Ben Jealous Benjamin Jealous is a renowned activist, civil rights leader, community organizer and 2018 Maryland gubernatorial candidate who has dedicated his life to securing true equality for all Americans and empowering the next generation to lead toward a better future. Benjamin served as the youngest CEO and President of the NAACP, and during his tenure, the NAACP became the largest door-to-door voter registration operation nationwide. Now affiliated with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kapor Capital, Ben continues to further the goal of growing opportunities for minorities in the tech economy.
Dr. Rachel Knox Dr. Rachel Knox is a certified Cannabinoid Medicine specialist who received her medical and business degrees from Tufts University after completing her undergraduate studies at Duke. She is passionate about educating her professional peers and broader public about the safety and effectiveness of Cannabinoid Medicine and believes that industry-wide engagement is necessary to maintain the highest standards of care and oversight, from seed to outcome, in the service of providing education and compassionate, wholly informed care to patients everywhere. Dr. Knox is a co-founder of Doctors Knox and the American Cannabinoid Clinics and ADVENT Academy, medical committee chairperson for the Minority Cannabis Business Association, member of the Cannabis Policy Oversight Team for Portland, OR, board member of NuLeaf Project in Portland, OR, spokesperson for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, certified member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine, and Chair for the Oregon Cannabis Commission.
Jason Ortiz '08 Jason Ortiz is a Alumni of the UConn SSDP chapter, and served on the SSDP Board of Directors twice, including time as the Chair of the Diversity committee. He currently serves on the Board of the Minority Cannabis Business Association as it's Policy Committee Co-chair, and lead the organizing around the production of a Model State Legalization Bill that brought together dozens of stakeholders of color to draft a model legalization bill written, funded and organized exclusively by people of color.
Steve Hawkins For three decades, Steve Hawkins (he/him/his) has been at the forefront of the movement to advance criminal justice reform, working to advance civil and human rights as an advocate, policy strategist, nonprofit leader, and foundation executive. Steve has served as an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, executive vice president of the NAACP, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, executive director of the American section of Amnesty International, and president of the Coalition for Public Safety. In 2018, he was selected to lead Marijuana Policy Project as its executive director.
Alex Akin '14 Alex Akin ‘14 (she/her/hers, they/them/theirs) is a long term palliative care patient and activist. During her second year of college, she fell ill with a severe degenerative condition that lead to life-threatening organ failure. Seeing the suffering that patients face up close, she became committed to increasing access to medication. Her goal is to help lessen human suffering by becoming a palliative care practitioner and working to mitigate risks caused by pain medication and opioids.
Alex Betsos Alex (M.Sc) is the international representative of Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP). They have been involved in youth drug policy for 8 years, first at the chapter level at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and have been on the board of directors for CSSDP between 2014-2016 and 2017- present. They also have a BA in Sociology and anthropology from SFU, where they looked at research chemicals and online forum knowledge generation/dissemination. Their Masters work at the University of Amsterdam explored drug checking in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and at music festivals, with a focus on peer workers and knowledge production during the overdose crisis. They currently work at the BC Centre on Substance Use as the Peer Research Coordinator for the Ethno-epidemiology qualitative research team. Alex’s interest focus on seeing the good in non-ideal drug worlds.
Allie Wilens '11 Allie Wilens '11 (they/them) is an harm-reductionist EMT based in NYC, Lenape Territory, with half a decade of experience in crisis support for people experiencing altered states. Allie worked on technical and regulatory infrastructure for 10 FDA-approved trials of MDMA-assisted therapy, held at 20 different international study locations, before leaving clinical research in 2018 to focus on earlier stage mental health interventions, such as housing, self-determination in access to healthcare, and decriminalization as prevention. Allie believes that dismantling institutional racism, paying reparations, and solidarity with Indigenous sovereignty are among the most effective ways that white people can help to heal the ecologies to which we belong. In addition to this work, Allie is developing trainings on mycoremediation and home indoor cultivation of plants and fungi, and also freelances as an editor of educational articles about drug use.
Anthony Johnson '01 A founding member of the University of Missouri-Columbia's SSDP chapter, Anthony is currently a chief petitioner of the 2020 Oregon Drug Addiction Treatment and Recovery Initiative that will allocate tens of millions of dollars for treatment and recovery services while reducing misdemeanor drug possession charges to civil infractions. Previously, Anthony was director of the Vote Yes on 91 campaign that was responsible for the Oregon Measure 91 legalization effort that passed in 2014 with over 56% of the vote. He was appointed to Oregon's statewide rules advisory committees that helped establish regulations for the state's medical and adult-use dispensaries. During law school, Anthony helped launch the efforts to decriminalize personal amounts of cannabis and legalize possession for medical purposes within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, back in 2004.
Axel Klein I am a social anthropologist with a deep interest in psychoactive substances, the way they are integrated in different cultures, become trading commodities and the subject of control. I have looked at substance use from the perspectives of consumers, parties with a professional interest and policy makers and am convinced that most of the problems associated with 'drugs' are the result of policy decisions. These are views that I seek to promote in my publications and lectures, and in ways modified by the exigencies or practical situations, when lending my expertise to UNODC, GIZ or the European Union. In West Africa I found that the widespread use of prescription medicine was a response to the inadequacies of health care provision and tough living and working conditions. Claiming it to be a drug problem was simply letting the authorities off the hook.
Axel Nicolas Bilbao '08 Axel is a peer specialist at Rebel Recovery who is from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and has experience distributing Naloxone and clean supplies since 2013, mainly while struggling with problematic use, but recently as part of an agency.
Azhar Ahmad '19 Azhar Ahmad '19 is an alumni of DePaul University 15’, one year before an SSDP chapter was founded at the school. Luckily, through serendipitous connections, Azhar discovered SSDP and his life has never been the same. With his degree in Computer Science, Azhar works as a web/mobile developer at a consultancy where he divides his time between client commitments, non-profit initiatives, and diversity & inclusion efforts. Azhar also acts as a core member for the DePaul chapter of the global organization, Azhar also participates with Stand with Kashmir, advocating for human rights and helping raise the voice of the Kashmiri people.
Ben Ruddell Ben Ruddell is the Director of Criminal Justice Policy with the ACLU of Illinois. He is responsible for drafting and analyzing criminal justice legislation and lobbying in the Illinois General Assembly. Ben joined the ACLU of Illinois in April 2015 after more than seven years in the office of the Illinois House Minority Leader, during which time he held the position of Deputy Legal Counsel and staffed the Judiciary and Criminal Law Committees. Prior to his work in the legislature, Ben practiced law in Chicago.
Ben is originally from Peoria, Illinois. He graduated from the University of California-Berkeley with a degree in political science and received his JD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He lives in Chicago and is a member of the Illinois Bar.
Betty Aldworth Betty Aldworth organized her first action, an Earth Day cleanup, at the age of 13; her fondest childhood memories include attending an annual Easter peace rally at the local nuclear testing facility and participating in anti-apartheid direct actions. Today, she serves as the Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy where she supports students and young people united to build a more sensible future through drug policies rooted in safety, justice, and education. Since joining the team in 2014, she has led the organization through its most substantial growth period including expanding global presence from four countries to more than forty. She previously served as the spokesperson and advocacy director for Colorado's successful 2012 Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol - the collaborative committee responsible for legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults in Colorado. Prior to her work in marijuana policy and medical cannabis, she was a volunteer leadership professional with some of Denver’s most well-respected nonprofit organizations, ultimately leading a team of 4,000 volunteers who contributed over 40,000 hours of service annually.
Candy Kerr Professionally Candy is a Baltimore based Outreach Organizer and Harm Reduction Educator for Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition. Personally Candy is an abstinence based witch and racial justice advocate.
Charlotte James Charlotte James is a marketing professional and creative entrepreneur who strongly believes in and advocates for the use of sacred plant medicine for radical self-transformation and community liberation. Charlotte is the co-founder of Live Nekkid, a lifestyle brand for social nudists, and The Sabina Project, a newly formed group elevating the communal knowledge and voices of POC in the plant medicine and psychedelic communities.
Clement Bofa-Oppong '16 Clement Bofa-Oppong is a passionate youth activist who currently serves as the Chair of the SSDP International Organising Committee and the Finance Director for SSDP Ghana. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History and Geography & Resource Development from the University of Ghana (UG) in 2019. Clement was formerly the National Students Coordinator for SSDP Ghana and the founder of SSDP University of Ghana chapter in 2016. He has been very pivotal to the successes of SSDP Ghana since its inception, working closely to coordinate policy advocacy with other Ghanaian chapters and with government institutions, NGOs and other key CSOs to reform drug policy in Ghana. He has received training on Drug Use Prevention Messaging by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and he is the co-founder of Happy Smiles Foundation, an NGO that reaches out to destitute children and does charitable works in dynamism. Clement is the project head for a youth led coalition group working to address the issue of Tramadol misuse by young people in Ghana. He represented students in Ghana at a stakeholders consultative meeting organized by the Parliament of Ghana to review the country's Narcotics Control Commission Bill 2019 which has finally been passed into law in March 2020. This is a means of contributing to reshaping the 30 years bill into a better one that embraces human rights and education for young people, which is the first of its kind in their African sub Region to consider progressive humane drug laws.
Clement participated in the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria in March 2020, where he met with the delegation to the CND from the African Union to discuss drug policy reform matters in Africa. Clement has received many awards and recognition as a student leader and youth activist and he aspires to be a diplomat, lawyer and a philanthropist.
Devin Reaves Devin is a person living in recovery since 2007. He is a community organizer and grassroots advocacy leader. Devin has worked on the expansion of access to the lifesaving medication Naloxone, implantation of 911 Good Samaritan policies, and the development of youth oriented systems. He wants to build constituencies of consequence that will lead to meaningful public health policy changes around substance use disorders. Devin is the Executive Director and Co Founder Pennsylvania Harm Reduction Coalition. Devin received a Master of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice with a focus on community and organizational change and has a BA in Human Services from Lynn University. Devin also serves on the Pennsylvania Overdose Task Force and the Advisory Committee for the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Dominique Coronel '17 Dominique Coronel ‘17 (he/him/his, they/them/theirs) is a junior at DePaul University pursuing his degree in political science. Inspired to activism by his own family journey, Dom fights for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice through electoral politics and grassroots movements. As Vice President of SSDP DePaul, Dom championed a successful campaign to increase access to naloxone on campus. Dom is the spokesperson for the DePaul USA Dax program, advocating for homeless college students in Chicago and throughout the US. Orphaned by the drug war, Dom knows firsthand the impact drug prohibition has on people of color and low-income communities.
Dr. Joanne Csete, PhD, MPH Joanne Csete is an associate professor of Population and Family Health at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York. She teaches and is widely published in the area of health and human rights and health services for criminalized populations, including people who use drugs. She was previously the deputy director of the Global Drug Policy Program at the Open Society Foundations.
Elise Szabo '14 Elise joined the SSDP staff in June 2017 as an Outreach Coordinator. They work out of the Oakland office guiding the chapters in SSDP's Pacific region and connecting them to the rest of SSDP’s network. Elise first got involved in SSDP as a freshman studying Philosophy at Kent State University. After leading Kent's SSDP chapter, Elise served a short term on the Board of Directors before joining staff.
Erica Darragh '14 Erica is a community organizer and harm reductionist working in drug policy reform, climate justice, and digital rights advocacy. Current roles include: Chapter director and outreach coordinator at DanceSafe, development officer at Psymposia, social media manager at Fight for the Future, hub coordinator and distributed organizer at Sunrise Movement, crisis counselor with Crisis Text Line, and an organizer with 11th Principle: Consent. She plans to pursue licensure as a psychedelic therapist and earn a PhD in consciousness studies.
Evan Hazlett '17 Evan Hazlett '17 is currently a Junior at DePaul University studying Hospitality Leadership with a concentration in Event Management and two minors in Music Business and Music Recording. He is currently the President of SSDP DePaul where he is leading several different campaigns within the chapter, and planning a variety of events focused on harm reduction and drug policy. Evan's life goal is to plan a music festival centered around social change and activism, called Floof Festival, and support his peers in activism, community organizing, and taking care of themselves and each other.
Ewelle Williams '18 Ewelle Sylvester Williams is a student activist whose concern is the War on Drugs globally. The United Methodist University SSDP was founded through his tireless work toward students activism. Ewelle is a social worker and serves humanity with great distinction, because he believes in freedom for everyone. Ewelle is also a researcher and loves reading novels. SSDP Liberia is currently working on some drug policy reform changes toward the War on Drugs in Liberia. Ewelle loves learning new things and traveling for various human rights conferences relevant to his advocacy. I have a deeper vision on ending the war on drugs in Africa. I have Network of young change makers that work to change and empower young children across Liberia. I am a Senior Student of the United Methodist University. I initiated the group call the Liberia Drug user Association, which aim toward the freedom , safety for every users across Liberia. We believe in harm reduction policy, no discrimination toward users as well.
Haley Dourron Haley Dourron is passionate about psychedelic research and sensible drug education. She is a “Just Say Know” peer educator and is the educational director of her local psychedelic society, PsyAtlanta, where she talks on topics ranging from harm reduction to the neuroscience of drugs. She also is active in the harm reduction community and volunteers with organizations including DanceSafe and N.E.S.T. She intends to on having a career in psychedelic research and is currently in the Psychedelic Pipeline Mentorship program.
Heather Haase, JD Heather J. Haase is an attorney and policy advocate based in New York City. She currently serves as in-house legal counsel to Dioscorides Global Holdings LLC (“DGH”), a New York-based investment platform dedicated to supporting innovations in the global medical cannabis industry. Heather also chairs the New York NGO Committee on Drugs (“NYNGOC”), a substantive committee of the United Nations Conference of NGOs in Consultative Status with the United Nations (“CoNGO”). While based in New York, NYNGOC is a global organization that works to promote NGO participation in UN processes around drug policy in New York, Vienna and Geneva. As chair of NYNGOC, Heather co-organized and served as Co-Chair of the Civil Society Task Force on Drugs (“CSTF”), which facilitated global NGO engagement in the high-level Ministerial Segment held at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in 2019, and was the co-founder/Vice-Chair of the CSTF for the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs held in 2016. For several years she also served as the International Drug Policy Consortium’s (“IDPC”) link to United Nations Headquarters around UN processes around drug policy. Her work with IDPC included advocating for public health- and human rights-based drug polices with key NY missions and UN agencies, collaborating with the NGO community to hold events on global drug issues at the UN in New York and Vienna, and keeping IDPC’s membership informed about UN activities and developments around drugs at UNHQ.
Irina Alexander '07 Irina Alexander is a therapist serving lower-income populations on the streets of San Francisco through the Harm Reduction Therapy Center. She is also a co-founder if Sage Institute, a sliding scale psychedelic therapy clinic, where she offers ketamine assisted psychotherapy to clients from marginalized populations. Irina has worked providing street outreach for the past 10 years using a harm reduction perspective to help empower clients as the professionals in their own lives. In her spare time, Irina volunteers as an on-site supervisor for the Zendo (a project of MAPS that helps people navigate difficult psychedelic experiences) and is an adherence rater for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA therapy trials. When she lived in DC, she was the Chair of SSDP’s Board of Directors from 2010-2012, worked for the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, volunteered as a team leader for HIPS, and advocated for DC's Good Samaritan Law.
Ismail Ali '14 Ismail Lourido Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where he supports the development and implementation of strategies to create legal access to psychedelic substances in medical, sacramental, and personal contexts. Ismail presently sits on the Advisory Committee of the Ayahuasca Defense Fund and has previously served as Vice-Chair and Chair of the SSDP Board of Directors (2017-2019). He also has worked for the ACLU of Northern California’s Criminal Justice & Drug Policy Project, as well as for the International Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where he received his J.D.
Jake Agliata '11 Jake Agliata ’11 is the Outreach Coordinator for the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and International regions, where he is responsible for advising and developing chapters and chapter leaders. Jake first got involved with Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2011 when he co-founded the chapter at Dickinson College, eventually serving as president from 2012 to 2014. In his time at Dickinson, Jake led several initiatives to re-write the school’s misconduct policies based around student safety rather than punishment. In addition to his work organizing SSDP chapters, he also manages SSDP's international program and engagement at the United Nations.
James Gould '15 James Gould '15 taught himself how to program and began a career doing web development shortly after finishing high school. Several years later, he relocated to Colorado after receiving a job offer in Boulder. Shortly after moving to Colorado, he got involved with student activism at the University of Colorado Boulder, specifically around drug policy and prison policy, and began attending the University of Colorado Boulder part-time. After several years of involvement in student activism and community organizing, he started a contract working for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, which served as his primary place of employment for a year, during which time he interned with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Drug Policy Alliance. Later that year, he founded Caniexpunge, which later became Repair Now, and the next year was elected to the Board of Directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
Janos Marton '00 Janos Marton is a born & raised New Yorker, criminal justice advocate, and candidate for Manhattan District Attorney. Janos attended Dartmouth College, where he served as Student Body President. After college he organized on campaigns across the country. He returned home to attend Fordham Law School, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude. As an attorney he has worked at a civil rights firm, on a government anti-corruption commission, and directed the successful campaign to close Rikers Island. He most recently served as campaign manager for the ACLU's national Smart Justice campaign.
Joana Canedo Joana is a Drug Policy Reformer and Human Rights advocate. Joana is working with women and gender non-conforming people who use drugs in Metzineres, an Environment of Shelter for WWUD (women who use drugs), in Barcelona. Joana is a member of the International Working Group of Youth Rise as a youth activist. Joana previously worked in advocacy and public policies at a Portuguese NGO'D - APDES on the empowerment of vulnerable populations such as PUD (people who use drugs) and at a representative/ institutional level integrating European and National Forums on Drugs, HIV, Hep C and Tb and doing action-research oriented to community inclusion on the design and implementation of drug policies. Joana has a Bbackground in Political Science and International Relations, and a Master in Economics and Public Policies, having finalized a dissertation on cannabis decriminalization and legalization [Portugal vs. Uruguay].
Joshua Alvarez Joshua Álvarez is an advocate and creative visionary focused on the intersection of movements for justice and collective liberation. He is dedicated to dismantling oppressive systems and passionate about creating new alternative and regenerative systems through solidarity-building. He is a first-generation graduate from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a business certificate. He served for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer doing community economic development in an Indigenous community in Costa Rica. He now resides in Washington, DC where he works for Frontline Solutions, a Black-owned social justice consulting firm, helping nonprofits and foundations center intersectional equity throughout their work. Throughout his time in DC, Joshua began community organizing with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and is currently active with Sunrise Movement, Mijente, and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Jules Hodge '17 Julian (Jules) is a fourth-year history major and the president of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and is running for the Board of Directors. They joined in 2017 as someone outraged at the blatant dysfunction of the drug war and have since become the social media officer for the Bay Area DanceSafe chapter, served ten months as SSDP Global’s social media intern, and become the Santa Cruz volunteer organizer for Decriminalize California. Before getting into drug policy, most of their advocacy experience came from their work in the LGBT+ community. They have worked to educate their community on queer issues since high school, and spent a summer working at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. during the Summer of Action in 2017. Currently, they are working on their Decriminalize Santa Cruz campaign to decriminalize various psychoactive substances in their town.
Julia Hilbert '17 Julia Hilbert is the Chair of SSDP's Board of Directors. She currently serves as the President and founder of her Dancesafe chapter, the Business Manager of Pittsburgh Agents of Cultural Change, and an active volunteer and intern with Prevention Point Pittsburgh. She is a student in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work, and plans to continue on to get her Master's degree in social work with a specialization in Community Outreach and Social Action. She plans to use this degree to go into work with and on behalf of people who use drugs and/or people engaged in sex work. She is passionate about harm reduction in any form, and planning to dedicate her career to ending the War on Drugs.
Justin Strekal Justin Strekal is the Political Director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation's laws to no longer discriminate against its consumers. In his role as NORML’s federal lobbyist, he focuses on moving lawmakers towards evidence-based solutions that comport with analogous substances as the United States prepares for a substantial public policy shift in regards to cannabis. Prior to working on drug policy, he focused on tax, wage, and campaign finance reform as well as managed electoral campaigns throughout the country for positions in every level of government.
Kat Ebert '18 Kat Ebert '18 is a senior at Michigan State University studying Neuroscience with a Pharmacology/Toxicology minor. Kat hopes to receive her PhD in Neuropsychopharmacology to research and administer effective treatment for various mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction. She is currently involved in a multitude of organizations including a board position for the new 24/7 Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program, a volunteer for DanceSafe, The Army of Survivors, empowHER, and was also selected as an Honors College Dean Ambassador at MSU. Kat is also the founder and chapter president of the Michigan State University chapter of SSDP, one of the largest SSDP chapters in the world. She currently researches ketamine-induced cystitis on campus and hopes to one day operate her own psychedelic research lab that focuses on the healing properties of psychedelic medicine.
Kat Humphries '10 Kat works at a harm reduction agency in Colorado. When she isn’t giving out sterile supplies for injecting drugs or conducting rapid HIV/HCV tests, she creates educational graphics about safer drug use and works to reduce the stigma around people who use drugs.
Kevin Garcia '15 Kevin is a Bilingual Medical Case Manager for an HIV/AIDS service organization in Colorado. He previously worked for the Aurora Syringe Access Program and served on the board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. Kevin holds a BA in psychology from FIU and is currently pursuing a BS in biology from MSU Denver.
Luis Montoya '16 Luis Montoya joined SSDP in 2016, after being caught with personal amounts of cannabis earlier that year. He attended SSDP2016 and was blown away by how many of his peers were making a real impact in their communities. He was president of the Florida International chapter for a year, campaigning for medical marijuana in Florida and petitioning the police department to initiate a Naloxone Carry requirement for its officers. In 2017, he applied and was chosen for the Outreach Coordinator position. After working with chapters for the last three years, he oversees the Outreach Department of SSDP as the Programs Director and is currently acting as Interim Executive Director.
Lunadelmar Suescun ‘16 Lunadelmar Suescun '16 is a bi-lingual case manager at a syringe access program in Denver, Colorado. She provides case management services and facilitates training sessions on harm reduction and overdose prevention. Luna was recently awarded a grant for implementing a community-based participatory method project through her agency. Luna first learned about the injustices of the War on Drugs and harm reduction when she joined Students for Sensible Drug Policy in 2016. Since then, she has developed a passion for drug policy reform, harm reduction, and the impacts of the war on drugs on pregnant/parenting people. Luna is pursuing a BS in Psychology with a minor in Social Work from Metropolitan State University of Denver where she is the treasurer for the MSUDenver Students for Sensible Drug Policy chapter.
Maria-Goretti Ane Loglo *15 Maria-Goretti Ane is a legal practitioner in Ghana and the African Consultant for International Drug Policy Consortium. She serves as the focal point for IDPC in Africa.
Maria-Goretti has special interests in human rights and drug policy reforms and has been involved in high level engagements and advocacy on drug use and the law both locally and internationally. She is also an author of a number of articles, research publication in the International Journal of Drug Policy on drug use and harm reduction.
Maria-Goretti Ane has also contributed to a number of book chapters on drug policy and harm reduction.
Matt Schweich Matthew Schweich joined MPP in early 2015 as the director of state campaigns where he played a central role in initiative campaigns that legalized marijuana for adult use in Maine, Massachusetts, and Michigan and for medical use in Utah. He served as advisor to the 2016 Nevada legalization campaign. In 2017, Matthew led MPP’s advocacy and lobbying campaign in Massachusetts that successfully defended the voter-approved legalization law from delays and excessive amendments proposed by the state legislature. He also oversaw legislative efforts in Maine and Rhode Island. Matthew new serves as MPP's deputy director and is playing a central role in establishing 2020 medical marijuana and legalization ballot initiative campaigns which may include Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Meredith Zoltick Meredith Zoltick (she/her/hers), MSN/MPH, CRNP is an adult nurse practitioner at Johns Hopkins University and the Baltimore City Health Department as well as at a buprenorphine clinic in West Baltimore called Desi’s Place. She provides primary care specializing in infectious disease and substance use. She is on the advisory board of the Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition.
Michael Liszewski '08 Michael Liszewski (J.D. UDC Law 2011) is an attorney and the principal/founder of the Enact Group, a lobbying and consulting firm focusing on drug policy. Prior to forming Enact, Michael was the government affairs director at Americans for Safe Access. At ASA, he was instrumental in lobbying Congress to pass the Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment and first articulated the legal theory that has enabled it protect patients, cultivators, and dispensaries from federal prosecution. Michael has lobbied and offered testimony in over a dozen states on medical marijuana issues. He currently serves as SSDP's Political Affairs Advisor and is leading the formation of the Policy Working Group.
Miles Hoffman Miles is the street outreach coordinator at Mo Network, providing a syringe access program and distributing naloxone to neighborhoods heavily impacted by an unreliable opioid supply and people at risk for overdose. He is in abstinence based recovery from IV heroin and fentanyl use. As a white transgender man living in a red state, navigating substance use treatment meant disregarding fundamental truths about his own identity. Now, Miles focuses on underserved communities who are most impacted by an unregulated drug supply and its consequential violence.
Oriana Mayorga '13 Oriana Mayorga ‘13 (she/her/hers) is a community organizer dedicated to dismantling structural oppression, promoting racial justice, and ending violence against women. She is a longtime advocate of legalizing psychedelic medicine. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University in 2014 and a graduate certificate in Harm Reduction Psychotherapy from the New School of Social Research in 2016. This fall, Oriana will be pursuing her Masters of Divinity at Columbia University's Union Theological Seminary. Oriana hopes to someday be an ordained Reverend and psychedelic therapist who is proficient at pole dancing.
Orsi Fehér '16 Orsi earned her MSc in Communication Science at the University of Vienna where she founded the local SSDP chapter that grew into a national NGO since. Orsi has been working as a Research Associate at her University and serving on the board of the NGO Committee on Drugs at the United Nations since 2018. Orsi is the co-founder and Managing Director of PsyCare Austria, a psychedelic harm reduction organisation and teaches Oracy at the American International School in Vienna.
Queen Adesuyi *18 Queen Adesuyi is a policy associate for the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of National Affairs. At DPA, she tracks all federal legislation involving issues of criminal justice reform, marijuana reform, and harm reduction, and she manages DPA's efforts to end collateral consequences and reentry hurdles for those who are criminal or juvenile justice involved. She also co-chairs the Reentry and Housing Coalition, a broad coalition of advocates with the mission of expanding access to affordable housing to the justice-involved. Queen hails from the South Bronx and is a recent graduate from Georgetown University.
Rachel Wissner '11 Rachel Wissner ‘11 got involved with SSDP in 2011 at the SUNY New Paltz chapter. During her time at New Paltz, she worked to end the “two-strike” marijuana policy and worked on the SUNY-wide Ban the Box initiative. Prior to joining SSDP staff, Rachel served as Secretary of SSDP's Board of Directors, and worked at the New York Public Research Group, first knocking on doors to raise money for their environmental justice campaign, and then as a project coordinator, helping students organize around environmental justice and higher education affordability. Rachel joined SSDP’s development staff in 2018 and has since supported SSDP’s fundraising efforts.
Rae Elkasabany Rae Elkasabany is the Chapter Head of DC DanceSafe, a nonprofit promoting health and safety in the nightlife community through popular peer-based drug education. She is an avid Harm Reductionist who specializes in drug policy reform. She is passionate about effectively educating people about drug safety, administering accessible harm reduction services, as well as racial and social justice reform. As a community organizer, she works closely with event promoters and activist organizations to provide safe spaces for dialogue about controversial topics such as drug use. Rae has spoken at numerous conferences and events that revolve around harm reduction, drug education, and social and racial justice.
Randon Davis '16 Randon Davis is a second year graduate student at Kent State University studying organic chemistry and has previously received his B.S. in Chemistry/Biochemistry and B.B.A. in Business Management from Kent State. Randy has been involved with SSDP since 2016 and served as president, vice president, and treasurer for Kent State SSDP over the last four years. He desires to pursue a career in novel psychoactive substance design and hopes to be a liaison and leader in the disciplines of chemistry, psychopharmacology, and drug policy reform.
Reid Murdoch '13 Reid Murdoch '13 is a public defender in New York City representing parents civilly accused of child neglect and abuse. Many of his cases involve parents facing child neglect allegations based on substance use, mental health, and living conditions associated with poverty. Reid locates his work alongside the fight for prison abolition, as the child welfare system ("New Jane Crow") operates together with mass incarceration as a tool of social engineering used to control and exploit non-white, poor and marginal populations. Reid served on the SSDP Board of Directors from 2014-2017. In 2013, he founded the University of Michigan Law School chapter of SSDP. In 2016, Reid led a successful campaign to expand the Good Samaritan policy at the University of Michigan to cover all substance-related emergencies. Reid is a Nebraska native and lifelong activist.
Richard Hartnell '16 Richard Hartnell '16 was once expelled by his hometown community college for having too many credits. In response, he joined a circus collective in Oakland and spent the next half-decade touring around the world. More recently, he earned a full ride from UC Santa Cruz to study cognitive neuroscience while running an SSDP chapter and an annual juggling convention. After graduating, he spent two years on SSDP's Board of Directors and as a bench scientist performing analytical chemistry in the cannabis industry. He presently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest and works remotely for the drug development wing of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, chuckling regularly about a salaried position that involves telling the federal government exactly where they are shipping sizable portions of lab-grade MDMA.
Robert Hofmann '16 Rob (he, him, his) currently works as a U.S. Movement Building Fellow for SSDP, helping chapters grow and develop in the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Regions. Rob's passion for drug policy reform stemmed from the disastrous impacts of SUNY New Paltz' two-strike marijuana expulsion policy on students. Rob later engaged in work against drug induced homicide laws and for drug reclassification in Rhode Island, before moving to DC to work for SSDP.
Róisín Downes '15 Róisín Downes '15 (She/her/hers) is the Global Program Coordinator for SSDP. She manages the SSDP network outside of the US in over 30 countries. Alongside this, she manages SSDP's international policy-making bodies and coalitions. She has a Bachelors of Business Studies International, during which she gained fluency in her third lanugage, Spanish. Róisín strongly believes ending the War on Drugs requires a global effort that includes the entire supply chain, and in her position she has the privilege of supporting members across the world working to achieve this.
Ross Bradshaw Ross Bradshaw is the CEO and founder of a Massachusetts provisional licensed retail marijuana establishment, New Dia, as well as a Board Certified Public Accountant and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt. He received both his accounting degree and Masters in Business Administration from Providence College. Ross’ background includes several years of experience in auditing, finance, and consulting, completing compliance audits for industry leading Not-for-profit, Pharmaceutical, and Technology companies. In addition to his corporate experience, Ross has several years of experience in the cannabis industry as an advocate, investor, and entrepreneur. Ross’ experience includes previously serving as Director of Operations for Healthy Headie Lifestyle, participating in the first ever cannabis business accelerator, CanopyBoulder, and serving on the MassCann Board of Directors as Treasurer. Most recently Ross serves as a Board of Director for Equitable Opportunities Now (EON) based in Boston.
Ruby Lawlor '17 Ruby Lawlor '17 (she/her/hers) is the chapter leader of University College Cork, where she's finishing her degree in International Development. This year she served on the SSDP Delegation attending the 63rd Commission on Narcotic Drugs and was also welcomed onto the YouthRISE International Working Committee. She will be continuing her work in drug policy and harm reduction with the Uganda Harm Reduction Network in Kampala, Uganda, where she lived last year while interning at the Human Rights Centre Uganda.
Ryan Otto '17 Ryan joined Reed's SSDP chapter in the Fall of 2017, and became Chapter President the following year. Their focuses are promoting harm reduction, decriminalization, and on-the-ground harm reduction services both within the school and in the wider community. Our chapter offers educational dorm talks and DanceSafe-inspired tabling at school dances. We are also coordinating support for the campaign to decriminalize small amounts of all drugs in Oregon. I am employed by Campus Community Safety as a student harm reduction coordinator, where I oversee the school's naloxone program. Since November 2017, I have been volunteering with the syringe access service operated by the Portland branch of the People's Harm Reduction Alliance.
Sam Chapman '09 Sam is the founding member of New Economy Consulting LLC, a firm based in Portland Oregon focused on advising entrepreneurs and investors in the cannabis industry. Sam recently started Safer Spaces Portland, a coalition of Portland residents, parents, business owners, health professionals, and current and former users advocating for Safe Consumption Spaces to promote public health and community safety. Sam sits on the Minority Cannabis Business Association Policy Committee where he works on crafting and implementing model ordinances to ensure equity in ownership and employment in the cannabis industry. Sam has been working with businesses in the Kratom industry over the past year to lobby for reasonable regulations at local, state and federal levels. Sam is also a licensed commercial real estate broker. He has been a resident of Oregon for 21 years and holds a baccalaureate degree from the University of Oregon in Philosophy and Political Science. In his free time he enjoys surfing and training no gi Jiujitsu.
Sanho Tree *03 Sanho Tree is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and has been Director of its Drug Policy Project since 1998. A former military and diplomatic historian, his current work encompasses the reform of both international and domestic drug policies by promoting alternatives to the failed prohibitionist model. In recent years the project has focused on ending the damage caused by the drug wars in Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Establishing humane and sustainable alternatives to the drug war fits into the IPS mandate as one of the major contemporary social justice issues at home and abroad. He has been featured in more than a dozen documentaries and frequently lectures at universities and conferences around the world.
Sean Haskett Sean is a community centered climate and racial justice organizer with significant experience in a variety of movement spaces including momentum-driven, electoral, and dense organizing campaigns. By understanding the personal is political, supporting children’s educational success and political consciousness by encouraging them to contextualize their identity. Focused on justice and equality for all races/ethnicities, all working class people, youth, queer folks, and other marginalized identities within local and national contexts. Experience in public speaking, writing, editing, leading organizer trainings, facilitating small or large groups, publishing communications campaigns, and frontloading.
Sonia Erika Prior to graduating from Harvard, Sonia Erika helped co-found the NYC Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA), an organization which strives to involve underrepresented communities in the legal cannabis/hemp industry. After CCA, Sonia co-founded the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, @MAConsumers, an organization which bridges the gap between communities, businesses, and local legislators. MRCC has successfully lobbied for homegrown, cooperatives, micro-businesses, as well as secret shopping for product testing. Sonia is currently a developer for the Cooperative Development Program at the Center for Family Life which is developing the first cooperative franchise.
Vanessa Grifford '19 After struggling with complicated mental illness all of her adult life and growing increasingly frustrated with conventional psychiatric medicine, Vanessa started looking for alternatives. A friend recently informed Vanessa that the FDA had approved clinical trials for psilocybin and MDMA, which really got her wheels spinning. She spent months at home researching as much as she could online before finally deciding last year to start over at almost 40 and pursue her PhD in pharmacology/toxicology. Vanessa is currently in her first year of her associate’s degree and has a long road ahead of her, but she is truly thrilled to be involved with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the Psychedelic Pipeline.
Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD '09 Dr. Narloch earned her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Roosevelt University, where she was a graduate research assistant at the Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy. She has provided clinical services in a variety of settings, and has taught courses in psychology and substance use disorder treatment. Vilmarie is currently the Director of Drug Education at SSDP, and the Manager of Training and Technical Assistance for Heartland Alliance Health's Center for Systems Change, where she organizes and develops professional training for state-funded substance use disorder treatment providers. Vilmarie also co-facilitates two psychedelic integration and harm reduction groups in Chicago, and is graduate of the Certificate in Psychedelic Therapies and Research program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Wesley Hale *19 Wes Hale works in the Training & Supervision Department at MAPS Public Benefit Corporation and is the Training Coordinator for the MDMA Therapy Training Program. Wes graduated with his master's degree in Organizational Psychology from San Francisco State University in 2019. During his studies, Wes was a Graduate Research Assistant in the Health and Organizational Psychology Lab, Workforce Technology Research Lab, and Employee Selection and Retention Lab. Wes completed his master’s thesis by implementing a career mentorship program to validate a person-centered support scale rooted in humanistic psychology. Wes has experience in the areas of education, training, and selection. He is passionate about helping individuals develop and actualize their capabilities. Wes believes in the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapy and research for individual and collective healing and growth and is inspired to help others connect with their calling to the field.
William Miller Jr Will is the Bmore-POWER (People, Offering, Wellness, Education and Resources) Supervisor. Bmore-POWER has a membership lead by people who have been impacted by the War on People. Bmore-POWER conducts outreach in Baltimore City, educating these communities about harm reduction, overdose, policies, and varies subjects. Will is also a member of the BRIDGES coalition, which is pushing for Overdose Prevention Sites in the state of Maryland. Will works closely with Committees United on policies such as voters registration and wage increase. Through all Will Jr's work, he is dedicated to raising awareness or preventing harm and loss of life.
Yarelix Estrada '17 Yarelix Estrada is a first-generation Latina, drug policy and harm reduction researcher, community outreach worker for overdose prevention, and psychedelic community organizer. In NYC, Yarelix is an organizer with the New York City Psychedelic Society where she works to help build a connection of psychedelic New Yorkers that is grounded in inclusivity, evidenced-based research, and community. She organizes events that are for people of color only to provide a safe space for conversations specific to their community. Yarelix currently works as a City Research Scientist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene conducting community-based substance use harm reduction outreach and research. She received her bachelor’s degree and Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, respectively.
Zachary Deubel '17 Zach Deubel '17 is originally from Chicago. Shortly after moving to Big Rapids for college, Zach became involved with SSDP, and has served as VP and President of the Ferris State University chapter. Zach majors in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Political Science. Zach has worked as a fellow for NextGen MI, and is currently an Organizer for NextGen MI