Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 30 July |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Solanus Casey
home iconNews
line break icon

Recovery schools that help students with addictions spring up throughout US

student

Nonwarit | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 04/04/17 - updated on 04/05/17

Secondary education may just be giving many students a second chance.

The specialty high school movement has really taken off, with everything from agricultural-themed secondary schools to high schools that prepare students for work in the healthcare field.

But there’s a new kid on the block: high schools catering directly to students who have been struggling with drug addiction.

With the national crisis of addiction, especially to opioids, extending to all classes of society and to a younger demographic, perhaps it was only natural that schools like this would spring up.

Independence Academy in Brockton, Massachusetts, is one of almost three dozen so-called “recovery schools” throughout the nation.

The Christian Science Monitor paints a picture of the problem:

While national surveys indicate that adolescent drug use has fallen in recent years, some 1.3 million 12- to 17-year-olds still met the criteria for a substance use disorder in 2014. That includes 679,000 young people who struggled with alcohol problems and another 168,000 who misused pain relievers.

And, timing for an intervention is important. “Studies find that 9 in 10 adults with addiction problems began their chemical dependency before age 18,” the Monitor explains. “In Massachusetts, unintentional overdoses of opioids alone claimed 1,465 lives statewide in 2016 – up from 613 in 2011. Among the fatalities were 114 individuals under age 25.”

And Brockton, like many cities, is struggling with a constant influx of illicit drugs and dealing with the damage that results: In early 2016, a tainted batch of heroin hit the streets, causing 40 overdoses in just two days.

Independence Academy enrolls about two dozen students. Opened in 2012, it’s one of five such schools funded and overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. To be admitted, students must pledge to abstain from using drugs and alcohol and submit to random drug testing.

Once they’re in, the hope is that a culture of “positive peer pressure” will help teens stay sober. They also receive intensive counseling to find ways to stave off addictive urges and to address whatever got them using in the first place. … The teaching is often tailored to address individual areas of weakness.

Are such schools effective? Researchers would like to find out, but they are reluctant to create a “control group” of students who would be left to struggle without the help of recovery schools.

“The problem is we can’t ethically direct children down one road if that would mean depriving them of treatment,” said Andrew Finch of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, who studies recovery high schools.

But Independence Academy believes it’s making a difference. They claim to see students go from using drugs once or twice a week to once or twice a month. It’s not perfect, but with drug addiction and alcoholism, it’s often just “one day at a time.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HIDILYN DIAZ
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
2
Zelda Caldwell
World-record winning gymnast Simone Biles leans on her Catholic f...
3
SIMONE BILES
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
4
ORGAN
J-P Mauro
Reconstructing a 12th-century pipe organ discovered in the Holy L...
5
PRINCESS DIANA AND MOTHER TERESA
Mathilde De Robien
Did you know Princess Di was buried with a rosary?
6
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been know...
7
Lauren Daigle
J-P Mauro
After 3 years Lauren Daigle ousts herself from #1 Billboard spot
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.