Shatterproof Student Association Debuts to Educate and Promote Awareness for Addiction

The Shatterproof Student Association is making its debut this fall at the University of Southern Mississippi and aims to promote education and awareness for addiction. 

The SSA is currently made up of more than 30 members and a handful of leaders including Ashley Martin, the President for the SSA and Olivia Dampier, the Vice President for the SSA who are both psychology majors. 

In the spring semester of 2022, Martin took a class taught by Dr. Michael Madson, professor of psychology, in an Addiction Counseling. While being a student learning in that class, Martin began noticing that she was unlearning misconceptions concerning addiction that she grew up believing. Madson had brought up the idea of a starting a possible group at USM that would focus on factors that were taught in the Addiction Counseling class.  

“I think for me, this planted a seed. The more I thought about it, the more the seed grew, and it didn’t take long before the seed sprouted in my head, and I knew I needed to a be a part of this effort to be the change we wat to see,” said Martin. 

Madson and Martin worked together over the summer to organize the SSA. They wanted to partner with an organization that shared common values. That is when they found Shatterproof. As it turned out, Shatterproof was looking to expand to college campuses. Madson and Martin met with two staff members from Shatterproof to discuss their visions for the campus. What they soon found out was that Shatterproof aligned with the very same core values that the university envisioned.  

The goal of the SSA is to create a positive environment for those who are battling addiction or are in the process of recovery by educating and spreading awareness to combat stigma while creating a community of allies and advocates. The SSA provides access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction services. 

“It is really exciting and rewarding to see a group of students, led by Ashley, organized so quickly around the mission to combat stigma. In my drugs and behavior class and addiction counseling class, I often see students challenge their thoughts about addiction and recovery,” said Madson. “However, to see students take that one step further and develop a group focused on advocacy is outstanding. The response to the development of SSA at USM, in Hattiesburg and Mississippi highlights the importance of what Ashley and her fellow students are doing. I am confident this group will have a lasting impact on campus creating an affirming environment for those struggling with addiction or who are in recovery.” 

The SSA is targeted at students at USM that have an interest in learning about substance abuse disorders by promoting awareness and educational factors to break the stigma focused on addiction. 

“Shatterproof means a lot to me. I want to help anyone that is struggling and feels alone. I also want to help educate people on the truth of substance use and to break the stigma that comes around drugs and alcohol,” said Dampier. “Shatterproof is a community of like-minded people who want to serve, lead, comfort and collaborate with others. Shatterproof means breaking the barriers and opening up conversations about topics that normally are not talked about.” 

The SSA kicked off its first official meeting on Sept. 29. The second meeting will be hosted on Nov. 3. All of the meetings are held in OMH 227 at 4 p.m.  

For more information on the Shatterproof Student Association, reach out through Instagram @USMShatterproof, Facebook @USM Shatterproof Student Association or by email at [email protected].