DCU SSDP to host annual national conference

By Hayley Halpin

DCU SSDP to hold their first Annual National Conference.

The 4th Annual National Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) Conference will be held in DCU for the first time, on March 11th.

Student activists, drug-researchers, harm reduction experts and doctors from across the world are expected to attend the conference on St. Patrick’s College Campus, to discuss the world of drug policy.

SSDP is an international network of students with an interest in the impact that drug abuse has on communities, with their groups around the world participating in political movements in the aim of achieving “sensible policies” around drug legislation.

With the largest SSDP society in Ireland, University College Cork has hosted the conference for the past three years. Trinity College Dublin founded their first SSDP society this year and in light of this, the Irish SSDP societies chose to hold this year’s conference in Dublin.

“This year, Trinity was the main factor. We really wanted to introduce Trinity into the SSDP as welcoming as we could because we try to have a no borders policy and keep it intervarsity,” Oscar Windbourne, DCU SSDP committee member said.

“We originally looked to try get it in the Trinity campus but they couldn’t get it. Then we thought we’d try to get it in St. Pat’s when it fell through in Trinity so that’s where it’s ending up,” he said.

According to Windbourne, one of SSDP’s main objectives is to get their message out to the public because one of the problems with being a political group is that they can “create an echo chamber and not actually think about delivering the message to other people.”

An array of drug and law organisations are due to attend the weekend and provide talks and workshops, including Katy MacLeod of Chill Welfare and Suzanne Sharkey of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition UK.

Help Not Harm, an organisation aiming to update Ireland’s current approach to drugs will also be in attendance at the conference.

“We’ve also got Hemp Ireland, which is trying to get people aware of the environmental benefits of using hemp-based products and stuff like that as well and how crazily drug legislation plays into our ability to grow hemp,” Windbourne said.

Tickets for the conference are selling at €10 for non-alumni, while students can attend for free.
Hayley Halpin

Image: SSDP