Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

“About – SSDP

Mission and Values Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is the largest global youth-led network dedicated to ending the War on Drugs. At its heart, SSDP is a grassroots organization, led by a Board of Directors primarily elected by and from our student and youth members. We bring young people of all political and ideological orientations together to have honest conversations about drugs and drug policy. We create change by providing a platform where members collaborate, communicate, share resources with, and coach each other to generate policy change, deliver honest drug education, and promote harm reduction. Founded in 1998, SSDP is comprised of thousands of members in hundreds of communities around the globe.

Mission Statement Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact of drug misuse on our communities, but who also know that the “War on Drugs” is failing our generation and our society.

SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future. SSDP does this while fighting back against counterproductive policies – in particular, those that directly harm students and youth.

Key Values Shared power and authority

Youth-controlled agenda

Collaboration and partnership

Constituent-specific strategies


Diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism

Values Statement SSDP neither condones nor condemns drug use. Instead, we respect the right of individuals to make decisions about their own health and well-being. We promote youth civic engagement as a critical tool in reforming drug policy. SSDP respects the diverse experiences and identities of our constituents. We develop leaders who advocate for policy changes based on justice, liberty, compassion, and reason.

SSDP’s Structure as a Grassroots Organization SSDP is comprised of youth-led chapters across the globe. Any young person can start a chapter on their campus or in their community. While SSDP has a variety of campaigns and actions anyone can support, chapters are encouraged to address the most urgent issues in their communities. Annually, SSDP members convene for a global conference where young people acquire essential community organizing and activist knowledge and skills, forge bonds to support lifelong advocacy, and govern the organization through voting on resolutions and electing student Directors of the Board, who fill two-thirds of the seats on the board.

The Board of Directors is responsible for organizational governance, fundraising, and strategic direction. Directors select and oversee SSDP’s Executive Director, who is responsible for tending to both the day-to-day operations of the organization and its long-term direction. The Executive Director oversees SSDP staff , who exist to serve and represent SSDP’s chapters and activists.

Legally, SSDP consists of two separate, distinct entities – Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation and Students for Sensible Drug Policy Inc. The former – as a 501(c)(3) organization – engages in education and outreach. Donations to SSDP Foundation are tax-deductible. SSDP Inc. – as a 501(c)(4) organization – engages in advocacy or attempts to affect change to law and policy. Accordingly, donations to SSDP Inc. are not tax-deductible. Click here to read SSDP Foundation’s bylaws.


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