Recovery High School Concept

Two factors emphasize the need for addiction recovery support resources for high school students in the United States. First, there is growing awareness of the disease and the evidence of successful recovery.

Second, there is also a growing incidence of individuals beginning harmful use of substances at earlier ages and at a higher level of damage.

In the last twenty years, a movement has been established to provide high school education for students in addiction recovery. This resulted in the 2002 establishment of the Association of Recovery Schools. They list five basic criteria of a recovery school. Recovery schools:

1. Operate as state-recognized high schools or colleges with academic or residential programs/departments designed specifically for students in addiction recovery committed to being abstinent from alcohol andother drugs.

2. Provide academic services and recovery assistance, post-treatment support, or continuing care, but they do not operate primarily as treatment centers or mental health agencies.

3. Require that all recovering students be sober and working a program of recovery (as determined by the student and the school) while enrolled.

4. Offer academic courses for which students receive credit toward a high school or college diploma and provide services that assist the student in making the transition into a college, a career, or another high school.

5. Have a plan in place to handle the therapeutic and crisis needs of students. These plans include licensed counselors on staff, outsourced counseling contracts, or written referral plan.

6. Includes parental involvement in a student’s recovery, increasing success exponentially. Addiction has a family impact. Parents participate in the recovery process by attending family meetings and helping students be accountable.