Students for Sensible Drug Policy hopes to reform CWRU’s handling of alcohol, drug violations

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Case Western Reserve University is joining over 150 other college campuses in Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international grassroots organization that looks to educate people on the harmful effects of drug abuse and the war on drugs.

“I want to bring people together to have honest discussions about drug policy, drug addiction and the drug war,” said Randall Hoyle, a graduate student in entrepreneurial biotechnology who is hoping to bring back CWRU’s SSDP chapter, which has been inactive since 2011.

SSDP’s main goal on campus is to reform CWRU’s Good Samaritan Policy. Good Samaritan Policies, also known as Medical Amnesty Policies (MAPs), protect people who call for medical help in the case of an alcohol or drug overdose from the threat of punishment.

According to a 2006 research paper in the International Journal of Drug Policy, a two-year study at Cornell University, after the implementation of their MAP, resulted in fewer students saying they would not report an overly intoxicated person for fear of retaliation against themselves.

SSDP grades schools on their drug and alcohol policies, including their Good Samaritan policies. Each school starts with an average of a C grade, with “positive” policies, like Good Samaritan Policies and clearly defined sanctions focusing on treatment and education, raising the grade and “negative” policies, like zero tolerance policies and sanctions focused on punishment, lowering the grade.

CWRU received a C via their grading system. SSDP’s website does not reflect the fact that CWRU does have a Medical Amnesty Policy, which was updated in 2014; the website is working off of policies not updated since August of 2012.

“[It is] unclear which sanctions apply to which violations, though the existence of rehabilitative activities suggests a positive balance between punishment and treatment,” reads the SSDP website.

Hoyle organized a tabling event in the Tinkham Veale University Center on Sept. 20 as part of the Psilocybin 920 Day of Action. At the event, Hoyle recruited for SSDP at CWRU, as well as distributed information about the benefits of psilocybin mushrooms as medicine.

“920 Day is essentially a day of raising awareness for the use of psilocybin mushrooms for the treatment of stubborn mental health disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression and addiction,” said Hoyle.

Hoyle says that he met dozens of students interested in joining SSDP at the event, who will soon start meeting regularly. He hopes to find a faculty advisor and eventually get the group recognized under the Undergraduate Student Government.

“It’s controversial, talking about illegal substances,” said Hoyle. “I’m just envisioning a future where we can talk about these things without judgement.”

Updated on 9/26 at 10:00 am to reflect the fact that CWRU does have a medical amnesty policy as of July 2014.