Students for Sensible Drug Policy

38,440 supporters

Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s 4000 student members advocate for replacing the disastrous war on drugs with policies rooted in evidence, compassion, and justice. We mobilize on 300 campuses around the globe to make change from the campus to the UN because the war on drugs is a war on us.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth.

SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use, rather we respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being. We encourage honest conversation about the realities of the drug war. We promote youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy. SSDP respects the diverse experiences and identities of our constituents. We develop leaders who advocate for policy changes based on justice, liberty, compassion and reason. 

Started 3 petitions

Petitioning California State Senate

California State Senators: Vote Yes on the RISE Act

  I am writing in strong support of SB 180, the Repeal Ineffective Sentencing Enhancements Act. The RISE Act repeals the section of code that adds additional years of punishment for prior nonviolent drug offenses, a section that has failed to protect communities or reduce the availability of drugs, but that has resulted in overcrowded jails and prisons, unjustly harsh sentences for nonviolent crimes, and crippled state and local budgets. By repealing this expensive and ineffective punishment, funds will be freed to reinvest in community programs that actually improve the quality of life and reduce crime. The RISE Act would begin to undo the damage of the failed War on Drugs. The long sentences that were central to the drug war strategy utterly failed to reduce drug availability or the number of people harmed in the illicit drug market. Controlled substances are now cheaper and more widely available than ever before, despite a massive investment of tax revenue and human lives in an unprecedented build-up and fill-up of prisons and jails that have devastated low-income communities of color. Young people have also suffered as a result of harsh Drug War policies, which separate children and families and leave youth with criminal records that limit their opportunities. The RISE Act is urgently needed. Counties around the state are building new jails to imprison more people with long sentences, funneling money away from community-based programs and services. Since 2007, California has spent $2.2 billion on county jail construction – not including the costs borne by the counties for construction and increased staffing, or the state’s debt service for these high-interest loans. Sheriffs have argued for this expansion by pointing to their growing jail populations, particularly people with long sentences and with mental health and substance use needs. By reducing sentences for people with prior drug convictions, SB 180 will address the rationale for costly jail expansion, allowing state and county funds to be invested in programs and services that meet community needs and improve public safety, including community-based mental health and substance use treatment, job programs, and affordable housing. The RISE Act will reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Although rates of drug use and selling are comparable across racial lines, people of color are far more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, prosecuted, convicted and incarcerated for drug law violations than are whites. Further, sentence enhancements based on prior convictions target the poorest and most marginalized people in our communities — those with substance use and mental health needs, and those who, after prior contact with police or imprisonment, have struggled to reintegrate into society. For these reasons, among others, I respectfully urge you to vote “Aye” on SB 180 and that you use your position of leadership to encourage your colleagues to support this urgently needed reform.  

Students for Sensible Drug Policy
140 supporters
Petitioning John Kerry (United States Secretary of State)

US State Department: Stop Funding State Sponsored Murder in the Philippines

During a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila on Wednesday, July 27, US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged $32 million in security aid to the Philippines. While there is no specific information on what programs would be funded by the US, one of the main topics of the meeting between Kerry and Duterte was the intensified law enforcement efforts against drug traffickers and users in the Philippines that have left over 700 people dead since May 10th. The news of this aid package not only signifies U.S. tolerance for the human rights abuses facilitated by the Duterte administration but makes the U.S. a direct funder of state-sponsored murder. President Duterte came into power in May with a platform that called for cracking down on drug trafficking in the Philippines and has delivered on that promise since taking office. He has called for citizens, police, and even the Communist-led New People’s Army to take to the streets and kill suspected drug users and dealers, promising them protection from legal consequences. In addition to the many who have already lost their lives to the crackdown, over 60,000 additional people have turned themselves into authorities in fear for their lives should they be caught selling or using drugs. This approach deviates from the agreements reached in April’s United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS). The UNGASS outcome document calls for UN member states to “prevent any possible acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, in accordance with domestic legislation and applicable international law.” The Duterte administration's actions have violated both the consensus reached at UNGASS and its human rights obligations.   This is not the only occurrence of the United States directly sponsoring drug-related human rights abuses. In addition to the Philippines, the U.S. offers millions of dollars in annual security aid to countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, and Iran that regularly utilize the death penalty as punishment for nonviolent drug offenders. In addition, the U.S. offers hundreds of millions of dollars to Honduras for international narcotics control and law enforcement, money which is used by the state to silence and murder activists like Berta Cáceres. While the Obama administration has made it very clear they would like to see a new approach to drugs grounded in science and tolerance at home, they have not made the same commitment abroad. If President Obama, John Kerry, and the U.S. State Department are serious about global human rights, they will halt this aid package to the Philippines and all other states who use U.S. funding to violate human rights.  

Students for Sensible Drug Policy
1,882 supporters
Petitioning U.S. Senate

Pass the Juvenile Justice Reform Act

Until 1974 it was common for boys and girls in the juvenile justice system to be placed in cells with adults, subjecting them to both physical and sexual assaults. And children were put in jail for minor acts like truancy or running away from home.  The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) changed that by setting federal protections for youth and providing funding to state and local juvenile justice systems to make sure that they help, not hurt, young people. The JJDPA is up for reauthorization as a new bill called the Juvenile Justice Reform Act and it was just passed by the House of Representatives. Please sign this petition to ask your senator to support the bill next.   This reauthorization includes significant improvements to the law that will continue to protect young people in juvenile justice systems throughout the country by providing direct funding for research, training, technical assistance, and evaluation. Over 1 million children are involved in the juvenile justice system and many others are at risk of entering it due to difficult circumstances, such as poverty, broken families, and homelessness. This reauthorization will help improve many of the key areas of juvenile justice, such as reducing the placement of youth in adult jails, decreasing racial and ethnic disparities, and promoting alternatives to incarceration.  Please sign our petition asking Congress to pass the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. 

Students for Sensible Drug Policy
36,418 supporters