Fellow Since 2006
This profile was prepared when Sarah Trad was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Sarah is has introduced a comprehensive and participatory method for combating drug addiction among young people in Lebanon and is changing the societal perception of ex-users so they are better able to reintegrate into society Sarah uses a three-pronged approach. First, she positions addiction as a disease, rather than a crime. Improving the perception of ex-users allows them to more easily rejoin society, which, in turn, helps them fully participate in economic and social activities. Second, she has introduced a participatory treatment method, where patients take part in the design of their own rehabilitation programs in an inclusive and open manner, and where the program builds on the knowledge and skills of the participants. This empowers addicts (whom she regards as soon to be ex-addicts), and builds their confidence and self-esteem. Third, Sarah has created a drug abuse prevention program that teaches children and youth about addiction with the aim of helping them make healthy choices. Additionally, Sarah lobbies the Lebanese government to legalize maintenance treatment, to change the laws regarding drug users, and to introduce life skills programs in public schools.Sarah's goal is not only to combat drugs in Lebanon, where she hopes the government will soon adopt her approach as its official drug abuse treatment and prevention strategy, but also to establish a functional model for drug prevention and rehabilitation in the Arab World.