Rhode Island just opened its first “recovery” high school to help teens returning from drug or alcohol treatment programs stay sober while catching up on the academics they missed while in rehab. The number one state in the country for teen drug abuse, it’s a problem that Rhode Island has to address head on. According to the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), almost 13 percent of Rhode Island teens ranging in age from 12 to 17 have abused drugs within the last 30 days. The national average for teen drug abuse is just over 8 percent.
Ten other states in the country have already opened recovery high schools, so it is not surprising that Rhode Island has followed suit given the severity of their teen drug problem. The new school, called Anchor Learning Academy, currently has four students enrolled in the program.
Why Are Recovery High Schools a Necessity?
More than 90 percent of adolescents who return from substance abuse rehabilitation programs are offered drugs on the first day they return to their regular high school. The biggest reason is because drug-using peers who the teen knew prior to entering treatment are still using drugs. Unfortunately, the immediate access to illicit substances and peer pressure to get high or drunk means that about 50 percent of students returning to school after drug and alcohol treatment will relapse within three months.
Recovery High Schools Offer a Temptation-Free Atmosphere
Recovery high schools offer an environment that is free of the people and reminders of their past drug use which can create a strong temptation to relapse. In these schools, recovering teens are surrounded by peers who have been through similar experiences and similarly working to stay focused on the goal of continued sobriety. Comparatively, most kids in a typical high school setting cannot relate to what a teen in recovery is going through, and many students, unfortunately, are still of the mindset that drug and alcohol experimentation is not a big deal.
In addition, recovery high schools provide an opportunity for teens to get used to a sober lifestyle before they are thrown back into the mix with non-sober peers. These specialized schools offer a pressure-free setting for students to catch up scholastically; however, many students do return to their former high school to celebrate graduation.
At Newport Academy, we offer an independent education program that allows your teen to stay on track at school while they undergo drug addiction treatment, but a recovery high school may still be a good idea for your teen after treatment because it significantly lowers the amount of peer pressure to use drugs that they will experience. Call us here at Newport Academy today for more information about our programs.