Most sessions are comprised of a 30 minute presentation followed by 15 minutes of live questions & answers with the panelists.

All times are EDT.

Registered attendees will receive the access link and code via email on May 1.

Add your favorite sessions to your calendar here.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted 3:00 pm EDT – 8:30 pm EDT.

3:00pm Opening Ceremonies

Members of the SSDP global team welcome you to the first-ever virtual drug policy conference.


  • Rachel Wissner ’11
  • Luis Montoya ’16
  • Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ’09

3:15pm Plenary: Applying a Human Rights Framework to Drug Policy

As activists we often talk about how we want a human rights centered approach to drug policy. But what does that actually mean, and what would such policies look like? It is well documented how drug control efforts around the world have resulted in serious abuses of human rights, including but not limited to: extrajudicial killings, torture or inhumane treatment by police, arbitrary detention, and denial of basic health services or essential medicines. This plenary will examine how human rights standards can provide a useful framework for drafting people-centered drug policies, and provoke a discussion about why and how we, as advocates for drug policy reform, can and should center human rights in our work.

Moderator: Jake Agliata ’11


  • Heather Haase, JD
  • Dr. Joanne Csete, PhD, MPH
  • Sanho Tree

4:00pm Decolonizing Drug Use: Positioning our movement to combat imperialism

Drug prohibition, and by extension the entire global drug control system, is an extension of colonialism. Whether through the erasure of indigenous lands and culture, violent oppression against people of African descent, or religious intolerance against minority populations, drug prohibition has often been implemented as a cover for imperialist powers to continue subjugating the rest of the world to colonial rule. This session will dive into how transnational cooperation on drug prohibition and supply eradication has allowed the oppressive legacy of colonialism to continue into the 21st century, and why our movement needs to align itself with principles of decolonity.

Moderator: Oriana Mayorga ’13


  • Dominique Coronel ’17
  • Jason Ortiz ’08
  • Ismail Ali ’14

4:45pm Interactive Group Chat: Designing The New Normal

5:30pm Lobbying for Change

“Lobbyist” may be one of the world’s longest four-letter words but positive change rarely takes place without activists meeting with elected officials. This session will feature a structured chat with legislative staff and lobbyists in the drug policy reform movement who will share their experiences in how to effect legislative change and will conclude with an interactive Q&A component. Topics covered will include how to basics like scheduling, preparing for, and executing successful lobby meetings as well as organizing lobby days and campaigns. In addition to the Q&A component, attendees will be encouraged to submit questions in advance for consideration. Whether you’ve never met with an elected official or are a seasoned lobbying veteran, this spin on traditional “lobbying 101” training will offer something for all activists of varying levels of experience.

Moderator: Michael Liszewski ’08


  • Queen Adesuyi ’18
  • Justin Strekal

6:30pm #MeToo in Our Movement II: Building the future we deserve

Last year, we exposed the institutional structures in our movement that have permitted predatory behavior and silenced people targeted by sexual harassment and violence. This year, join our conversation to develop resources for reinforcing equitable treatment and consent, addressing harms, and building a safer culture in your chapter, on your campus, and in our movement.


  • Erica Darragh ’14
  • Kat Ebert ’18

7:15pm Making the Psychedelic Movement a Social Justice Movement

The movement for access to psychedelics means different things to different people: cultural sovereignty, cognitive liberty, transformative mental healthcare, a way to dismantle internal systems of repression and look at the world in new ways. Psychedelics are also situated within a larger ecosystem of movements, such as decolonization, health justice, disability justice, drug decriminalization, rights for immigrants, and bodily autonomy. In a time when psychedelic legalization is beginning to meet for-profit healthcare, how can psychedelic advocates learn from and support these other movements? What might be some consequences if we don’t? How do we envision psychedelic healing to support systemic change and community repair?

Moderator: Ismail Ali ’14


  • Allie Wilens ’11
  • Yarelix Estrada ’17
  • Jules Hodge ’17
  • Charlotte James

8:00pm Keynote: Every Revolution Needs a New Generation: Tools for young people building a more sensible future with Ben Jealous & Steve Hawkins 

Renowned civil rights leaders and community organizers Ben Jealous and Steve Hawkins first met when Ben was a 16-year-old budding activist and Steve was an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. For 30 years, they have been friends and colleagues working together to build movements for civil and human rights. Join us for a chat about the lessons they’ve learned, bringing challenging messages and issues to the public, and building resilience for the fight to secure true equality for all Americans through empowering the next generation to lead toward a better future.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted 11:00 am EDT – 6:30pm EDT.

11:00am Designing a Healthcare System that Works for People Who Use Drugs

Health is a human right. The WHO describes three goals for universal health coverage: equity in access, quality of services, and protection against financial risk. In this session we will look into how healthcare systems both succeed and, more often than not, fail in meeting this obligation when serving people who use drugs (PWUD). We will delve into the possibilities of what a healthcare system that is designed to meet the needs of PWUD would look like.


  • Meredith Zoltick
  • Yarelix Estrada ’17
  • Alex Akin ’14
  • Laura Bartolomei-Hill

11:45am You Say You Want a Revolution: Racial justice as the critical intersection of drug policy reform and climate action

Revolutions are completed when intersecting movements align, and the intersection of drug policy reform and climate action is critical. People for Sensible Drug Culture is committed to turning out the drug policy reform movement in solidarity with Sunrise Movement and the international climate coalition’s April 22 Climate Strike. This panel will break down Sunrise’s strategy and explain PSDC’s 2020 campaign, our plans for the DNC, and our PSDC x Sunrise campaign for music festivals over the summer. We invite everyone to join us, learn how to get involved, and hopefully be moved to collaborate with their local Sunrise hubs.


  • Dominique Coronel ’17
  • Erica Darragh ’14
  • Sean Haskett

12:30pm Reducing Harm Across the Spectrum of Drug Use

Join this group of dynamic frontline harm reduction workers to explore the intricate connection between harm reduction and recovery, making connections that harm reduction is essential for the autonomy and health of drug users across the spectrum of drug use.

Moderator: Julia Hilbert ’17


  • Samantha Kerr
  • Miles Hoffman
  • Axel Nicolas Bilbao ’08

1:15pm Taking Drug Policy Reform Off Campus

Campuses are great for connecting young people, providing places for shared learning and collective discussion, and promoting common goals through shared experiences of on-campus life. They are also incredibly insular, with most of the drug policy victories occurring on campuses impacting the surrounding community over time through cultural change. How does one work to support the local community off-campus, engage in local community organizations, or keep up with the latest city news? Learn how campus-based SSDP chapters have found success through engaging with advocates in their surrounding communities.

Moderator: Randon Davis ’16


  • Zachary Deubel ’17
  • Jules Hodge ’17

2:15pm The West African Opioid Crisis

When talking about drugs and West Africa, people often discuss trafficking, but what does drug use and drug policy look like for the people on the ground? This session will take a deep dive into the causes of the West African opioid crisis, the regional and international political landscapes surrounding Tramadol and the culture of opioid use amongst students and young people. The cultural, contextual and socio-economic conditions that surround this opioid crisis are uniquely different to other opioid crises across the world. This begs the question: What is the future of drug policy in West Africa?

Moderator: Róisín Downes ’15


  • Maria-Goretti Ane Loglo ’15
  • Axel Klein
  • Ewelle Williams ’18
  • Monalisa Magoche

3:00pm Various Strategies of Drug Decriminalization

Across the world and across different movements, different types of drug decriminalization campaigns are spreading. All drug decriminalization, drug de-felonization, drug ‘re-classification’, and decriminalizing nature. What do all of these mean? What is the best way forward in eliminating drug prohibition? In this panel, SSDP members and allies will talk about the campaigns they are involved in.

Moderator: Robert Hofmann ’16


  • Jules Hodge ’17
  • Ryan Otto ’17
  • Ben Ruddell

3:45pm Drug Education of the Future

There’s no question about it: traditional drug education has failed us. As SSDPers, harm reductionists, and drug policy reformers,, we are developing new approaches to realistically educating our communities about drugs using harm reduction. In this session, we will discuss how and why drug use prevention continues to be ineffective, how we are combatting this in our communities, and work together to discuss what we envision to be our drug education of the future.

Moderator: Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ’09


  • Kevin Garcia ’15
  • Rae Elkasabany
  • Haley Dourron

4:45pm Social Equity in the Cannabis Space

While many advocates across the United States are working on getting social equity provisions in cannabis legislation, cannabis social equity work also happens on the ground. This session will focus on what social equity in the cannabis space looks like beyond policy considerations.

Moderator: Sonia Erika


  • Ross Bradshaw
  • Chris Clouds
  • Shanita Penny

5:30pm 2020 Vision for United States Elections

Coronavirus and its attendant consequences have drastically changed the outlook for the 2020 elections. Signature gathering has been called off or moved online, in-person GOTV efforts will be retooled, and voter registration will be monumentally more challenging as opportunities to reach people at large events and as they go about their daily lives are evaporating. The rescheduling of many primary elections over the past few months highlight a growing reality: engaging voters in state-based elections is as important as ever, but the available tools to do so are shrinking. Join us for a panel forecasting if and how our issues will get on the ballot and diving in to what we can do to mobilize the largest segment of the electorate in this most important election.

Moderator: Betty Aldworth


  • Matt Schweich
  • Anthony Johnson ’01
  • Sam Chapman ’09
  • Sam D’Arcangelo ’07

6:15pm Keynote: Beyond Medicine and Social Equity: Why cannabis reform must aim higher with Dr. Rachel Knox

Dr. Rachel Knox and her family have dedicated their careers and practices to cannabis medicine, defining the cutting edge in a tumultuous and rapidly emerging field and developing new ways of thinking about cannabis as a tool in integrative medicine — and in building healthier, sustainable, and equitable communities. Join Dr. Knox for a fireside chat with Jason Ortiz ‘08 to explore the intersections between cannabis medicine, the social determinants of health, and social equity and learn new ways to think about drug policy reform as a means to community health.

Moderator: Jason Ortiz ’08

Speaker: Dr. Rachel Knox

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Virtual conference sessions will be conducted 1:00pm EDT – 6:30pm EDT.

1:00pm Interactive Networking Breakout Rooms

During this session, we will break into small groups for interactive networking. Don’t miss your chance to meet fellow SSDPers and drug policy reformers from across the world!

1:45pm Supporting People Who Use Drugs Through Covid-19

While COVID-19 has proven to be devastating and challenging across the board, people who use highly stigmatized drugs are particularly vulnerable and face unique struggles in the wake of this global pandemic, particularly those who are experiencing homelessness. In this session we will hear from direct service providers and harm reduction policy experts about these challenges in our new “normal” and discuss cover policy solutions that local and national governments can enact to protect and support people who use drugs. We will also hear from the perspective of someone who uses highly stigmatized drugs living through this crisis.

Moderator: Rachel Wissner ’11


  • Kat Humphries ’10
  • Julia Hilbert ’17
  • Devin Reaves
  • Anonymous

2:15pm #CND63: What do we do at the United Nations?

We all know that ending the War on Drugs requires a global effort, but what is happening at the United Nations to make this possible? International drug policy is facilitated through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), where SSDP has had a presence for more than a decade as a registered civil society organization. Tune in as both CND veterans and first timers share what it’s like at the highest level of the drug policy creation process for youth drug policy reformers and provide an update from the 63rd Session of the CND in March.

Moderator: Orsi Fehér ’16


  • Alex Betsos
  • Ruby Lawlor ’17
  • Clement Bofa-Oppong ’16

3:00pm From the Festivals to the Streets: Psychedelic harm reduction and community mental health

How can we as a community use the skills of psychedelic harm reduction to support those struggling with a mental health crisis beyond festivals? When we see someone having a rough time on the streets, how can we engage without involving the police? Join us in this discussion of how to do your part in rerouting the mental health system to one of community and support as opposed to criminalization.


  • Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ’09
  • Irina Alexander ’07
  • Allie Wilens ’11

4:00pm Developing SSDP’s Psychedelic Pipeline: Career development and future opportunities in the emerging field of psychedelics

In this session, attendees will meet some of the mentors and mentees in our new Psychedelic Pipeline career mentorship program. We will discuss the purpose and structure of the Pipeline, the value of mentorship in this developing field, and learn about the benefits participants are gaining from being involved.

Moderator: Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ’09


  • Vanessa Grifford ’19
  • Richard Hartnell ’16
  • Azhar Ahmad ’19
  • Wesley Hale ’19

4:45pm Beyond Mass Incarceration: Wider perspectives on justice

Most members of the SSDP community agree: just ending the War on Drugs won’t end mass incarceration. Prisons represent the worst aspects of our governance: state violence, human rights violations, wasteful spending…the list goes on. For the evils they inflict, they do little to benefit society. Crime rates are largely unaffected and people sentenced to incarceration are more likely to commit new crimes after release, not less likely. When we talk about building a post-prohibition world, we also need to talk about ending the carceral state and overcriminalization. What are sensible policies that actually treat the root causes? What are sensible policies to respond to those that have committed crimes, including violent crimes? What do alternatives to incarceration look like in practice? In this panel, we’ll be attempting to answer all of these questions and more!

Moderator: Oriana Mayorga ’13


  • Janos Marton ’00
  • James Gould ’15
  • Reid Murdoch ’13

5:30pm Plenary: Shared Experience: Supporting people through problematic drug use

Supporting people through problematic drug use can be a complicated process requiring skillful navigation of interpersonal dynamics. Join this discussion for helpful insights, boundaries, and approaches to supporting people through problematic substance use. Experts will have both lived and shared experience as people who use highly stigmatized drugs and/or those with experience supporting others.

Moderator: Evan Hazlett ’17


  • Irina Alexander ’07
  • Lunadelmar Suescun ’16
  • William Miller Jr

6:15pm Closing Ceremonies

MC: Evan Hazlett ’17


  • Luis Montoya ’16
  • Róisín Downes ’15
  • Robert Hofmann ’16
  • Vilmarie Fraguada Narloch, PsyD ’09