florida 

As a result of a two year campaign led by the USF SSDP chapter, the University of South Florida implemented a campus-wide 911 Good Samaritan Policy in late 2013. The policy provides protection from prosecution for simple possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia when calling for medical help during a drug-related emergency. Read more.

– Tufts University

This spring, our students at Tufts were successful in enacting a life-saving call 911 Good Samaritan policy. Tufts University’s specific policy allows for up to 2 instances of medical interventions and immunity to punishment due to substance abuse per student. The first incident results in a meeting with a professional in the Department of Alcohol and Health Education, the second incident results in another meeting as well as consultation with the student’s family or guardian. The caller of the emergency (if not also the victim) is granted immunity as well. Read more.

– Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

MCLA SSDP also brought a policy change to their campus this year. Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ Good Samaritan Policy states that no formal disciplinary action will be taken against those who report and/or are victim of a drug or alcohol related emergency. Read more.

– Roosevelt University  

After a two year battle on campus, Roosevelt University SSDP helped enact a Call 911 Good Samaritan Policy. The “Good Samaritan Protocol” adds the policy to the University’s student drug and alcohol policy, encouraging students to call for help in a drug or alcohol overdose situation. “We were fortunate that our administrators were immediately very supportive of the idea of a Good Samaritan policy, but they had a lot of questions and concerns about such a policy. These concerns were fortunately able to be put to rest almost as immediately as they were brought up, due to our preparation, planning, and resources.”, said chapter Co-President, Vilmarie Narloch. Read more.

– University of Maryland 

After proposing a measure nearly six years ago that would protect dangerously intoxicated students from university sanctions if they call 911 for themselves or a friend, the University Senate voted overwhelmingly this February to approve an all-inclusive Good Samaritan policy. The policy first passed the senate in 2011, when it was amended to only include alcohol. But UMD SSDP activists quickly mobilized to push for a policy that included all drugs, leading former undergraduate senator Brandon Levey to propose all-inclusive legislation nearly two years ago. Read more.

– Keene State College

Our students at Keene State College played an integral role in passing the Call 911 Good Samaritan Policy on campus this  year. After drafting the policy themselves, they spent a semester educating their campus about the benefits of the policy through aggressive outreach. Then, KSC SSDP students petitioned the school with majority student support for passage. Following the petition, our students worked one-on-one with school administrators to see the policy added to the campus drug and alcohol policy. Read more.

3. Reduced harm on college campuses

2013 was a big year in harm reduction for SSDP. With over 40 chapters participating in harm reduction education and activities across the US, SSDP helped promote safety and keep students healthy while promoting our message of change. Some highlights include: The establishment of Just Say Know at Virginia Commonwealth University (an educational program started by SSDP gets adopted by the university), Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Training Workshop with Roosevelt University, providing education and harm reduction services at over 50 AMPLIFY partnered concerts and festivals. Additionally, Zach Baker, Utah SSDP alumnus, helped to draft a 911 Good Samaritan bill and is currently pushing it forward in the Utah Legislature. Sensible drug policy is grounded in science and compassion, and SSDP is doing it’s part to ensure harm reduction education and policy is implemented around the world.

4. Said farewell to our former Executive Director, welcome to our new leader

While we were sad to see Aaron Houston, our former ED, leave our staff this fall, we’re so excited to add Betty Aldworth to our team! Read more.

5. Brought over 50 students to Washington DC for our Federal Marijuana Lobby Day

In partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance, SSDP brought more than 50 students to Washington DC this June for a lobby day where we met with our elected officials to urge their support for marijuana legalization and other drug policy reform issues. This event also brought together conservative leader Grover Norquist and democratic Congressman Jared Polis to demonstrate how support for sensible drug policies comes from opposite sides of the political spectrum. Read more. 

6. Joined as plaintiffs in lawsuit against NSA

In July, SSDP joined 18 other plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against the NSA seeking to stop its surveillance of telephone and Internet communications of Verizon customers. SSDP joined this lawsuit because it is vital to our members that they retain privacy in their communications with us, with the news media, with government officials, with their professors, with university officials, and among themselves about social, political, legal, religious, environmental, and economic matters that are sensitive and often private. It is vital to us as an organization that students across the nation feel free to communicate openly with us and with others about drug policy and criminal justice without fear that their perfectly legal and constitutionally protected communications are being analyzed to identify the author for potential profiling and investigation. Read more.

7. Elected new student board members

SSDP held our annual Congress at the Drug Policy Alliance Reform Conference in Denver this October. We said farewell to our outgoing student board members (Brandon Levey, Julie Roberts, Thom Silverstein, and Rodrigo “Froggy” Vasquez) and welcomed newly elected student board members (Scott Cecil, Evan Eisenberg, Alec Foster, Frances Fu, and Amanda Muller). Read more. 

8. Trained students in three cities during Drug Policy Activism Boot Camps

This spring, SSDP hosted one-day Drug Policy Activism Boot Camp trainings in Boston, Chicago and Portland. Interactive sessions and workshops were led by Aaron Houston, Stacia Cosner, Drew Stromberg, and Devon Tackels of the SSDP national staff and focused on lobbying skills, changing campus policies, getting officials on the record, working with the press, managing volunteers, recruiting, fundraising, event planning, and more. Read more.

9. Helped to bring 911 Good Samaritan Policy law to New Jersey

SSDP was proud to be a member of New Jersey’s New Solutions Campaign, where our students worked on their campuses and in their communities to promote a statewide Good Samaritan Policy. New Jersey students educated community members about drug overdose and prevention, lobbied state legislators, and wrote op-eds and letters-to-the-editor in local and state newspapers. Governor Chris Christie signed the bill into law in May 2013. Read more.

10. Hosted candidate for Pennsylvania Governor at Dickinson College SSDP event

Our SSDP chapter at Dickinson College hosted John Hanger, candidate for Pennsylvania governor (and former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) to discuss marijuana legalization and drug policy reform. As part of SSDP’s ongoing campaign to get politicians “on the record” about drug policy, Dickinson SSDP brought Gubernatorial candidate John Hanger to campus to highlight the need for drug policy reform in Pennsylvania. Dickinson students got the oppportunity to speak with Hanger about the issues that matter most to them, and successfully established a report with a high ranking state official. Read more.

11. Provided expert comment on Federal marijuana legalization bill

On February 5, 2013, SSDP joined Congressmen Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in announcing the introduction of the most sweeping proposed reforms ever to be advanced in Congress related marijuana legalization. HR 499, the “Ending Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2013” would end federal prohibition of marijuana and regulate it similarly to alcohol, deferring to states that decide to legalize marijuana. Additionally, SSDP continues to be a part of a new “Sensible Drug Policy Working Group” in Congress that brings together Members of Congress, their staff members, and advocates to help forge a new path forward in regulating marijuana. Read more.

12. Released the date and location of our next conference

Save the date! The next Students for Sensible Drug Policy conference and lobby day will take place at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn, just outside Washington DC, September 26-29, 2014. Join hundreds of students, alumni and other supporters as we gather for a weekend of expert panels, hands on workshops, networking events, and more. More details and registration will be released soon. Read more.

13. Published our Campus Drug Policy Gradebook

SSDP analyzed the drug and alcohol policies of the top 300 U.S. schools according to Forbes Magazine. From this analysis, SSDP created the gradebook, a resource which provides both a grade for each school and recommendations for improvement. Read more. 

Help us hit the ground running in 2014 by making a modest contribution to our Indiegogo crowd funding campaign. We have less than a month to hit our goal of $100,000 and we need your support to get there!