Areas of Focus
A National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) Monitoring the Future survey of over 46,000 youth found an alarming increase in the use of illicit substances – while perceived risk of use declined. Most alarming, however, are findings that non-medical use of highly addictive prescription pain medications are on the rise and are being used in relatively high numbers.
The age at which people first try many substances has remained relatively constant in recent years. For those using in their teenage years, the age of first use is between 15 and 17 years old. All of this points to high schools as the critical educational focal point when it comes to addressing the potentially devastating long-term effects of the disease of addiction. It is essential to prepare the nation to serve adolescents in recovery in an environment that promotes both academic and recovery advancement. A key resource for both academic and recovery support is the recovery high school.
A broad market study on recovery high schools is being undertaken by The Stacie Mathewson Foundation on behalf of the Association of Recovery Schools. Included in the study is a state-by-state analysis of the laws, rules, policies and practices that might best support the proliferation of secondary school mental health and school-based recovery support services across the nation. With the help of this market study, we will advocate for advancements in public and educational policies that extend health care benefits and services to adolescents qualifying for treatment and recovery support. In the near term, we are supporting the development of an accreditation process to be administered by the Association of Recovery Schools, resulting in all operating recovery high schools being accredited by 2016.