Saturday, January 30, 2010

Houston SSDP Launches Good Samaritan Policy Campaign

The SSDP chapter at the University of Houston SSDP chapter has launched their Good Samaritan Policy campaign this semester.

“Our immediate goal is to get a Good Samaritan Law passed and to encourage the students to get involved,” said political science senior Michael Blunk, founder of the UH’s SSDP chapter and member of the National Board of Directors. “Beyond that, we just want to promote any sort of policy that is going to help the students and keep them out of harm’s way.”

The chapter was covered in their school's newspaper, The Daily Cougar about their on campus efforts for a GSP and chapter leader/board member Michael Blunk gave some great quotes. In fact, about half of the article is just awesome quotes from Michael!

Pushing for a Good Samaritan Policy is one of the most important campaigns a SSDP chapter can take on. These are life saving policies that encourage all students to call 911 in the event of an alcohol or other drug related emergency. 

If your chapter wants to run a Good Samaritan Policy campaign, visit our campaign resources page and call your Outreach Director.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

UMD SSDP Starts Semester Off Strong

SSDP's rock star chapter at the University of Maryland - College Park started the semester off strong by hosting a screening of the 2004 ABC News special, Ecstasy Rising. They even managed to pull off a Q&A via Skype with MAPS Executive Director Rick Doblin!

This was an impressive event that turned out over 50 students and showcases the misinformation spread about MDMA by NIDA. Ecstasy Rising documents the drug's rise in popularity in the U.S. and discusses the real risks of MDMA use while explaining that the government's war on ecstasy was based on a study that didn't even involve MDMA and "accidently" used meth. Remember hearing that ecstasy puts holes in your brain? That's the study.

The UMD chapter is no stranger to media coverage, especially by their on campus newspaper: The Diamondback. The event, titled Ecstasy: The Good, The Bad, and The Truth was covered by The Diamondback and featured some great quotes from chapter leader and SSDP board member Irina Alexander:
“Nobody really knows where to go for reliable drug information,” said junior criminology and criminal justice major Irina Alexander, president of SSDP. “We’re not encouraging ecstasy use in any way, but we’re trying to give students the resources necessary to make decisions based on fact.”
I think this serves as a great example of how to put on a successful event. UMD SSDP covered all the bases and by working together as a team, made it clear that every SSDP chapter should and could be doing the same amazing work as UMD.

Here's some tips on putting together a great event:

1.) Decide on an event with your chapter (movie screening, LEAP speaker, etc...)
2.) Reserve a room on campus
3.) Create a Facebook Event associated with your chapter's Facebook group (if your chapter doesn't have a facebook group create one immediately and ask your SSDP Outreach Director for help if you need it!)
4.) Create posters and put them up in high-traffic areas on campus
5.) Ask your faculty advisor or other teachers to offer extra-credit to students that attend the event.
6.) Send a press-release to your school's paper and local media. (It's easier than you think!)
7.) Ask other groups on campus to co-sponsor.
8.) Provide refreshments like coffee, soda, and pizza.
9.) Table on campus the day of the event and hand out 1/4 sheet flyers.
10.) Be prepared. Bring email sign up sheets, pens and SSDP materials and encourage people to join SSDP.
11.) Have fun!

All of those steps together (minus tabling) probably take about 1.5 hrs of time! Less if you can delegate responsibilities effectively.

Sure, I left out some aspects like getting funding from your school, but that should never hold you back. Screening documentaries will often not cost your chapter a dime and can create a large turnout if publicized right. Plus,  I don't want to spoil everything you will learn about organizing events at SSDP's 11th Annual International Conference!

So come on SSDP! Who's gonna out do UMD?

Monday, January 25, 2010

5 Days in Jail for Possession of... Candy

A lot of SSDP chapters hold seminars on knowing your rights as a citizen, and knowing how to handle encounters with police officers. The main takeaway from these events is that you should ALWAYS say NO to search requests from police officers. This recent story demonstrates perfectly why you do this, even if you know you're not guilty of anything wrong.

From the New York Post: Two Bronx men free after ‘drugs’ turn out to be candy via Drug WarRant via The Agitator

Two Bronx men were locked up and left to rot in a filthy jail cell for nearly a week after a pair of cops mistook their candy for a bag of crack.

The “drugs” were finally tested five days later and determined to be popular Coco (coconut) Candy. The charges were dropped. [Emphasis added]

These were two innocent citizens, who let the police search their vehicle knowing they had nothing illegal on them. Too bad you aren't even required to be breaking the law to go to jail for five days. Think of the impact that had on their lives: five days without work (or school), five days away from their family, five days growing to distrust the police, etc. I want you to imagine yourself in this position? Doesn't sound too fun does it?

We must also not forget they were jailed at YOUR expense, since taxpayers had to pay to hold them in that cell for those five days. YOU also had to pay for the drug tests that determined the "crack" was actually just candy. It's an incredible waste of money, and a direct consequence of the War on Drugs.