Support Group Envisions High School for Rochester Teens Battling Addiction

Mar 14, 2016

Credit freeimages.com/Ben Kersey

A Rochester support group for people trying to overcome alcohol and drug addiction wants to establish a local high school for students who are battling addiction.

David Attridge of the Upstate Recovery Council says there are 35 such schools around the country. His group wants to base its local model on a high school in Massachusetts.

“We would offer 12 step programs that would come in every day for meetings," Attridge said. "We would have our guidance counselors and social workers with an addiction background. We would also offer outpatient services for our students, which is usually what happens when someone goes into rehab.”

Attridge says if a student battling addiction goes into rehab and then back to their regular school, 90 percent of them have a relapse.

“What we want to do, is when they get taken out, they would come to Recovery Academy, working with their peers. It would be the same type of (public) education; the same kind of diploma. The day would be a little longer because it is recovery oriented.”  Attridge said data from recovery based high schools show an average 90 percent attendance rate and a 70 percent graduation rate.

Family involvement would be mandatory and students could be referred for admission to the school by doctors, therapists, guidance counselors, or drug courts and treatment programs. The Upstate Recovery Council is discussing possible options with the State Department of Education. Attridge is not sure if the Recovery Academy would be a charter school or a private school. The academy would be limited to a maximum 60 students, and Attridge envisions it being located in Rochester or Gates, so students have access to the public bus routes.

The group’s goal is to open the school in September of 2017.