Tuesday, October 27, 2009

CSSDP in Vancouver

I'm back from the CSSDP conference. Unfortunately, I don't have any photos. (You can blame this on my impending marriage. Apparently it's bad luck to see the bride's dress before the wedding day, and my fiancee has about a million pictures of it on our camera right now.)

The conference was outstanding. This was the third annual conference by Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy (the previous two were in Ottawa and Montreal). Planning a local event can be challenging, but organizing three back to back national conferences is an amazing feat. CSSDP is a fast growing drug policy organization and I'm pleased to be working with them as a member of their new advisory board.

Long time volunteer Steve Finlay gave up most of his weekend to staff the LEAP table. Both Steve and myself talked to many students from across Canada and virtually everyone was LEAP friendly. I also participated in interviews for two separate television programs. One was for an English language TV show in Hong Kong, and the other was for a local production in Vancouver. Both of these projects are in the early stages of filming but I'll post more about them as they develop.

One theme reinforced at this conference was the idea that certain illegal drugs - such as Ibogaine and Ayahuasca - could treat drug addiction and heal mental trauma. Prior to this weekend I always viewed this concept with skepticism. However, after listening to Ken Tupper, Rick Doblin and Gabor Mate, I am now more open minded about the issue. Certainly one of the harms of drug prohibition is that it restricts legitimate scientific and medical research (something that appears to have occurred with both of these psychedelics).

On another topic, yesterday the LEAP blog reached 2000+ unique visitors, 3700+ visits and 6200+ pageviews. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed with comments and suggestions over the past ten weeks. I particularly appreciate our "regulars" in the comments section, including NewOldSalt, Rhayader, Lea, Kosmos, ChristiansAgainstProhibition and DaveK. (And, of course, Mr and Ms. Anonymous, who both leave a ton of comments.)

I'm seeking outreach volunteers who would like to help grow the LEAP blog. Perhaps you are interested in a specific area, such as reaching out to a particular religious faith, political party, ethnic minority, geographic region or some other demographic. Or perhaps you are interested promoting the LEAP blog through a particular social networking site, such as Facebook, Digg, Twitter or the blogosphere. This kind of outreach can be tedious at times, and you have to set goals, such as "this week I am going to reach out to five different libertarian web sites and tell them about the LEAP blog." On the plus side, it does provide an opportunity to meet new people and develop valuable contacts in an area that interests you. I will give you access to the daily blog stats so you can see the immediate results of your hard work.

If this is something that interests you, please email me. Let me know what area of outreach you would like to work on (this way I can make sure there is no overlap - we don't want to contact the same group again and again!). I have some templates and guidelines I can send you.

Finally, for reasons stated above, if you have pictures of the CSSDP conference, please email me a couple and I will post them here. :-)

P.S. With help from a Blogger "tips and tricks" web site, I finally figured out how to eliminate the borders around the pictures.


  1. And we all owe you a big thanks David (and the entire LEAP crew). The importance of the work you folks do cannot be overstated.

    I've heard about using ibogaine for treating heroin addiction. There was a pretty good documentary about it called "Facing the Habit," which you can watch in its entirety here:


    The film makes it clear that it's by no means fool-proof (it talks about many people who eventually relapsed after ibogaine trips), but it does seem to do a great job of eliminating the physical cravings that dominate heroin withdrawal for the first few days. Obviously there is a lot more to staying sober than simply suppressing physical craving, but psychedelic experience is nonetheless an interesting approach to the problem of drug addiction.

    Also, I'm not surprised to hear that students were largely supportive of LEAP. I'm 26, and I really think that folks my age and younger approach the reality of drug use from a different perspective than previous generations, largely thanks to growing up with the internet.

    Hah, glad to see you figured out the border issue. It's always satisfying to finally get to the bottom of stuff like that. Your next task is enabling copy-and-paste in the comment box!

  2. Appreciate the mention David. There are times when emotions take over and stupid things spill out of this brain onto the blog. Sorry, really.
    Thanks for sharing this. And so pleased to hear that students are active.

    When's the wedding?

  3. Thanks for the shout out! Good timing, I just added the LEAP banner (which I spit polished) to the content area of each web page at my site.

    You can see it in action on every page. Here are some of my more favorite essays (I love all my babies):
    Taking Advice From Others
    Old Roman Catholic Church and Astronomers Similar to U.S. and Mind Expanding Plants
    Absolute Truth
    Founding Documents of the United States of America
    My Letter to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    David, good to hear the conference was a success. Sounds like y'all need to buy another memory chip for the camera! :-)

    I'll think about what I can do to add another link near the banner to direct visitors to the blog as well.

  4. Lea - I'm getting married at the end of December, in Hawaii.

    I am hoping to visit Dog the Bounty Hunter and tell him about LEAP!


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