By Jake Agliata 

Earlier this week we announced the launch of the International Activities Fund, which will assist SSDP activists around the world who don’t have access to the same resources often used by young people in the United States. Our goal is to raise $10,000 during the month of July to kickstart the fund. Today, we want to share a story from Marisa Morales, an SSDP leader in México.

Estudiantes por una Política Sensata de Drogas México (EPSD), the Mexican chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, was founded in 2010 by youth activists in Mexico City. Since former President Felipe Calderón openly declared a War on Drugs in 2006, failed drug policies have led to many deaths and disappearances in our country. México has experienced a period of violence that has particularly affected the youth population. For this reason, a group of concerned young people decided to form an SSDP chapter in order to counteract the harm caused by the War on Drugs. Our goals are to influence public policy through communication with government officials and to develop a drug education program. We want to inform people about the effects of drugs and drug policy using scientific evidence and without moral judgments that stigmatize drug users. EPSD members are currently present in 14 Mexican states, which is important because we need members in different parts of the republic and not only in Mexico City. Now that our voices are being heard and we are starting to have an impact in our country, we are optimistic about the changes we can make.

The current prohibitionist drug policies in México only focus on security instead of health. The government has invested a lot of money in the issue, but the expected results of ending drug trafficking and reducing drug consumption have not been achieved. That is why it is important to push forward reforms that focus on health and respect for human rights that protect people who use drugs and even those who do not use drugs.