SSDP launches new “Sesh Safe” campaign

A drug test kit, similar to ones being introduced by SSDP as part of their "Sesh Safe" campaign

DCU Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) launched their new project, SeshSafe, on Monday 21st of August, which aims to introduce drug testing kits, tools and skills for student drug safety and education.

SSDP was founded in Washington DC in 1998 as a grassroots network designed to connect and mobilise students who are concerned about the effects of drugs but disagree with the War on Drugs.

“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,” said DCU SSDP Chairperson, Eleanor Hulm.

The campaign is largely funded by donation, and DCU SSDP aims to use money raised to contribute to more harm reduction tools.

“SeshSafe aims to greatly reduce the harms of risky behaviour. How? By equipping people who choose to use drugs with knowledge and tools to stay safe when partying… The major thing is drug testing kits. This is something which has been a while getting implemented, but it’s here and it’s happening and that’s just so great,” Hulm said.

SeshSafe began its first week with a fundraising bake sale on Tuesday, to raise money for the campaign. DCU SSDP and Students for Sustainability in Human Lifestyles hosted a documentary, Bringing It Home, on industrial hemp that evening.

The campaign comes at a time  that drug use is topical in Ireland, as medical marijuana was tabled for debate in the Dáil by Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, and later dismissed by the Government in a vote.

An Irish woman, Vera Twomey-Barry, began a 300 km walk to Dublin from Cork to urge Minister for Health, Simon Harris and the Government to enact legislation legalising medical cannabis use.

The walk came as a solution to the condition of Twomey-Barry’s daughter, Ava, who uses a form of medical cannabis oil called Charlotte’s Web to treat her seizures from Dravet syndrome, a rare genetic dysfunction of the brain.

Hulm said that it is important to have a public debate on drug laws in Ireland, and said that students are particularly in need of education.

“Drug education is totally needed, without a doubt. Without education, and nowhere to get it due to stigma and shame imposed by society, people are at a huge risk of overdosing, cocktailing and experimenting with drugs in ways which could be ultimately fatal,” Hulm said of student drug use.

DCU SSDP will continue their campaign with the deployment of drug testing kits and events aiming to provide information and education. Hulm said that the overall response to the campaign DCU SSDP was good, and students are eager to engage with SSDP’s work.

“There is a profoundly positive response from students. From those who use drugs, and from those who don’t. The general consensus is that it, simply, makes sense.”

Conor O’Doherty

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