In Memoriam

We want to honour the contributions and preserve the memory of those who were passionate and dedicated their lives to the drug demand reduction field. Our 'In Memoriam' page celebrates those who have passed for their exceptional service, commitment and outstanding contributions in substance use prevention, treatment and recovery


Mr. Olugbenga Olusanu Mabo


Mr. Mabo joined the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in 1990 where he held many command and administrative positions before becoming the Director of Operations and General Investigation, a position he held for 8 years and as a member of the Agency’s management team. Over the years, he demonstrated exceptional dedication and commitment to his work. He passed on May 27, 2023, at the age of 63 years. He will be greatly missed. 

Viktor Petrovych Kolomiiets

Dr. Victor Kolomiets photo

For over ten years Viktor was a manager of treatment programs for the Alliance for Public Health, specialising in OST. Viktor was a role model of optimism, sagacity, humanism, professionalism, and responsibility for everyone he interacted with in the workplace. 

Brother Ronald F. Drahozal - USA, Bangladesh

Brother Ronald

November 14, 1937 - October 15, 2018

56 years of experience in the Drug Demand Reduction field at the local, national and international level.

  • Founding Director of the First Drug Rehab Centre (BARCA) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1988 to 1995 - First drug rehabilitation facility in Bangladesh
  • Founder/Executive Director of Second Drug Rehab Centre (APON), Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1994 

Carol du Toit

Carol du Toit

Carol du Toit held the position of Director of SANCA Durban Alcohol and Drug Centres and worked in the field of addictions for over thirty years. She was also employed as the Director of SANCA Pietermaritzburg and, prior to that, as a social worker at Magaliesoord Rehabilitation Centre.

Dr. Ray Eberlein - South Africa

Dr Ray Eberlein

Dr. Ray Eberlein was a member of the Central Drug Authority of South Africa, Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Stabilis Treatment Centre for substance dependents, and also a member of Christian Action for Dependence.

Preben Hansen - Denmark and Vietnam

Preben Hansen

The late Chairman of the NGO Fontana Board, Preben Hansen, was a committed enthusiastic entrepreneur and the driving force behind the establishment of NGO Fontana.

Father Doctor Vincenzo Sorce - Italy

Father Doctor Vincenzo

Father Doctor Vincenzo founded the Association "Casa Famiglia Rosetta" in 1985.  Casa Famiglia Rosetta specializes in the acceptance, rehabilitation and social integration of people in difficulty and has supported over 1500 individuals and their families.

Mr Ibrahim Salim- Singapore

Ibrahim Salim- Singapore

Ibrahim Salim held the position of Treatment Specialist/Expert at the Drug Advisory Programme of the Colombo Plan and was a pioneer in the field of drug demand reduction where he worked for over three decades.

Father Haroldo Rahm

Father Haroldo Rahm

Father Haroldo, who had already created a series of social services in the United States and Brazil, founded, in 1978, the therapeutic community Prayer and Work Promotional Association in Campinas, São Paulo State. The place came up with a unique and pioneering proposal in Brazil to offer treatment and recovery to those who were marginalised victims of drug addiction.

Dr Muhammad Tariq Khan

Dr Mhammad Tariq Khan

Dr Muhammad Tariq Khan was a social worker, researcher, author and drug abuse counsellor. He committed his life to support the community and reducing addiction issues in Karachi, Pakistan.

He was an educator and dedicated his life to sharing knowledge and developing a support network for students, academics and professionals working in the drug demand reduction field.

Dr Fraidoon Sadeed

 Dr Fraidoon Sadeed

Dr Fraidoon Sadeed was a professional who worked for over 10 years in the drug demand reduction field. Most recently, Dr Fraidoon was based in northern province (Balkh) of Afghanistan where he was setting up a specialist shelter for homeless people with addiction issues in order to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

On way back to Kabul he lost his life along with his wife a two children due to very bad road traffic accident.

Dr Samarudin Zazai

Dr Samarudin Zazai

Dr Samarudin Zazai was an expert in the drug demand reduction field who worked for more than 10 years with National Aids control program (NACP/MoPH) in Afghanistan.

Mr. Mujahid Abbas

Mr. Mujahid Abbas

Mr Mujahid Abbas was an addiction counsellor working in the Umeed clinic in Mirpur, Pakistan.

Dr. Serwat Jahan Khanum

Dr. Serwat Jahan Khanum

Dr. Serwat Jahan Khanum was an Associate Professor at the Institute of Clinical Psychology, UoK.

Ms. Shahnaz Dar

Ms. Shahnaz Dar

Ms. Shahnaz Dar was the Executive Director Kuchlak Welfare Society and Member Advisory Board Youth Forum Pakistan (For Substance Use Prevention).

Brian Flay

Brian Flay

Brian Flay was a social psychologist internationally recognized for his research on health promotion and disease prevention research; mass media for health promotion and prevention; smoking and drug abuse prevention; violence prevention; youth HIV/AIDS prevention; positive youth development; comprehensive school reform; prevention research methods and theory; prevention research training.

Yury Fedotov

Mr Yury Fedotov

Mr Yury Fedotov had a long and distinguished career as a diplomat for his country, the Russian Federation, and as an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Truong Vinh Trong

Photo Truong Vinh Trong

Former Deputy Prime Minister Truong Vinh Trong passed away on February 19, 2021, in Ben Tre Province at 79. He began his political career in 1960, joining the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam. Elected to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam in 1986, he served in key roles until his retirement in 2011. Trong's contributions to Vietnam's political landscape and justice system reforms were significant and lasting.

Guillermina Natera Rey

Guillermina Natera Rey image

Guillermina Natera Rey, a renowned mental health researcher, passed away on April 24, 2024, at 78. Born on January 13, 1946, she was instrumental in founding the Mexican Institute of Psychiatry and directed Epidemiological and Psychosocial Research from 2008 to 2018. She was a professor and mentor at UNAM and coordinated the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center.

Dr. Natera gained international acclaim for her research on mental health in families affected by substance use and violence, particularly focusing on women's mental health. She developed brief interventions to reduce alcohol consumption in primary care. Her work earned her the prestigious Dr. Gerardo Varela Award in 2024. Her legacy continues through the many researchers she trained and inspired.

Hugo Adolfo Miguez

Hugo Miguez photo

Hugo Adolfo Miguez, a distinguished psychologist and researcher, passed away on April 20,2021 at 75 due to Covid-19 complications. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and earned his PhD from the University of Palermo. Miguez made significant contributions to psychiatric epidemiology, serving as a professor and directing research at the National Institute on Alcoholism in Costa Rica. He was a researcher at CONICET and the University of Salvador.

Miguez authored influential books on alcohol abuse and psychoactive substances. His career included pioneering community prevention programs and conducting Argentina's first National Study on drugs in 1999. He received the Acta Research Award for Latin America three times. Miguez is remembered for his dedication to community health and his roles as a mentor and friend.

Melvin Floyd Sembler

Melvin Floyd Sembler photo

Melvin Sembler, founder and Chairman Emeritus of The Sembler Company, passed away peacefully at home on October 31, surrounded by family. Renowned for his contributions to shopping center development and civic activism, Melvin, with his wife Betty, founded a notable drug treatment program in St. Petersburg and the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. His political journey began in 1979 with George H.W. Bush's presidential campaign, leading to lifelong involvement in the Republican Party. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Australia and Nauru (1989-1993) and to Italy (2001-2005) under President George W. Bush. Beyond his business and political achievements, Melvin cherished his roles as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, valuing friendships and treating everyone with kindness.

Rafael O. Navarro Cueva

Dr. Rafael Navarro Cueva photo

Dr. Rafael O. Navarro Cueva, a leading expert in substance use prevention and treatment, passed away on January 6, 2020. Known as one of South America's top psychiatrists, he held prominent positions such as Chairman of the Latin American Association of Behavior Analysis and Modification and Vice-Chairperson of the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities. He founded the Instituto Peruano de Especialización en Terapia Cognitiva Conductual Basada en la Evidencia (IPETECC) and coordinated the International Online Master's Degree in Drug Addiction at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia. Dr. Navarro authored the 'Ñaña Model of Treatment and Rehabilitation of Addictions' and was General Director of the Hermilio Valdizan Hospital in Lima, Peru. His legacy lives on through his contributions to mental health care and education.

James Griffith Edwards

James Griffith Edwards photo

James Griffith Edwards, a British psychiatrist renowned for his work in the study and treatment of alcohol and drug dependence, passed away on September 13, 2012. Born on October 3, 1928, in India, he earned his M.D. from Balliol College, Oxford. Edwards directed the Addiction Research Unit at King's College London and established the UK National Addiction Centre.

He was Editor-in-Chief of the journal Addiction for 25 years and delivered the Edwin Stevens Lecture in 1971. His accolades include the E.M. Jellinek Memorial Award for research on alcohol use disorders and being appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1987 for his contributions to social science and medicine.

Edwards was a pioneering force in addiction research, developing globally adopted terminology and classifications for alcohol dependence. His publications, including Alcohol, The World’s Favourite Drug and The Treatment of Drinking Problems, remain influential. He supported community-based actions to address addiction and was instrumental in founding Phoenix House and the charity Action on Addiction.

Professor Edwards' legacy includes a commitment to evidence-based policy and the integration of addiction research into practical, humane solutions for alcohol and drug problems. His work continues to inspire advancements in addiction treatment and public health policy.

Betty Sembler

Betty Sembler photo

Betty Sembler, a trailblazer in drug prevention and treatment, passed away on February 16, 2022, surrounded by her family. Born on August 8, 1931, in Memphis and raised in Dyersburg, Tennessee, Betty graduated from Northwestern University in 1953 and married Mel Sembler. Moving to St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1968, she co-founded the Drug Free America Foundation, Inc., and played a key role in Nancy Reagan’s "Just Say No" campaign. Betty and Mel were also prominent political fundraisers, supporting Republican committees and serving when Mel was Ambassador to Australia and Italy. Betty is survived by her husband, Mel, their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, her brother, and sister-in-law. She received numerous accolades, including the DEA Museum Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Services were held on February 18, 2022, at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg. Donations in her memory can be made to Drug Free America Foundation, The Florida Holocaust Museum, The Florida Orchestra, or Temple Beth-El.

Dr. Riza Sarasvita

Dr. Riza Sarasvita image


We remember Dr. Riza Sarasvita, the late Deputy of Rehabilitation at Indonesia's National Narcotics Board, with heavy hearts. A compassionate therapist and tireless advocate for addiction recovery, Riza played a crucial role in advancing substance use prevention and rehabilitation through the ISSUP Indonesia National Chapter.

Her career was marked by an unwavering commitment to human dignity and effective, humane solutions for addiction. Riza’s innovative programs and compassionate approach provided vital support and fostered broader acceptance of rehabilitation.

Admired for her dedication, warmth, and tireless spirit, Riza inspired all who knew her. As we mourn her passing, we celebrate her significant contributions to society. Our deepest condolences go to her family, friends, and colleagues. Riza’s legacy of service and love will continue through the lives she touched.

Rest in peace, Dra. Riza Sarasvita. You will be deeply missed.

Mohammad Raza Stanikzai

Dr. Mohammad Raza Stanikzai

We mourn the loss of Dr. Mohammad Raza Stanikzai, a cherished colleague and friend who sadly passed away on Sunday, 3rd July 2022. Dr. Stanikzai was National Project Coordinator, Drug Demand Reduction Section, at the UNODC country office Afghanistan. For years, he was a champion of evidence-based drug prevention, treatment and care in Afghanistan. Our hearts go out to his loving and much loved family.