Club to tackle harsh campus drug punishments

An international club that aims to change the way drug use is treated on college campuses and fight “counterproductive” drug war policies has launched a new chapter at ASU.

Earth and environmental studies freshman Chloe Antilla is the co-founder and chapter leader of Students for Sensible Drug Policy at ASU.

Antilla said SSDP plans to educate the campus about drug use.

The club will also petition to change campus policy to create equal punishments for students caught with drugs and alcohol.

Antilla said people often mistakenly think the club is pushing for harsher punishments and is against drug use.

“Punishment and prohibition are the problem,” she said. “We are against the war on drugs, especially since Arizona has medical marijuana patients.”

The club has about 50 members, most of whom are inactive, but Antilla said it will continue to grow.

Antilla said she became involved with SSDP while looking to join a club that dealt with campus drug policy.

“I wasn't finding anything even remotely close to what I was going for. … That’s when I found out about SSDP,” she said. “I decided to create a means for like-minded people to discuss and encourage reform not only regarding policy, but mindset as well.”

Accountancy junior Leonardo Leon, one of the club’s officers, said he first heard of SSDP while at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and became involved with the club when he saw how ineffective the trillion-dollar drug war was after extensive research.

“Arizona is a key state because it shares a border with Mexico and the majority of drugs are smuggled through there,” he said. “We believe that SSDP can bring light into the issue and generate advocacy at ASU, especially through youth empowerment.”

He said the club plans to reach out to students by showing movies about the war on drugs and by working closely with other clubs and professors.

“We don’t believe that drugs are necessarily a big problem on campus, but that the policies against drugs are creating more negative effects than good ones,” Leon said.

Exercise and wellness sophomore Lucas Garcia said he believes alcohol is more damaging than marijuana, so punishments for each should depend on the amount students are caught with.

“They both impair in different ways, so if both are illegal, then there should be a similar and equal punishment,” he said.


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