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Advocates push for recovery high school for teens struggling with substance abuse

Photo courtesy MGN Online.

SAN ANTONIO – High schools just for students recovering from substance abuse have found success in other big cities. Now, the idea’s gaining momentum in San Antonio.

One in seven people will struggle with substance abuse in their lifetimes, but only 10% get help. Local advocates say a recovery high school could increase that success rate.

"A lot of the kids feel that they have to go from an inpatient treatment center, where they have all the support in the world, back to school,” says specialist Josh Green from Rise Recovery.

He says going right back where the problem began all too often leads to relapse.

"They don't have anybody that can relate to their problem, and they might be sitting next to their drug dealer in math class,” Green says.

If that sounds far-fetched, research from right here in Bexar County paints a startling picture.

"The average age of first use is eleven years old, and 25% to 35% of high school students report drinking on a monthly basis,” says Abigail Moore from the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SACADA).

That’s why the group is pushing for a recovery high school: regular high school classes, with counselors and recovery meetings on campus.

It would be the first in San Antonio, but not in Texas. Moore says students in these schools are successful.

"They're in recovery longer and they have less episodes of relapse,” she says.

But to make it happen, SACADA needs a partner.

"Whether it's a school district, a charter school - we're looking for those champions,” Moore says.

As her team continues to meet with superintendents, Green at Rise Recovery believes the teens he helps would benefit.

"A lot of the participants here feel that their friends and the staff at school aren't able to relate to their problems,” he says. “They wish that there was somebody to walk with them through the recovery journey."

By EMILY BAUCUM

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