Sober High Schools Growing Rapidly, Changing Lives

The opioid epidemic is a growing health crisis facing many young people across the country.   For many teenagers facing addiction, the only way out is to break away from the temptations and peer pressure.   Kenneth Craig explains how a new type of high school is helping them in their recovery.

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,” said Lisa.

She never returned to her public school in New Jersey and instead, completed her senior year at this recovery high school.

Its part classroom, part recovery program where students commit to being drug and alcohol-free can study away from the temptations of their past.

“When you look at kids, they go into treatment,” said Pamela Capaci, CEO of Prevention Links.

“They go right back into school, they're surrounded by all of their same friends; that's, unfortunately, where they're meeting their drug dealers, drug-dealing friends,” said Capaci.

Recovery schools have been around since the 1980's, 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,” said Capaci.

A recent government study finds nearly 9 percent of teenagers in the United States are abusing illegal drugs.

Lisa said she's been clean for more than two years.

Her new life is a college sophomore at Rutgers University, where she lives in an alcohol free dorm, planning for a career in finance.