Students for Sensible Drug Policy Otepoti
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an organization which seeks to involve students in education and advocacy regarding substance use policy. This Otago chapter was born out of a concern that current University policies are neither adequate, robust, or realistic enough to address the phenomena of substance use within student populations. This organization will serve as a platform for concerned members of the student population to identify perceived issues regarding substance use and advocate for development of more effective policy and services to address them.
We specifically advocate for the minimization of harm and the promotion of educated, safe practice. This organization will neither discourage nor condone any substance use, much in the same way safe practice is dealt with through sex education programs.
Sister chapters are co-developing at the University of Auckland and the University of Wellington. We will be synergizing our efforts to make national headway in policy reform; however, this Otago chapter will focus itself primarily at the local level.
Preliminary organizational meetings have produced project templates which we hope to undertake. These include:
Substance use surveys of student populations
Advertising campaigns promoting substance awareness and safe-practice
Liaising with OUSA to develop on-site harm reduction services at events
Constructing a resource library to be made available to students and staff
Coordinating with University policy makers to draft more effective legislations
We invite any concerns and comments from members of the University and OUSA to be expressed to members of this group. Our goal is to be a transparent and inclusive organization, which seeks to work within the University system and alongside those who maintain it in order to develop effective policy reform strategies. Any action executed through this organization will be grounded in evidence and vulnerable to ethical scrutiny.
It is through cooperation that we can work to increase the safety of students and equip and educate staff on the issue of substance use occurring in student populations, and generate awareness about substance use occurring within that population.