Special ‘recovery schools’ are helping US teenagers beat drug addiction.

The United States now has a number of schools which are specially designed for young people who have experienced issues with substance misuse. Research shows that the problem is widespread with an estimated 1,100 American teenagers starting to misuse opioid painkillers every single day.

In some cases, this drug use can be fatal and in 2015, 521 teenagers in the US died as a result of opioid abuse.

Seventeen-year-old Logan Snyder attends Hope Academy – an Indianapolis-based recovery school. She first became addicted to painkillers at just 14 after she was prescribed them to treat kidney stone pain.

She told The Associated Press that the school had helped her stay away from drugs after attending a residential treatment program.

She said: “I am with people all day who are similar to me. We’re here to hold each other accountable.”

Rachelle Gardner, an addiction counsellor who helped to set up Hope Academy back in 2006, said she was regularly contacted by other people looking to start similar schools in their area.

Therapy helps pupils stay sober

At the moment, there are around 36 recovery schools in the US but the number is growing. Alongside normal lessons, pupils attend group therapy sessions aimed at keeping them from relapsing.

The schools also use random drug testing to check whether the teenagers are managing to stay clean. This kind of approach is also being used by workplaces as a way of monitoring staff who have experienced problems with substance misuse in the past to return to their roles.

AlphaBiolabs offers post rehab testing, which can be used by employers as a way of reintegrating staff members back into the workplace. These tests also help rebuild the trust between workers and bosses as staff can prove they really have beaten their addiction.

At Hope Academy, if a student fails a urine test, they will have a one-to-one meeting with a recovery coach. Some pupils also receive medication to help them overcome their substance misuse by blocking their cravings.

Opioid painkillers include codeine, morphine and methadone, all of which can be detected through drug testing.

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