Fellow Since 1999
This profile was prepared when Remigio Muñoz was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
While working in boot-camp style treatment programs for drug and alcohol abusers, Remigio routinely saw "treated" individuals return to their old patterns of addiction after the program ended and they had been reintegrated into society. He realized that addicts need to be protagonists in their own recovery, and that during their treatment they must remain integrated into mainstream society to avoid relapse. Extracting elements of the residential "therapeutic community" model commonly used to treat substance abuse in Chile, Remigio created an outpatient treatment program that begins by identifying the factors that lead to dependence in the first place. His program has proven more cost-efficient than existing residential models, and has an equal or higher success rate. Participants are able to maintain their connection with the outside world - they live at home with friends and family, continuing to work or study while focusing on personal development. This combination of individual and group therapy builds a lasting resistance to temptations and breaks the cycle of addiction.