Acting Regionally: SSDP Conferences from Binghamton to Santa Barbara
Each fall, Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s regional conferences bring students, alumni and community members in their respective areas together for knowledge sharing and community building through interactive workshops, educational discussions and networking.
We kicked off the fall season on October 6 at SUNY Binghamton in New York State. After welcoming remarks by former SUNY Binghamton SSDP Chapter Leader Grant Leow, I along with fellow SSDP staffer Hannah Procell led a cultural competency training session where we discussed racial bias in drug policy enforcement and the U.S. prison system and read some anecdotes of peoples’ first-hand experiences with being targeted by law enforcement. It’s important that incoming activists understand this and incorporate it into their advocacy.
The next session was a panel on harm reduction featuring Truth Pharm founder Alexis Pleus, SSDP alumnus and harm reduction counselor Garrett Reuscher and harm reduction psychotherapist Eddie Einbinder. The three experts explained the principles of harm reduction and the best ways to argue for it to prohibitionists, and also how to support a loved one struggling with use without compromising their autonomy.
Then SUNY Binghamton graduate student Kevin Revier presented “Stories from Jail: Harm Reduction Through an Abolitionist Framework,” which focused on the