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Meet the National Board
The CSSDP board members work together in our fundraising, outreach, and political advocacy subcommittees to support our chapters across Canada, develop our annual national conference, and reach our local, national, and international goals. The national team works hard to connect with chapter members across Canada, spread harm reduction and achieve drug policy reform.
Kira is currently pursuing her PhD research as a Vanier Scholar at the Université de Montréal, examining the relationships between cannabis use and mental health in sexually and gender diverse youth. Kira has chaired the national board of the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (CSSDP) since 2018 and is involved locally in Montréal with both CSSDP and VoxCann, a bilingual cannabis education initiative for youth, which she co-founded in 2018. She is also a strategic advisor for the national Cannabis & Psychosis project of the Schizophrenia Society of Canada.
Alexander is an undergraduate student of Sociology and Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. His interests surround drug policy’s direct impact on individuals and the intersection of substance use and electronic dance subculture.
Board of Directors
Erika (they/them) is a recent graduate from the Master of Social Work program at Ryerson University. During their graduate studies, Erika previously worked with the Ryerson CSSDP as the Vice President of Operations. Erika is particularly interested in bridging the gap between youth justice policy and decriminalization/legalization.
Kiah graduated from Concordia University in Religion, Culture and Political Science. She is currently working at Cannabis and Psychosis, an organization devoted to exploring the link between cannabis usage and mental illnesses.
Board of Directors
Rhiannon is a graduate of Interactive Digital Media at University of Toronto. She currently works as a youth harm reduction worker in Toronto’s nightlife community. Her interests include drug education, harm reduction at parties and festivals, and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, MDMA, and ketamine.
Heath is a drug policy reform and harm reduction activist currently based in Ottawa. Some of her greatest passions are improving drug education, reducing the stigma of drug use and mental illness, as well as advocating for an end to the war on drugs.
Board of Directors
Taylor is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Studies Graduate Program at UBC, and a research coordinator at the BC Centre on Substance Use. Her research examines the intersection of housing policy, drug policy, and harm reduction, specifically as it relates to the ongoing overdose crisis.
Board of Directors
Matthew Bonn is the program coordinator of the Canadian Association of People
Who Use Drugs, national board member with the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy and is a knowledge translator for the Dr. Peters Centre. Matt was one of the cofounders of HaliFIX Overdose
Prevention Society which implemented Atlantic Canada’s first Overdose Prevention Site. Matt is also a Canadian Editorial Consultant with Filter – Magazine, a non-profit media outlet based out of New York.
He is also a freelance writer with By Lines in Filter-Magazine, CATIE, The Coast and The Conversation. Matt has a business marketing diploma and he is a 3rd year student for Business Commerce at St.
Mary’s University (pronouns he/him).
Alexander (Alex) George Betsos
Alex (M.Sc), is the International Liaison for CSSDP, focusing their work connecting CSSDP to the international youth and student drug reform movements. As part of their work for CSSDP, they support Paradigma, the international youth/student network as its project manager, with the goal of supporting change and solidarity in youth drug policy across the world. They are also the Peer Research Coordinator for one of the BCCSU’s qualitative research teams. Their research interests are in drug technologies, and combining insights from Science & Technology Studies, anthropology and sociology of science with how people who use drugs engage in the world. Their masters research work, at the University of Amsterdam Research Masters in Social Sciences, focused on how drug checking knowledge is constructed and learned at music festivals in British Columbia and an Overdose Prevention Site in Vancouver.
Hasham Kamran is a Master of Public Health student at Simon Fraser University. Leveraging over five years of front-line shelter experience, he has been committed to improving the lives of Canada’s most vulnerable populations. In addition, Hasham has five years of research and evaluation experience in public health research in Calgary. He believes that smart public health policy coupled with research can produce big impacts and is thrilled to become a part of the CSSDP to help advocate for better drug policies in the country.
Avery is a 2nd year MSc Counselling Psychology student at the University of Calgary. His thesis topic focuses on exploring opioid use from the perspective of self-identified former opioid users. Avery graduated from the University of British Columbia Okanagan in 2017, earning an honours degree in Psychology. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted his honours research on the interactions of cannabis and attention and ADHD. Avery has also published research on the Amazonian hallucinogenic tea, Ayahuasca, analyzing differences between the impacts of the experiences based on several contexts of use.
Avery has been on the CSSDP National Board in various roles since 2016 and was previously associated with the UBC Okanagan chapter of CSSDP as the Vice President in the the 2016-2017 school year. Avery’s interest in drug policy stems from his perception of the inadequacies of the current existence of drug policy in Canada and the disproportionate impact of these policies on Indigenous and POC communities.
Board of Directors
Matthew McLaughlin studies Economics and Urban Systems at McGill University. He has a deep passion for public policy, serving as Executive Director of the McGill Policy Association, President of NDP McGill, and a communications assistant at the Max Bell School of Public Policy. Matthew is Co-Chair of CSSDP’s McGill Chapter. A dedicated mental health advocate, Matthew sits on the national board of directors of Kids Help Phone and also serves as the co-chair of the organization’s national youth council.
The CSSDP Board of Directors relies on our mentors and advisors to help strategically brainstorm, plan, and execute essential functions for the organization as a whole. Our advisors provide insight, help and support to the CSSDP national team, as well as individual chapters across Canada. Their invaluable advice and experience is integral to how CSSDP functions on a local, national and international level, and they help the national team make and reach our collective goals.
Nazlee has been involved in the development of evidence-based drug policies at the grassroots, national, and international levels since 2013. She is the Knowledge Translation Manager at the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation and is pursuing a PhD in Health Services Research at the University of Toronto.
Rebecca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary and co-lead for the O’Brien Institute’s Population Health and Prevention Interest Group. Her research focuses on adolescent mental health and substance use through a social justice lens.
Jenna is the CEO of the National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education, and executive director of Hope for Health Canada. Jenna was the lead author of our Cannabis Education Toolkit and has been a Strategic Advisor for CSSDP for 3 years.
Michelle St. Pierre
Michelle is a graduate of the University of British Columbia currently working towards her Master’s in Clinical Psychology where she seeks to identify differences in pain perception between cannabis users and non-users
Secretary, UBC Chapter Chair
Stephanie is a PhD candidate in the School of Population and Public Health at UBC and a researcher at the BC Centre on Substance Use where she is studying the use of medical and non-medical cannabis among people with long-term drug use.
Dessy is a professional writing and English graduate with a passion for research in cannabis and grassroots political advocacy. An aspiring project manager, she focuses research, outreach and freelance writing, editing and web development.
Donald is the Executive Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. He advocates policies based on principles of public health, human rights, social inclusion, and scientific evidence and moving away from a criminal justice paradigm where people with health problems are criminalized.
Not in Canada? You can still get involved!
Students for Sensible Drug Policy is an international organization with chapters in 6 different contents! Check out the different countries where SSDP can be found around the world: