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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Recovery High School

For many in recovery, addiction began in their teens and it is usually not addressed until adulthood. Many teenagers who are dealing with addiction manage to have their problem go undetected throughout their high school years. Those whose parents or peers discover the problem, usually through overdose or arrest, are commonly sent to treatment. After treatment, such teenagers usually resume their schooling, but some do not return to their old high school.

In certain parts of the country, teenagers who have struggled with addiction may be eligible to attend what’s being called “Recovery High.” In the State of Massachusetts, a number of such schools have opened, offering schoolwork and recovery support for teenagers living sober, WBUR reports. There are now five high schools in the state that provide a community for recovering addicts.

One school, William J. Ostiguy Recovery High School, is housed in a Boston office building. The school is open year round and offers small classes, usually no more than 15 students at a time, according to the article. A licensed substance abuse counselor develops individual recovery plans for the students, and each student must submit to random weekly drug tests. If a student happens to relapse, they are required to leave school for treatment for an indefinite period.

“All too often people in recovery in general, not just kids, will convince themselves that once a relapse happens they might as well go all out because they’ve already quote-unquote screwed up,” says John McCarthy, Ostiguy’s recovery counselor. “And it’s really unfortunate, because a relapse does not have to be like that. It can be, you know, a positive learning opportunity.” 

Recovery high schools offer a unique opportunity for young people in recovery. They can receive a good education, and they can do it amongst peers who are also learning to live a life free from addiction.

“The young people identify as being in addiction,” said Roger Oser, Ostiguy’s principal. “So they look to the left and they look to the right and they see someone who is going through the same struggle as them, which they don’t get in their communities and their home schools.”

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