ST. LOUIS STUDENTS NEED A LIFELINE. A RECOVERY HIGH SCHOOL CAN DELIVER ONE. Recovery high schools are diploma-granting institutions that provide academic and recovery support for students who are committed to substance use disorder recovery.

Why does St. Louis need a Recovery High School?
Surroundings matter, especially to teens. Exposure to and access to alcohol or other drugs “normalizes” substance abuse and makes it “the thing to do”. Studies indicate that 60 to 70 percent of students with addiction problems relapse upon returning to their former high schools after treatment. Spending time in places where they previously used drugs or seeing friends they’ve used drugs with can trigger relapse. Academic demands and intense course work can also contribute to the temptation to use substance abuse as an escape from stress.

What is a Recovery High School?
Recovery high schools are diploma-granting secondary schools that exclusively serve students recovering from substance abuse and dependency. In a recovery high school, students work their substance use disorder (SUD) program while working on their HS diploma. They will have the same academic experience as other high school students, but will have recovery-specific activities and specialized staff to support them. 5280 High School is an example of an effective program in Denver, CO.

Are Recovery High Schools effective?
NIH studies have found that that recovery high schools provide an increased probability of high school graduation and increased rates of sobriety. Substance abuse is more common among students who drop out of high school and has been associated with substance abuse later in life.

Can we do this here?
The state of Missouri has passed legislation (SB 681) that would allow for the establishment of up to four public recovery high schools by school districts in metropolitan areas. We would love to see one of these high schools established in the St. Louis area. BeFreeKC is working on establishing one in the Kansas City area, looking to open in the fall of 2024.

Urgent Realities

Between 2019 and 2021, the number of overdose deaths doubled among teenagers in the U.S

 Alcohol-related deaths in Missouri are more likely to involve underage drinkers.

Around 17,000 Missourians between ages 12-17 have a substance use disorder (SUD)


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