Special Schools Help Youths Kick the Opioid Habit

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Youth is a drawback when it comes to kicking drugs. Only half of U.S. treatment centers accept teenagers, and fewer offer teen-focused groups or programs, the Associated Press reports. After treatment, adolescents find little structured support. They’re outnumbered by adults at self-help meetings, drop-in centers are rare, and returning to school means resisting offers to get high with friends. One success story is Hope Academy in Indianapolis, a tuition-free recovery school. Says one student: “I am with people all day who are similar to me. We’re here to hold each other accountable.”

The opioid epidemic, the worst addiction crisis in U.S. history, has mostly ensnared adults, especially those in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Teens have not been spared: Each day, 1,100 start misusing pain pills. Opioids killed 521 teens in 2015, federal data show. Researchers say young recovering addicts do better at places like Hope, special schools that use peer communities to support sobriety. There are only about three dozen such schools in the U.S., but interest is growing among educators and health officials because of the opioid epidemic.


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