Gov. proposes high schools for recovering addicts

Governor Proposes Recovery High Schools

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Governor Cuomo wants to create two new high schools for students who are recovering from drug addiction. He made the announcement during his state of the state tour on Long Island Tuesday.

The Governor wants the state to open one high school upstate and one downstate. He hasn't said where yet.

The Office for Alcoholism and Substance Abuse would work with local social service agencies to get the schools going, and any high school student diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder who has a commitment to recovery would be allowed to enroll.

One of the agencies that hopes to get involved is Kids Escaping Drugs. Campus Director Jodie Altman says there is a need for a recovery high school in Western New York. She thinks the KED campus would be a perfect fit, especially for students after their five or six month stay on campus.

"Then all of the sudden, we send them out, and it's very abrupt. We prepare them, but how much can you really prepare them to have to go back into their schools. So I think it would be a natural fit. It would mean the world to them for that to at least know for those 5, 6, 7 hours a day that they're still in a safe environment," says Altman.

The Governor's office says these would be the first recovery high schools set up in regions of the state hit by the disease of addiction, which makes it sound like more schools would be planned.

Altman says there would probably counseling and group work offered at the schools.

"A lot of our kids are going back to their home environment, especially the under 18, which is high school because there is no safe place for them to go. There is no halfway house, yet. Which is a whole other issue that I can talk about, but so to have and what they tell us is their biggest fear is to go back home to go to school. You know, that's usually the scene of where they were getting their drugs, or they were selling their drugs, or they were doing whatever. So to have a safe high school, a recovery high school, would mean a whole lot for our kids that are in the residential portion of our campus,” says Altman.

This isn't a done deal. The legislature would still have to approve the creation of the high schools.


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