OHIO – With more and more people and children dealing with addiction having a “recovery high school” just makes sense.
According to District Admission reports
only 38 of these specialized high schools exist and they serve less than 2,000 kids in 15 states nationwide. Federal estimates over a million middle and high school aged kids are dealing with addiction in the US and less than a quarter are receiving any sort of treatment.
“When you go back to your school of origin, you’re around the same people you used with before, the same people who might be dealing to you,” said Paige Stewart, a clinical psychologist and the head of Heartland. “You’re around the same stressors. And now you have extra stressors, because now you’re that kid who comes back to school that’s been to rehab, so there’s stigma there.”
One student, Alyssa, began using drugs and alcohol at 13. She relapsed after returning to school from a treatment program, caving in to the peer pressure around her. “All these people are attacking me, and saying, ‘Oh you’re lame because you don’t want to go to an after party for homecoming’ or whatever. And I was like, I don’t want to use drugs. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink anymore. ‘What’s wrong with you, why don’t you want to party, why don’t you want to be a normal high schooler?’” Alyssa told WOSU.
These new high schools not only give the students a drug free environment it also separates them from local peer groups for possible relapse. All the new peers around them are dealing with similar addiction issues and understand those struggles.
Downfall to these schools are cost effectiveness and limited offers of extra-curricular activities. Most funding for these programs come from grants, insurance and non-profit groups.
Heartland High School will open in September and is located on Broad Street in Columbus Ohio.