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'Recovery high schools' provide education, support to students with addiction

Posted May 12

Drug recovery experts in North Carolina say they're seeing younger children fall victim to the nation's opioid epidemic.

Because of the rise, there is a new push to establish so-called recovery high schools, programs that allow children to overcome addiction issues while continuing their education.

Advocates for the program say they believe such programs could save lives.

Research indicates that seven out of 10 adults with a substance abuse problem started using before they turned 18.

In North Carolina, students who seek help will eventually have to return to their regular schools.

"If we know their schools are unhealthy, I mean, it's where their drug dealers are," said Kristen Harper, executive director of Recovery Communities of North Carolina, "wow can we expect our students to go in there and protect their recovery without any kind of support from the adult, which they're not getting right now?"

Recovery advocates across the state are pushing to bring recovery schools to North Carolina.

The schools would allow students in recovery to start fresh in a school with specialized addiction-support services, such as counseling.

"Having a recovery high school is a really health alternative to this sort of negative peer pressure we see within traditional schools," Harper said.

There are currently more than 40 recovery high schools around the country, but none in the Tar Heel State.

At the college level, North Carolina is home to nearly a dozen recovery programs.

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