To all of our lovely SSDP members and our outstanding allies, we are excited to wish you all an absolutely fantastic 2018 school year!
Myself, and my fellow Executive Officers of the new 2018 Committee, are absolutely thrilled to finally have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and greet all the wonderful people in our network. Together we are exceptionally excited be able to meaningfully work within SSDP Australia, whilst also promoting the organisation within the wider drug policy reform movement during. However, none of this would have ever been possible without four absolutely amazing people, whose hard work –often to the point of even sweat and tears – and the their unrelenting dedication to pursuing drug policy reform founded in evidence, compassion and human rights. Together these individuals represented not only the previous Executive team but indeed the the very first Executive Committee for SSDP Australia. You all have our sincerest appreciation support and we will shall continue to be greatly indebted to your kindness and support for years to come.
Thank you Penny Hill, (President), Ash Blackwell (Vice President), Chloe Span (Secretary) and Margie Iliescu (Treasurer) for your hard work and dedication.
In under just two years’, SSDP Australia have established 6 affiliated university chapters in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and had student members speak at numerous international drug policy conventions including the United Nations. We are very excited to continue this growing momentum by harnessing resources to fund our prospective advocacy campaigns and continue to develop a youth voice.
However, activism is a peculiar practice. In my experience, activists are not simply driven by a desire to disrupt the status quo for disruptions sake. Rather, their actions emerge out of a need to challenge injustice. United by passion, empathy and a sense of responsibility, activists do what they do because they see no alternative. This may be why, as activists, we become riddled with guilt and shame – as if we are simply rolling over to society’s injustices – when we reach our personal limits and burn out. Such experiences, challenge us to accept and take ownership for not only our personal inadequacies but also those of our organisation. It is here that we must admit: we cannot do this alone. We cannot change society without asking society for change. We many not alway manage to enanage meaningly with everyone, but we can ask our allies, and their allies’ allies for support.
So here we are, asking for help. It is not the first time we’ve asked for help, and it certainly won’t be the last. Indeed, we want your help to make our calls for help louder! We need your expertise, skills, your time, your social networks, your political connections, your social capital, your advice, and your financial support.
If you are able to lend a hand financially, please head to the Donate button at ssdp.org.au
Your contributions, of whatever size, will help drastically in meeting the many administrative costs involved with running a national, volunteer-based NGO, and give us the breathing space to prioritise the work that needs to be done.
I feel and believe that improving society’s relationship with drugs is my life’s purpose. But learning how to communicate that to everyone is hard. Decades of state-condoned propaganda have left us with many layers of stigma and misinformation to negotiate (both within ourselves and others). We may claim that the ‘evidence’ is on our side, but even academic consensus is not enough to win this war. It takes persistent grassroots effort, and constant innovation.
Since our inception we have been consistently overwhelmed by the vast numbers of students from around the country. Since our inception, it has been imperative the maintain engagement with new members by cultivating their energy on the spot. To keep up with the growing demand of many young people, we call for your support in raising enough money to sustain this work:
Helping to implement Australia’s first scientifically measured drug checking trial at a music festival for people over the age of 18.
Contributing to the participation of student speakers who present at drug policy conferences locally and globally.
Strengthening the relationships between individual students and academic researchers who can guide professional maturity and
Encouraging linkages between young people and peer-support networks as Harm Reduction Victoria’s Dancewize and NUAAS Dancewize NSW program which teaches drug safety education and harm reduction.
Communicating to young people their experiences are valid and have a role to play in the planning of future alcohol and other drugs policies throughout Australia.
As a peer-led organisation, we are uniquely positioned to mentor and facilitate the development of young people who are keen to pursue their curiosity as ambassadors of compassionate and evidence-based drug policy. We are a non-partisan organisation that does not support harmful and dangerous substance use of any kind, licit or illicit and sees the loss of life to that of untested and unregulated drug use as a rock bottom for this country.
We have been entirely overwhelmed by the interest of students around the country. Over this duration, it has been imperative to engage with new members by cultivating their energy on the spot. To keep up with the growing demand of many young people, we call for your support in raising enough money to sustain this work.
Thank you for your support!
Alice Pierce, Secretary
On behalf of
The Executive Committee 2018:
President, Nicholas Kent (Charles Darwin University)
Vice-President, Gulliver McLean (University of Melbourne)
Secretary, Alice Pierce, (University of Sydney)
Membership Officer, Tara Schultz (RMTI University)
Communications Officer, Phoebe Logan (RMIT University).