Sharlene Johnson awarded

Sharlene Johnson, left, accepts the 2019 Substance Abuse Prevention Advocate award from Idaho Office of Drug Policy administrator Melinda Smyser.

KAMIAH -- The Idaho Conference on Alcohol and Drug Dependency recently recognized Sharlene Johnson as the 2019 Substance Abuse Prevention Advocate. This was in recognition of her passion and dedication to preventing substance abuse in Idaho. Nominees for this award must have been a strong prevention advocate, demonstrated leadership, involved in their community and shown commitment to substance abuse prevention.

Johnson holds numerous credentials including Certified Prevention Specialist (through IC&RC), graduate of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Coalition Academy, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) School for Prevention Leadership. She has also completed the Idaho State Supervisory academy as well as the State Crucial Conversations training (offered through the Department of Human Resources).

“Thank you to all my prevention colleagues and my community. We all earned this award together; it wouldn’t be possible without all of you,” Johnson said.

Johnson is the executive director for Upriver Youth Leadership Council (UYLC) in Kamiah. The mission of the UYLC is to empower area youth to create a healthy, drug-free community. Through her position with the UYLC she educates local healthcare workers, law enforcement and the public on the dangers of drug abuse/misuse and offers prevention alternatives.

Johnson helped create the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) -- a forum and opportunity for local youth to brainstorm, initiate, and implement alternative activities to drug use. She also coordinates their work to provide bi-monthly alternative activities for children and youth in the area. Some of their recent activities included donkey basketball, a dodge-ball tournament, monthly movie nights, a dance, Valentine card making and a trip to a water park. She was also the inspiration and drive behind Kamiah’s first Old-fashioned Christmas event.

Johnson and the YAB are currently fund-raising to start a youth center in Kamiah.

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