June 16, 2006
OFFICE OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Kimberly A. Johnson Receives Prestigious National Award

photo of Kimberly Johnson receiving award

AUGUSTA, ME – Kimberly Johnson, director of DHHS’ Office of Substance Abuse (OSA), was recently awarded the prestigious 2006 “Friend of the Field Award” in Atlanta at the National Conference of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence, Inc. (AATOD).

The Friend of the Field Award was established by the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence Board of Directors. This award recognizes extraordinary contributions to the field of methadone treatment by an individual or institution whose work, although not directly related to methadone treatment, has had a significant impact on our field.

“Ms. Johnson’s contributions to providing access to methadone treatment services is the result of her being able to create a consensus among all parties to find the best solution for patients in need of care, the surrounding communities and treatment providers,” said Mark Parrino, MPA, President of AATOD, “The true value of Johnson’s commitment to this work is to be certain that patients get access to the best quality treatment that is available. In this regard, the interests of the community are safeguarded.”

Johnson has been an indefatigable advocate of methadone treatment programs in Maine during a turbulent period of development. Maine did not have methadone treatment programs within its boundaries until 1995. She has provided extraordinary and consistent leadership in resisting the efforts of community groups and elected officials in closing methadone treatment programs, in addition to fending off legislation which would have had a negative impact on the evolution of methadone treatment programs in Maine and the northeastern corridor.

Previous awardees of the AATOD’s Friend of the Field Award are: Dr. John Ball, Dr. Enoch Gordis, Mr. Joseph M. Hill, Hon. Edward M. Kennedy, Dr. Alan I. Leshner, Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, Dr. James Oleske, Dr. Charles R. Schuster, and the Legal Action Center.

Johnson has the distinction of being the only State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Director to spearhead a major public relations campaign, through radio and other media outlets, to specifically support the methadone treatment system. The continued use of methadone treatment in Maine would have been seriously threatened were it not for her leadership in the face of such an extraordinary challenge.

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Contact:

Lynn “Kip” Kippax, Director

Media and Public Relations

Department of Health and Human Services

221 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Tel: (207) 287-5012 (direct)

Cell: (207) 557-1474

E-mail: lynn.kippax@maine.gov