smallest logo
May 2019
A Be The Parents Story
Hospital-based Rx Opioid Misuse Prevention Campaign
DEA National Take Back Day Results
NW-PTTC Emerging Topics Webinar
ICADD Prevention Award
Featured Provider: Kootenai Recovery Community Center
A Be The Parents Story
One teen follows his passion and finds recovery
One night of bad decisions in eighth grade changed Ben Chappell's life forever. Through writing, he's finding his way back.
Ben was hanging out with friends, some of whom had recently begun smoking pot. They offered it to Ben-and he tried it. As the night wore on, he also experimented with alcohol and acid.
"Honestly, the lack of thought [about using] was baffling," recalls Chappell, currently a senior at Boise High School. "I drank, I did acid, I freaked out. It was crazy."
The next day, though, Ben decided to do it all again and purchased acid for himself. It would quickly become a habit, although his drug of choice would change for financial reasons.
"Purchasing acid was unsustainable, so I moved to pills," says Ben. "I would steal my father's pills-opiates-and that's what led me to heroin. I would basically consume anything."
"I stole a lot of money. I stole from my family, friends-I would just go to peoples' houses and take what I could," he admits.
Ben's school was the first to notice that he was using drugs; he was caught with pills and paraphernalia, the police and his parents were called, and he was expelled. Soon after, he and his mom moved to Seattle in what he describes as a "geographical fix": "I was no longer around the same people, I didn't know where to get drugs, so I didn't do them. At first, anyway."
In Seattle, Ben was placed mid-year into an advanced poetry class. Totally out of his element, Ben was told he would have to write and perform a poem in front of the whole school.
"It was horrific. I was very scared," he remembers. "But I worked hard on a few things, tried some different stuff, and I wrote this poem that I had no idea if it was good or not."
His poetry reading went better than he expected. Students loved it, and even the "cool kid" had a tear running down his cheek. It was the start of a new obsession, this time a positive one.
"A handful of days later, I signed up for a poetry slam organized by the school," he says. "I came in second at the slam and thought, 'Holy cow,' that's pretty cool."
Unfortunately, Ben began using drugs again and he and his mom made the move back to Boise. "As I fell back into using, I noticed myself needing to get things out-and I started to write. Every word was important to me, and it felt like it was helping me a little bit. In no way did it save me, but it was really impactful in my life at that time."
Ben began performing his work at poetry slams in Boise, finding the format, the way in which it creates connections between people, cathartic.
"I love the conversation that can happen at a poetry slam: the poet yells something at you, and the audience gives them a snap in response," Ben explains. "That conversation is so beautiful, so powerful. It's saying 'I need to be heard,' and that snap, the rubbing of the hands that people do at slams, is the audience's way of saying 'I hear you, and it's ok.'"
Around this time, Ben began participating in an intensive outpatient rehab program that he attended several times a week. He didn't have any friends his age at the time, but he found support in the form of therapy and Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) peers, whom he still spends time with.
"At school, I keep my head down-I don't jive with the whole high school experience," he reflects. "I had to grow up really fast because of my addition...I spend a lot of my week with 50-year-old alcoholics talking about life."
Ben continues to explore and express his experiences through writing. He published a poetry collection called A Guide to Crying in Public, and is directing and performing in a play by the same name in May at Boise's JUMP. The play is born out of his love of slam poetry; he and the cast have written the script-their personal poetry-together during what they jokingly call "therapy sessions."
"It's a social commentary on the way we self-express," says Ben of the play. "It's a discussion about why it's so difficult to cry in public."
"Creating this play came from what I love of slams and what I love of human connection, my own personal struggles, and what I learned from my time at rehab, like the ways these people, who are in really impossible circumstances, came together, had to sit in a room-there was nothing in there-and just talk. It's magic."
The cast rehearses two to three times a week, and Ben also spends time performing around the Treasure Valley. He has performed at Boise's Goathead Fest, the World Village Fest, and Drug Free Idaho's Red Ribbon Rally on the capitol steps, and on Radio Boise. He and the Guide to Crying in Public cast also presented a writing workshop as part of Treefort Music Fest's Storyfort.
Ben will be graduating in June, but he won't walk with his class. He'll receive his diploma in the mail and continue to focus on what's ahead for his writing. A producer has expressed interest in his play, and he envisions traveling with it, creating a new "script" with each local cast's poetry. He may work with JUMP to deliver more programming for creating, writing, and collaborating. He's also shopping around his latest poetry collection.
And Ben is still working on his recovery. He attends AA once a week and speaks to his sponsor each night.
"I've been sober for more than two years now ... and I know I'm a completely different person than who I was when I first walked into rehab," Ben says. "That being said, my recovery is not perfect. There's times when some of the behaviors come back out-the manipulation, the lying, the addict behaviors. It is so painful to have to do with these behaviors and try to figure it out."
He still has some relationship mending to do, as well, including with his mom. "I have the disease I have. All I can do is take the next indicated action, move forward. It's a day-by-day thing, sometimes it has to be hour by hour. Every once in a while, you have to take it second by second."
What would Ben say to young people curious about drugs and alcohol?
"I would tell them my story," he says. "I might read them one of my poems. I would make it clear that if they take the drugs, there is a huge chance they'll get way more than what they wanted."

As told by Laura Loftus of Neighborhood All Stars. Find Ben's story as well as poetry and writing resources for youth at

Hospital-based Rx Opioid Misuse Prevention Campaign
Speak Out. Opt Out. Throw Out.

The Office of Drug Policy recently partnered with five hospitals in Idaho to implement a prescription opioid misuse prevention campaign. The campaign was funded through  Idaho's Response to the Opioid Crisis (IROC) and Idaho Millennium Fund and supports the patient education goal of the Idaho Opioid Misuse and Overdose Strategic Plan

Partner hospitals are Boundary County Community Hospital in Bonner's Ferry, Bonner General in Sandpoint, Teton Valley Healthcare in Driggs, Bingham Memorial in Blackfoot, and Madison Memorial in Rexburg. 

Campaign materials, originally implemented in Utah hospitals and adapted for Idaho, were designed to prevent and reduce the misuse and abuse of prescription pain medications by encouraging patients to ask their doctor questions about their opioid prescriptions
Campaign Logo 
and alternatives to opioids, as well as encouraging safe disposal. The campaign, based on its primary calls to action, is called Speak Out. Opt Out. Throw Out.  Materials included print collateral such as posters, table tents, patient handout cards, brochures, and rack cards, as well as elevator wraps, floor stickers, wall clings, and retractable banners. Examples from Bingham Memorial Hospital are shown below.

Printing and installation of materials is complete in each of the five hospitals and the campaign will run through the end of August. ODP will make print materials available for order through our website for other hospitals and clinics in Idaho in the next few months. 

"Speak Out" Retractable Banner

"Throw Out" Elevator Wrap
Cafeteria table tent

"Throw Out" counter cling in hospital pharmacy
DEA National Take Back Day Results
Over 2.5 tons of prescription drugs collected in Idaho
The DEA held its 17th semiannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. According to the DEA, the April 27 Take Back initiative saw new records for the numbers of law enforcement partners and collection sites.  For the DEA press release and link to full results CLICK HERE. National and Idaho-specific results are summarized below:

  • Total Law Enforcement Participation: 4,969
  • Total Collection Sites: 6,258
  • Total Weight Collected: 937,443 lbs. (468.72 tons)
  • Law Enforcement Participation: 41 
  • Collection Sites: 47 
  • Weight Collected: 5,674 lbs 
Compared to October 2018, Idaho law enforcement participation increased by 15, collection sites increased by 13, and total weight collected increased by 2,405 pounds!

For permanent year-round take back locations in Idaho, visit and search by zip code. 

NW-PTTC Emerging Topics Webinar

Applying Prevention Science to Quell the Opioid Crisis

Date: Thursday , May 30, 2019 

Time: 12:00-1:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Audience:  Community and state-level prevention practitioners, allied health partners, and community members who are working to prevent substance misuse.
Description:  Although the rate of opioid addiction has risen recently at an alarming rate, many misconceptions have compromised our ability to respond effectively. While trying to respond to this crisis, the public health community has neglected to consider findings from the field of prevention science about addiction and the causal influences that are addressable early in life. This webinar will discuss the research on pathways to addiction and evidence-based practices that address them. It will also offer eight recommendations for the federal government, states, and communities to consider to ensure that our investments in addressing this crisis achieve the greatest return on our dollars.
Presenter:  Diana F. Fishbein, Ph.D.  Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and the Director of the Program of Translational Research on Adversity and Neurodevelopment at Penn State University.

Continuing Education: Participants will receive a 1.5 hour continuing education certificate for this event. 

ICADD Prevention Award
2019 Recipient Sharlene Johnson
Congratulations to Sharlene Johnson on being nominated and selected by her peers to receive the 2019 Prevention Award at the 34th Annual Idaho Conference on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (ICADD). 

Sharlene has been contributing to substance abuse prevention efforts in Idaho for over a decade. She founded and served as the Presi-     ident of the Kamiah Community Partners Coalition, worked as a Grant Director for the Office of Drug Policy, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Upriver Youth Leadership Council. Through her position with UYLC Sharlene directs lunch and learns to educate local healthcare workers, law enforcement, and the public.

She also works tirelessly to provide alternative activities to youth in her community. She created the Youth Advisory Board--a forum and opportunity for local youth to brainstorm, initiate, and implement alternative activities to drug use. She coordinates their work to provide bi-monthly activities for youth in the area including movie nights, a dance, and trips to the water park. 

Sharlene works with teachers to provide prevention curriculum and facilitates Strengthening Families parenting classes. She worked with her local pharmacy to promote proper prescription drug storage and disposal. She strives to involve the entire community in prevention efforts.

She is an expert in prevention science. She holds the Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) certification and is a graduate of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Coalition Academy, among many other credentials and certifications.

Sharlene is seen among her peers as an advocate, a resource, and a friend. They've shared the following about her:

"Sharlene is a self-starter and dedicated to eradicating drug use and misuse in the Clearwater Valley and Idaho...she inspires youth to choose the right path and adults to step out of their comfort zone  and collaborate with her in providing alternatives to drugs."

"If you ever need a Prevention Champion in your corner, look no further than the Upriver Youth Leadership Council office in Kamiah, Idaho. There you will find Sharlene Johnson juggling teams of teens, groups of parents, community-wide events, federal grant reports, and so much more!"

Again congratulations to Sharlene Johnson as we express our sincere gratitude for her tireless work and dedication to substance abuse prevention in Idaho. 
Featured Provider: Kootenai Recovery Community Center
Recovery and Support Services
Organization Name Kootenai Recovery Community Center
Location 405 N. 2nd Street
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Types of Services Provided
  • Continued services to individuals who are currently abstinent from drugs or alcohol to help them stay sober
  • Supportive services for families of individuals who have a substance use disorder
Service Population General population, 18 and older. 
Hours of Operation  Monday - Friday: 9am-5pm
Intake procedures Walk-in 
Waiting List for Services? No

In an effort to raise awareness about and collect available resources, ODP will be publishing a Featured Provider series over the next few months, highlighting local service providers who work to prevent and treat substance use disorder (SUD), who help clients maintain recovery, and who help support families of individuals with SUD. 

If your organization provides behavioral health services to help individuals and families prevent, treat, and recover from use disorders, you can fill out the form linked below to have your organization's information listed as a public resource online and via phone referral. 

The Idaho Office of Drug Policy leads Idaho's substance abuse policy and prevention efforts by developing and implementing strategic action plans and collaborative partnerships to reduce drug use and related crime, thereby improving the health and safety of all Idahoans.

We envision an Idaho free from the devastating social, health, and economic consequences of substance abuse.