Recovery Schools Offer Place for Teens to Fight Addiction
For teens who are abusing drugs or alcohol with their school peers (or even at school), a wise solution is to take them out of school and place them into an inpatient substance abuse program. What about when the teens finish their treatment? Do you put them back into the same school where they can be tempted to relapse? Or do you keep them away from school permanently?
Fortunately, there is an organization that is addressing this dilemma: the Association of Recovery Schools.
What Happens At a Recovery School?
These “recovery schools” are institutions that are designed specifically for high schoolers who are recovering from substance abuse. They are generally smaller than a typical high school, which allows more specialized attention not only by teachers but also by professionals who are trained in helping teens with substance abuse issues.
At recovery schools, the students are in an environment where everyone is battling the same types of problems. Perhaps more importantly, the students can support one another in their recovery without being tempted by the presence of drugs or alcohol, both of which are commonly found in traditional secondary schools.
In addition to smaller classes, students gather periodically during the week for group meetings which resemble those conducted by Alcoholics Anonymous. Also, every student meets with a “recovery coach” one-on-one on a regular basis so that he or she can receive customized advice or therapy to stay sober.
Unsurprisingly, all students at recovery schools are drug tested frequently. If they test positive, they are not automatically expelled. Instead, they are moved into more classes which focus on their recovery, and they get even more one-on-one attention from their teachers.
Is Recovery School Worth It?
Recovery schools are funded in a variety of different ways. Many of them have access to public state funds that accompany each student, but this money is not enough to cover the additional costs of treatment, counseling, and other needs of addicts who are trying to recover. While grants and donations do help some of these schools, budgeting remains an ongoing challenge because these funding sources are not necessarily available from one year to the next.
Most recovery schools have not been open long enough to assess the long-term impact on the recovery efforts of these students. However, Paul Moberg of the Public Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin says that 59 percent of students at recovery high schools reported that they had not relapsed in the six months after completing substance abuse treatment, which is almost twice the rate of 30 percent reported by students in traditional high schools.
There are certainly quite a few individual success stories. According to a story from the Associated Press, a girl who became addicted to opioids at 14 enrolled at Hope Academy in Indianapolis; today, she credits the school for her success at remaining sober at age 17. Another AP story talks about a Minnesota teen who began drinking at age 14 before progressing to pot, cocaine, and other illicit drugs. He is now 17 months sober four years later and is enrolled in college after graduating from PEASE Academy in Minneapolis, which he said kept him from being “dead or in jail.”
If Your Son Or Daughter Is An Addict…
Here is a list of recovery schools operated by the Association of Recovery Schools, and there are many others scattered across the country. If you do not have a loved one who is an addict, then perhaps you can look for ways to help out a recovery school that is already in your community. The students at that school will undoubtedly appreciate your support.
If you are the parent of a substance abuser, however, the first step on the road to recovery is to get help from a qualified substance abuse treatment facility. While in teen drug rehab, your child will have access to educational content, and in some cases, you might decide to enroll your child in a recovery school after rehab. To talk about all the options available for your teen, contact us today!