Committed To Creating New York City's
First Sober Public High School.


The Need

“Addiction to Drugs, Alcohol & Tobacco are the most Common
Mental Health Problems in Teens.”

National Council on Addiction and Drug Dependency (NCADD)


The stats don’t lie.

The epidemic of Addiction is out of control in this country, but it’s exploding in our kids.

According to the US Government and Columbia University, 1 out of every 5 Teenagers in the US meet the medical criteria for Addiction. This means 1 out of every 5 Teens today is an addict.


If a Teen is lucky enough to be sent to rehab (1 out of 70) and they’re then sent to a regular high school, 90% of them relapse.

80% in the 1st 30 days.


If a Teen is sent to a recovery-based high school, not only is there a 90% attendance rate … but 70% of them graduate CLEAN AND SOBER.


Dillon Eaton at the SLAM Benefit in February 2013.

Dillon Eaton at the SLAM Benefit in February 2013.


“If I hadn’t gone to a recovery high school, I’d be dead.”

— Dillon Eaton, a 2009 graduate of The North Shore Recovery High School, Beverly, MA


“SLAM has to succeed.  Without it, hundreds of NYC kids will be incarcerated – or die.  My son nearly died of his addiction, which began in high school.  I WISH I’d found a school like SLAM when he was a Teen.  Instead, he went from rehab to rehab,
relapse to relapse, ER to ER.  

Tragically, there’s no such school in New York City.  What SLAM is doing can help countless numbers of children grow up to productive and fulfilling lives.”

David Sheff, NY Times Best-selling Author of ‘Beautiful Boy’ & ‘Clean’

“It is essential to begin to address the disease of substance abuse as early as possible. At 20, 25 years old … it’s too late. Not for sobriety, of course. But too late to stop the terrible negative toll Addiction will take on their lives, and ours, for years to come.”

Dr. Scott Beinenfield, NYC Addiction Psychiatrist

Drug use among Teens is a national health crisis. 9 out of every 10 chemically dependent Americans started smoking, drinking or drugging before age 18.

Half of all High School students currently use addictive substances.

That’s 6.1 MILLION kids.

National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University


The School


We at SLAM believe that New York City deserves to have a school entirely dedicated to teens that are in need of a recovery-centric environment free of all drugs and alcohol. We believe not only in excellence in curriculum, but also in helping teens learn the crucial life skills needed in order to thrive for the rest of their lives.




The Recovery High School catalyzed by SLAM will meet the needs of adolescents who are battling drug, alcohol and other addictive disorders, and are at a stage in their recovery where they are committed to staying clean and sober while attending and completing high school.




There are many pathways by which students and families will find their way to Recovery High School, and referrals will emanate from a wide range of agencies, professionals and counselors both locally and nationally. The behaviors associated with the adolescent’s drug use often determine their entry point into the system.




A specific number of continuous days of sobriety will be designated and required before a student can submit their application. A typical application package would require the following:




I. Preliminary Budget and Private Support

Part of the mission of SLAM is to provide support and quality professional assistance towards the creation and maintenance of a New York City Recovery High School. To date, SLAM has functioned exclusively on the individual contributions of board members and deeply interested individuals. Although, we are still in the planning phase, SLAM is confident it can raise funds and attract philanthropic assignments to fund the education and addiction experts and the full-time staff needed in a short amount of time.

How much will a recovery school cost annually?

Below outlines a preliminary estimated budget citing the cost for an annual budget for one school with 50-60 students, but is scalable.




A master schedule from the North Shore Recovery High School in Beverly, Massachusetts, can be provided as benchmarking from a successful school. Additionally, the community of Recovery High School administrators, educators and Board members are eager to support the creation of new schools and have offered to make themselves available for more detailed questions and, in some cases, to travel to NYC to support our efforts.




Through our discussions with other Recovery High Schools, we have learned that a community of 50-60 students may be optimal for success. A Recovery High School with 50 students requires, at minimum, five teachers including a special education teacher. The school can function without an assistant principal, but a part-time guidance counselor is needed to provide college advisement. update transcripts, schedule mandated exams, and prepare students’ transcripts for diploma certification. Two full-time social workers or substance-abuse counselors are needed to provide daily group and frequent individual counseling to students and their families. The two school aides are required to provide off-site food service and office support.



Site Requirements:

The Board of SLAM has explored various opportunities for space regardless of whether the school was private, public or charter. We believe that the school should occupy a whole medium-sized building similar in size to the Harvey Milk School.   Following is a preliminary perspective on the minimum space requirement:



The Team

Who We Are

For NYC Teens – who statistically are WELL ABOVE the national average for suffering drug and alcohol abuse – the problem is especially urgent.

OASAS estimates that statewide, almost 160,000 Teens ages 12-17 have a substance abuse problem.

When adolescents engage in risky behaviors prior to the age of 21, they are FIVE times more likely to develop long-term abuse dependence.



Kristen talks with Anderson Cooper about SLAM

Published on Mar 28, 2012 SLAM (sobriety, learning and motivation) is a organization actress Kristen Johnston started five years ago, which assists New York City’s youth in recovery. Today, there are 30 flourishing in high schools across the U.S. Go to to learn more.

Kristen in The Anonymous People

See Kristen Johnston LIVE on Tuesday night at the NYC premiere of the brand new feature documentary, The Anonymous People! Get your tickets NOW: Facebook Event Link:

‘Turning Addiction into a Sideshow’ an article for The NY Times written by Kristen Johnston

Turning Addiction Into a Sideshow By KRISTEN JOHNSTON Published: July 19, 2013 “Kristen Johnston admits to being a total drug addict and alcoholic for years!” After 20 years of being a famous person, I’m happy to say I have pretty thick skin when it comes to press. However, when I saw that headline, which ran recently […]

“I don’t mind the swearing – we have bigger issues.

Their tattoos, their piercings, their rainbow hair…

don’t bother me at all.

Their scars are what’s important.

They live their lives with burdens heavier than the ones I’ve ever carried.

So my job is not about ‘vocabulary’ or ‘reading the classics’.

It’s not about diagramming sentences.

It’s about them finding the right words to let the rest of us know that …

they are here.

Among us.

Parts of us.

Gritty, courageous, outspoken, tender foul-mouthed angels …

tattooed with their mother’s names, their rosaries, their hometowns –

as if to say

‘Here, I am. Don’t forget me.’”

A poem by an English Teacher at North Shore Recovery High School, Beverly, Mass

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