Recovery high schools help teens avoid temptation

- For teenagers in treatment for addiction, returning to school means resisting offers to get high with old friends.

A new kind of school helps these kids by using peer pressure in a different way.

More than 300,000 U.S. teenagers get treatment for addiction every year.

The students at Hope Academy in Indianapolis have abused drugs and alcohol, even heroin. Most have been through rehab, but instead of returning to old habits at their former high schools, they came to Hope Academy.

"I think that teenagers think that, 'Oh we have so much life ahead of us. We don't have to stop using right now,'" Hope Academy student Ian Lewis explained.

The school offers traditional classes to students committed to staying clean and sober.

"I am with people all day that are similar to me. And then we're all going through different things. But we can all provide insight and we're here to hold each other accountable," student Logan Snyder said.

There are about three dozen recovery schools in the U.S. but interest is growing because of the deadly opioid epidemic.

“I think the young people are getting the attention right now because it's horrible to see young people die, horrible," Hope Academy’s COO Rachelle Gardner explained.

At Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Andy Finch conducts research on recovery schools.

"We're finding some very promising findings so far in our study. We're finding that students are significantly less likely to relapse in recovery schools and also have significantly fewer days used of marijuana and other drugs," Associate Professor Finch said.

Student Aiden Thompson relapsed over winter break but credits the school for getting back on track.

"This school really does help, though, it really does. I don't want to think where I would be without it at all," Aiden said.

Right now there is only one recovery high school in Florida – which is in Jacksonville.

To learn more, visit https://recoveryschools.org/.

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