The Association of Recovery Schools (www.recoveryschools.org), a national advocacy group for secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, defines a recovery school as one that provides:
- Academic services to students with history of substance abuse or dependency who are currently working a program of recovery
- Therapeutic assistance to students to help them maintain sobriety
Recovery schools provide supportive academic environments to students on their journey to sobriety and, in many cases, have been proven to prevent relapse.
Research indicates that 8 out of 10 students who return to their home schools after discharge from a treatment program will relapse within the first year [1. Finch, Andrew J. Starting a Recovery School. Hazelden Press. 2005.]. Frequently, students with a history of substance abuse or dependency have obtained drugs or alcohol at their previous schools and used them with their peers.
A recovery school gives students a chance to remove themselves from the strong influences of the “people, places and things” of their pre-treatment lives. A recent study shows that students who were enrolled in an ARS recovery school for at least 3 months sustained longer periods of abstinence, and reported decreased negative feelings and a decline in the urge to use [2. Moberg, D. Paul, et al. “The Role of Recovery High Schools in the Continuum of Care: Empirical Findings.” PowerPoint presentation. October 1, 2009.].