Joining SSDP: What are my options?
SSDP is a grassroots network that consists of chapters and ambassadors. Chapters are groups of people that can range in size. Ambassadors are individuals who wish to carry out SSDP’s mission. Typically, Ambassadors tend to focus on specific projects, committees, or topics, whereas chapters are often more variable. Oftentimes, people will begin their journey with SSDP as an Ambassador and grow into a chapter.
What do I need to do to start an SSDP Chapter or become an SSDP Ambassador?
In order to be recognized as an official chapter or ambassador of SSDP, you must do the following:
- Attend an orientation or have a one-on-one phone call with a member of the outreach team
- Hold regular meetings (chapters only)
- Submit a planning document to the outreach team
So chapters can do whatever they want?
Almost, but not quite. Being part of an international organization requires a commitment to theof that organization. For example, since the organization “neither encourages nor condemns drug use,” encouraging people to smoke cannabis is not OK. However, encouraging people to change cannabis laws or to learn more about Cannabis and safe cannabis use is more than OK. We also encourage members to challenge what they think they know about drugs and the people who use them, especially for highly stigmatized drugs like heroin, crack, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. It’s important to recognize that a lot of the common expressions, myths, and terms were created to justify violence against people who use drugs, and comments like “at least it’s not heroin” or “it’s not like I’m injecting” assume that there’s something inherently wrong with people who engage in the use of either. As a rule, SSDP activity is focused on advancing human rights protections for people who use drugs, both in our work and how we show up.
Where do I start?
Do I have to pay dues to SSDP?
No, you do not have to pay dues to SSDP. Your commitment to drug policy reform is payment enough.
How do I receive recognition from my school?
Each school has its own process for recognizing organizations, and this process is usually explained in a student handbook. The best places to start asking around for information about starting an organization are the office of student government, student affairs, or the office of student involvement. Many universities require student organizations to have faculty advisors, so a good first step is always to reach out to professors who you think may be supportive of drug policy reform. Additionally, most universities require a small number of signatures from people saying they are interested in being involved with your chapter – around 5 to 10, including 3 people pledging to be in leadership positions. If you want advice on recruiting people, please contact our Outreach Team. You should also draft up a chapter constitution, as many universities require one. You can download sample constitutions here.
What’s the difference between SSDP International and SSDP Foundation?
SSDP International is an independent organisation with members in over 30 countries, which occasionally partners with SSDP Foundation (US) on different programs and shares some resources. Students for Sensible Drug Policy International is an international grassroots network of students and young people, led by students and young people who are advocating for policy reform on the local, national, continental and global levels. SSDP International promotes youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy and develops leaders who advocate for change, based on justice, liberty and compassion. SSDP International mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in political processes. Their members operate locally and are connected globally to reduce the harms of counterproductive policies–in particular, those that directly harm students of all ages and youth–and to represent the rights and interests of this population.