Actress Kristen Johnston Launches Sobriety Program at New York School

By Brent McCluskey 04/06/15

Johnston has set her sights on developing the first sober high school.

Kristen Johnston
Wiki Commons

Actress Kristen Johnston hopes to make one New York City high school completely alcohol free as part of her national nonprofit alcohol and substance-abuse recovery program SLAM (Sobriety, Learning and Motivation).

Johnston, who is best known for her role as Sally on 3rd Rock from the Sun, says SLAM will focus on addicted adolescents and teens in need of recovery, and hopes her program will help make Lavelle Preparatory Charter School the city’s first “sober high school.”

“SLAM will act in an advisory capacity as well as fund-raising to provide much-needed support, including an on-site certified addiction and substance abuse counselor,” said Johnston.

Johnston knows the pitfalls of alcohol and drug abuse all too well, and spent years battling her own addictions. Now sober, Johnston wants to use SLAM to help others find their sobriety.

“Addiction is our black plague ... The drug and alcohol epidemic in the United States is a national health crisis,” said Johnston. “The number of teens in New York City and state suffering from drug and alcohol addiction are well above average ... in the state of New York, almost 160,000 teens ages 12-17 have a substance abuse problem. If a teen is lucky enough to be sent to rehab, 90% of them relapse upon returning to school; 80% in the first 30 days.”

Lavelle president Dr. Kenneth Byalin is happy to have SLAM on campus and plans to begin training staff members as early as summer.

“It’s wonderful that they will be able to bring more resources to our school, to our students and families, especially given the dimensions of the problem on Staten Island,” said Byalin.

Johnston may have played an out of this world alien on 3rd Rock from the Sun, but in her efforts to help teens get sober, the Emmy Award-winning actress has proven she’s still completely down to earth.

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.