Recovery high schools help students battling addiction
The opioid epidemic has swept young people across the country into addiction. For many teenagers, the only way out is to break away from the temptations and peer pressure. In New Jersey, there are sober high schools; part classroom, part recovery program.
Lisa k was 14 years-old when she tried drugs for the first time. Within two years, drinking and getting high were her top priority. At 16, she left school for rehab.
"My life was really out of control, and I thought about it and thought 'there's no way I can live the rest of my life like this. I can't do this anymore'", she said.
She never returned to her public school in new jersey. Instead, she completed her senior year at this recovery high school.
It's part classroom, part recovery program where students commit to being drug and alcohol-free -- away from the temptations of their past.
"When you look at kids, they go into treatment, they go right back into school, they're surrounded by all of their same friends," said Pamela Capaci, CEO of Prevention Links. "That's, unfortunately, where they're meeting their drug dealers, drug-dealing friends.
Recovery schools have been around since the 1980s, but in the past four years, the number has grown rapidly to 41 across the country.
"I don't care if it's one kid, we've literally changed the course of her life and the ripple effect that she's going to have on other people - if we have to do it one student at a time, that's fine with me," Capaci said.
A recent government study finds nearly 9 percent of teenagers in the United States are abusing illegal drugs.
Lisa says she's been clean for more than two years and is temptation-free.
Her new life -- is a college sophomore at Rutgers University, where she lives in an alcohol-free dorm, planning for a career in finance.
The association of recovery schools says it has received over 100 inquiries over the last year from people interested in opening a sober high school.