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Massachusetts High School Uses Music to Support Sobriety

Blur abstract background of examination room with high school students inside.  

North Shore Recovery High School is a place where teens can creatively express themselves while also finding support in their addiction recovery. Located in Beverly, Massachusetts, this high school combines the benefits of programs like music therapy and drug rehab.

Though the school follows education regulations, it also carries a number of other benefits. Students receive a more hands-on approach thanks to small class sizes, as the school only serves anywhere from 30 to 50 students at a time. In addition to their curriculum, students also participate in “psycho-social groups” throughout the day.

These group programs do not only focus on substance use. They also address and foster conversations about relationships, grief, health choices, self-esteem, co-occurring disorders and more. The school employs four teachers as well as music and art instructor specialists, a recovery counselor, a social worker, and a guidance counselor.

Recovery High Schools Offer a Safe Place to Recoup

At recovery high schools like North Shore, students can find peer support in addiction recovery. These programs also offer therapy activities for teens and help young people find a place where they feel like they belong. The students who go to this recovery high school face addictions involving alcohol, prescription medications, and heroin.

North Shore Recovery High School is the largest of its kind and the first to open its doors in Massachusetts. There are only five of these programs in the state. The staff at the school is trained to deal with trauma, so they find healthy ways to approach students who act out or have difficulties coping.

Principal Michelle Lipinski says the school’s music program is one way to help reduce the stigma that often surrounds addiction. The goal is to help students at the school learn through love rather than through what she describes as an “iron fist.” Lipinski says the school aims to provide more resources, attention, and access to the things their students need in order to thrive.

The Benefits of Alternative Therapies in Teen Rehab Programs

Programs that have experiential therapy activities like music therapy are often described as holistic or alternative programs. These programs can also use theater, yoga, creative writing and a variety of other outlets to help people overcome substance misuse.

There are many benefits of music therapy and similar programs when used in addiction treatment. These programs can reduce the opposition a person may feel toward treatment, helping to reduce shame and stigma as well. Holistic programs serve to motivate positive change, and they provide a healthy way for people to express their emotions and feelings. These types of programs can also help build social connections and foster conversations.

When a teen or young person is struggling with the effects of addiction, they’re often dealing with a complex, multi-faceted problem. As a result, recovery treatment and ongoing support must be similarly multi-faceted. This is why programs like North Shore Recovery High School can be so beneficial.

If your teen is dealing with substance misuse or a co-occurring mental health condition, Next Generation Village is here to help. We offer personalized, holistic treatment programs geared specifically towards the needs of adolescents. Contact us today to learn about treatment plans that can work well for your child’s situation.


Arsenault, Cassy. “High School Uses Unconventional Programs to Lead Students on the Path to Sobriety.” NBC Boston 10, September 5, 2019. Accessed October 14, 2019.

Northshore Education Consortium. “Northshore Recovery High School.” (n.d.). Accessed October 14, 2019.

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