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Here are just a few of our recent accomplishments:
- Forced Congress to scale back the Higher Education Act Aid Elimination Penalty (HEAAEP), which prevents students with drug convictions from receiving financial aid. Nearly 200,000 would-be students have been affected by the penalty. SSDP mobilized 125 student governments to voice their opposition to the unjust policy, built a coalition of more than 300 prominent education, recovery, and civil rights organizations, and lobbied Congress aggressively for reform. As a result, the penalty no longer applies to those who are convicted of drug crimes while they are not in college and receiving financial aid. In other words, if a high school student or a person taking time off from school is convicted, their aid will not be affected when they return to school.
- Reformed prohibitive drug policies at more than 13 college campuses across the country.
- Defeated the Department of Education in a lawsuit seeking information about the number of students who have lost financial aid due to drug convictions in each state. When the Department of Education sought to make us pay an exorbitant sum to obtain the information, we sued, and The New York Times editorialized on our behalf.
- Mobilized student activists in SSDP chapters nationwide to reform campus, local, and state drug policies. In our new Campus Campaign, several chapters have already passed student voter initiatives for more sensible campus drug policies. Some SSDP chapters have passed statewide legislation and local ballot initiatives.
- Initiated debate on the validity of student drug testing at the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s student drug testing summits. By presenting data to school administrators considering drug testing, SSDP activists ensured that alternative perspectives were considered.
- Built and maintained a strong chapter network at hundreds of campuses across North America.
Has SSDP been featured in the media?
Yes! SSDP’s efforts have been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, CNN, Fox News, The Associated Press, MTV, Rolling Stone, National Public Radio, Reason, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Congressional Quarterly, hundreds of campus newspapers, dozens of popular political blogs, and many other prominent news organizations.
I’ve heard of college chapters of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) before. What’s the difference between NORML and SSDP?
While SSDP works closely with NORML on marijuana policy issues, there are some substantial distinctions between the two organizations.
- When SSDP works on marijuana policy reform, it is part of an effort to attack drug prohibition in its entirety. In addition to lobbying for changes in marijuana policy, SSDP chapters work toward such goals as repealing the law that automatically denies financial aid to college students with drug convictions and stopping high schools from implementing random student drug testing.
- Also, with a Board of Directors mostly comprised of current students, SSDP is the only drug policy reform organization that is led by students and devotes 100% of its energy to youth empowerment.