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1A Remaking America: Recovery high schools present an alternative for teens facing addiction

Recovery coach Brittany Kitchens addresses students before the morning program starts at 5280 High School, Colorado's only recovery high school.
Recovery coach Brittany Kitchens addresses students before the morning program starts at 5280 High School, Colorado's only recovery high school.

Overdose deaths among teens doubled in the first year of the pandemic, according to data from UCLA.  

Schools have spent decades trying to prevent teens from using drugs and alcohol.TheOffice of National Drug Control Policy spent $2.9 billion on drug prevention last year alone, but the success rates of prevention programs remains in question. 

The Monitoring the Future Survey found 32 percent of 12thgraders reported using an illicit substance in the past year. That’s virtually unchanged from the survey’s findings 30 years ago.   

As part of our “Remaking America” collaboration, we highlight reporting from partner station KUNC on kids facing mental health and substance abuse issues. 

One possible solution is recovery high schools. There are at least 45 recovery schools across the U.S. dedicated to students with addiction problems.

We discuss the unique challenges young people face when seeking treatment, and how schools can do a better job of supporting them.

This conversation is part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations around the country. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Addiction treatment is available. For help, please call the free and confidential treatment referral hotline (1-800-662-HELP) or visit findtreatment.gov.

Copyright 2023 WAMU 88.5

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June Leffler, Chris Remington