May 1st through May 3rd, hundreds of Students for Sensible Drug Policy members, alumni, community members, and allies came together from 32 countries around the globe for the first virtual drug policy conference. It was truly incredible to be able to come together and connect for an informative and energizing digital conference. Our speakers addressed some of the most urgent issues in our movement right now including health equity, supporting people who use drugs through Covid-19, climate change and racial justice, and more.  Watch the conference videos here:

Missed the conference? You can still pick up your virtual swag bag for goodies like discounts, resources from our partners, and three Spotify playlists. Check out the hashtag #sensible2020 on Twitter for awesome quotes from our speakers this weekend, browse our Google Drive folder for notes and resources, join our Slack channel for conversation, and keep an eye out for the session recordings to be uploaded to our Youtube channel in a few weeks. 

If you attended the conference, please complete our anonymous #Sensible2020 evaluation form! This was our first virtual conference, so there’s a lot to learn and your feedback is critical to developing virtual SSDP experiences in the future. Conference evaluations are crucial for us to be able to fine-tune our conference content and logistics and helps us make future conferences better than ever. Take a few minutes to fill out this quick evaluation form today.

During these difficult times, we are looking forward to more opportunities for virtual connection in the future. Be on the lookout for  opportunities to digitally connect with your SSDP family in the coming weeks.  

UPDATE May 1, 2020

Friday, May 1, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted

3:00 pm EDT – 8:30 pm EDT

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted

11:00 am EDT – 6:30pm EDT

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted

1:00pm EDT – 6:30pm EDT


Registration is still open through Eventbrite. We have changed the prices, so if you’ve already requested a full refund, we encourage you to re-register at the new rates that reflect lower production expenses.

#Sensible2020 Goes Virtual

We are saddened to announce that we must cancel the in-person #Sensible2020 Conference + Lobby Day and transition the event to a virtual conference to take place in May 1st, May 2nd and May 3rd. On March 12, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people and it was announced that federal Capitol buildings would be closed to visitors through April 1 in an effort to slow the advance of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The considerations informing that order echo our own: while such decisions can be tremendously disruptive, it is incumbent on us to think about our communities and flatten the curve of transmissions to spread out the burden on health care systems. Though we can’t meet in person this year, we are committed to delivering the same high-quality content, and are working diligently to make sure #Sensible2020: SSDP’s Virtual Conference is just as compelling to attend.

In the meantime, please read and distribute our COVID-19 Global Harm Reduction Alert for People Who Use Drugs. Visit the conference COVID page to learn more about alternate plans for conference content, the People of Color gathering, Lobby Day, Congress, and more. Early next week, we’ll be sending another message with details for each. If you are a speaker or sponsor, you can expect to hear from your SSDP contact early next week to confirm your participation in the virtual conference.

Registration fees for participants will continue to be refunded upon request. Event costs already incurred cannot be recouped and the virtual conference will incur expenses, so if you don’t request a full refund, remaining registration fees will be converted to a tax-deductible donation to SSDP’s general fund and you will be listed as a supporter of the virtual conference. If you did not pay for your registration, you do not need to take any action.  If you paid for your conference registration, you may request a refund via Eventbrite until March 27 at 4:00pm EST. To request a partial refund, simply type a note in the “message” field stating the amount of the refund request.

Don’t forget to wash your handsstop touching your face, and stay sensible,
Your SSDP International Team

About the Conference

#Sensible2020: The Virtual Drug Policy Conference,  Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s annual international conference made by and for young grassroots advocates, will bring hundreds of activists and allies together online on May 1st, May 2nd and May 3rd for:

  • Educational programming. The cutting-edge core conference program includes prominent keynote speakers and panels addressing urgent and emerging subjects in drug policy reform, harm reduction, leadership, organizing, and advocacy.

Watch videos from our last conference, SSDP2019, and check out last year’s program for an idea of what to expect.

CAT Points

Members of SSDP chapters are eligible to exchange their earned Chapter Activity Tracker points for conference registration ($25 or 25 CAT points for each chapter member). Contact your Movement Building Fellow, Global Program Coordinator, or send an email to outreach@ssdp.org to make those arrangements as soon as you can.

A note on ticket prices

Conferences are a unique opportunity for people to exchange information with others doing similar work across geographies; share information that is hard to communicate via technology; and meet the people who will be their allies, mentors, and collaborators throughout their drug policy reform careers. Conferences, though, are an inherently privileged mode of organizing with significant barriers to attendance, particularly for young people, people who use drugs, and people who work in direct service or justice-oriented policy reform. We do everything we can to minimize costs and share content broadly, but it’s still the case that hosting a conference is tremendously expensive.

We project that it will cost $319 per person to produce Sensible2020. While that does seem like a lot of money, our prices are at or below the prices of other conferences of our size and scope. We don’t view conferences as a revenue generator — in fact, in 20 years, we’ve only “broken even” once. We work hard to bring in scholarship and sponsorship donations so we can provide as many complimentary and discounted tickets as possible to student and young adult chapter members with the points they earned in the Chapter Activity Tracker. But the fact remains that we must charge for tickets; if we didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to provide SSDPers with the year-round services that keep our network strong and active.

If you are an SSDP chapter or Alumni Association member, here are some of the ways you can get discounted or complimentary tickets:

  • Get your school to fund your tickets, lodging and registration! 
  • Fundraise in your community and from your friends and family
  • Organize a fundraising event.
  • Ask your employer to send you on their behalf. (It couldn’t hurt!)
  • Use CAT points for registration and lodging (and, in some circumstances, travel assistance) if you are a chapter member.
  • Register early! Prices will go up on Feburary 7 and again on February 28. Registrations are always transferable and refundable until March 1, so if you’re on the fence, there’s no harm in getting the cheapest possible ticket now.
  • Apply for any scholarships for which you are eligible. 
  • Purchase a sponsorship or exhibitor package that includes complimentary registration(s).
  • Bring in a new, first-time corporate sponsor and we’ll award you with one free registration. Contact lauren@ssdp.org if you have questions about this.
  • Join the Alumni Association. We’ll send you a code for an additional $50 off. Members in good standing should have already received the code via email. If you believe you are a member in good standing but did not receive the discount code, please email stacia@ssdp.org

If you are unemployed/underemployed, low-income, and/or deeply impacted by the virus (i.e. health care worker, direct service provider, social worker, etc.), you are eligible for a sliding scale ticket. Please contact rachel@ssdp.org to receive a sliding scale access code.

If you are still unable to attend, join the conversation on social media or our Slack channels, and we will keep doing our best to keep those costs down next year.