Rhana Hashemi is a nationally recognized drug educator based in the Bay Area, acclaimed for her expertise in youth overdose prevention and harm reduction. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Stanford University, studying student belonging and substance use.
A pioneer in the field of harm reduction for teens, Rhana established Know Drugs LLC, the first drug education organization in the U.S. that integrates harm reduction philosophy into educational institutions, policies, and curriculum. Through her leadership at Know Drugs, she shaped the "Safety First" curriculum and spearheaded the development of harm reduction teacher trainings. The curriculum and training resources are freely accessible via the Stanford Reach Lab, where Rhana continues to offer her expertise as an advisor.
Rhana's passion for addressing teen substance misuse is deeply personal. As a teenager, she navigated the path of drug experimentation without safety information and endured the devastating loss of close friends to fatal overdoses. These experiences propelled her into her recovery journey and ignited a desire to transform the way teens are educated about drugs. She resolved to combat the mistrust, misinformation, stigma, and lack of support she faced during her youth, ensuring that future generations are better equipped.
To date, Rhana has devised comprehensive drug education initiatives for states, counties, and districts, both conservative and progressive. She believes in meeting organizations and cultures where they are at and consistently consults with governments, industries, and nonprofits on effective harm reduction communication strategies tailored for adolescents.
In 2019, Rhana recommitted to academia, aiming to provide her community allies with access to top-tier research and best practices. Her revolving door between grassroots initiatives and scholarly research guarantees rigorous quality and efficacy standards, as she believes the stakes are too high for anything less.
Rhana has received recognition in news outlets such as the NY Times, TIMES Magazine, and NBC’s Today Show. Moreover, she has been honored by Students for Sensible Drug Policy, recognized as one of their '40 under 40' outstanding BIPOC leaders in Drug Policy.
Rhana holds an M.S. in Community Health Prevention Research from Stanford School of Medicine and a B.A., with honors, in Social Welfare from UC Berkeley.
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