Note: This interview has been edited for clarity, readability, and concision.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In brief, how did you get involved with Canadian drug policy?
Adnras Lenart: My original interest in drug policy stemmed from personal experience with psychedelics. Following that, I became interested in the policies and history of the reasons for these substances being illegal, and seeing things that could be done. So, I joined CSSDP.
I joined the McGill chapter last September. I found out about them in the summer of 2015. Andrew and Nancy, two of the McGill chapter members, were starting the McGill chapter. I became involved with it. In December of 2015, I joined the board of directors.
Jacobsen: With respect to being on the board of directors for the CSSDP, what tasks and responsibilities come with this position?
Lenart: In addition to serving on the board of directors, I am the international representative for the organization. I have Skype calls or other communication with other youth drug policy organizations around the world, e.g. Students for Sensible Drug Policy and others.
We are planning an NGO training with these different drug policy organizations. It will be in Thailand. We would acquire training in drug policy related issues and fundraising strategies. I am the chair of the conference planning committee because CSSDP is planning a 2017 conference in May in Montreal.
I am attempting to organize the logistics with some other volunteers and board members of CSSDP. This is the early stage. This will develop with more work into the future. We need to find speakers and the location, and then plan the logistics for people coming from the United States.
We need to advertise the event. We want local press for it. As a CSSDP board member, I have been a representative of CSSDP at the conference for youth. There was a consultation for the Canadian government for the Centre on Substance Abuse too.
The Canadian Government was attempting to inform Canadian drug policies. I have been a representative of CSSDP for those events. In general, my role in CSSDP is to provide representation for the organization itself. I have to find opportunities and guide the future acts of the organization.
Jacobsen: What do you consider the core principle of CSSDP?
Lenart: The unique aspect of CSSDP is most of us are students. We are representing the voice of youth. Most drug policy organizations do not have youth as the focus. The core of CSDP would be to provide representation for the youth voice for harm reduction.
Jacobsen: Where do you hope the CSSDP goes into the future?
Lenart: There are chapters in universities across Canada. I hope for the organization to spread further and have representation throughout Canada in high schools an. That is, there’s more influence and opportunity in terms of student politics and drug policy, even at a local institutional level.
Even at McGill, we are hoping to have the student body or the student society provide drug-checking services. These harm reduction measures are not necessarily on the national or regional level, but it would make a considerable difference in the lives of students attending McGill and provide further impetus for change in other areas of the country.
Jacobsen: Thank you for your time, Andras.
Member-at-largeScott Douglas Jacobsen researches and presents independent panels, papers, and posters, and with varied research labs and groups, and part-time in landscaping (lifting, mowing, and raking) and gardening (digging, planting, and weeding). He founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He is a Tobis Fellow (2016) at the University of California, Irvine’s (UCI) Interdisciplinary Center for the Scientific Study of Ethics and Morality (Ethics Center). He researches in the Learning Analytics Research Group, works as the Gordon Neighbourhood House Community Journalist/