Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) La Trobe acknowledges that legal or not, drug use among La Trobe students is a reality. SSDP advocates for drug-law reform, harm reduction, and open and honest discourse on drugs. Come to our AGM at 2pm on the 5th of August to meet like minded people and to kick off an exciting semester for the club!

AGM Event:

Despite decades of prohibition, drugs are not going anywhere. 43% of Australians aged 14 and over have used an illicit drug in their lifetime and 16.4% have used one in the last 12 months, according to the Australian government’s 2019 National Drug Strategy Household Survey.

The former Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Palmer admitted that, “Drug law enforcement has had little impact on the Australian drug market”, in his 2012 opinion article withdrawing his support for drug criminalisation. The fact is, criminalisation approaches have wasted millions and have not reduced the availability and use of drugs. Instead it has created a social stigma for users, be they recreational or addicted, and given criminal records to otherwise law-abiding citizens creating a huge socio-economic burden for Australians.

Decriminalisation and health-based drug policies have had positive outcomes in many places, and more governments across the globe are making efforts towards these approaches. Famously, Portugal decriminalized drug possession in 2001 choosing to direct users to health services instead of charging them. The country saw a dramatic drop in overdose deaths, from 369 in 1999 to only 30 in 2016

There were 1,865 drug-related deaths in Australia in 2019 according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) analysis of the AIHW National Mortality Database. While this includes unintentional overdose deaths as well as intentional overdoses, and deaths from physical injury as a result of intoxication, it is a frightening statistic and unfortunately many of these deaths could have been prevented. 

Inspired by this global trend towards decriminalisation, Student for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) LaTrobe is holding our Annual General Meeting on the 5th of August on Zoom to kick off an exciting semester for the club. We will be working alongside Harm Reduction Victoria on their Safer Partying Initiative, to work towards making pill-testing kits accessible on campus for students, as well as harm reduction seminars and more events later in the semester.

Students for Sensible Drug Policy was first founded in 1998 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and has since expanded to 28 countries, campaigning for drug-law reform and advocating for harm minimisation. SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use, instead accepts the reality of it.

If you wish to see a change in drug policy from a criminalisation approach to a harm minimisation and health-focused one, or are otherwise interested in drug-law reform, we hope you get involved and come join our AGM at 2pm on the 5th of August, and speak with like-minded people.

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Students for Sensible Drug Policy advocates for drug law form and harm reduction. Attend their AGM at 2pm on the 5th of August!