The opening of Canada’s first recovery high school is a solid step in creating resources for youth with substance use disorders.
Quest Collegiate and Recovery Centres opened in North Simcoe this month. The high school’s mission “is to provide teens recovering from substance use disorder with an environmental and social configuration that supports and encourages recovery and academic success.”
Rehabilitation often forces education and other parts of life to be put on hold.
The recovery high school model is an excellent way for youth with substance use disorders to continue to engage in other areas of their life, while recovering in an environment that’s equipped to support their needs.
The response of ordinary high schools to substance use is to reprimand rather than support. The lack of support is only made worse by the pervasive stigma surrounding the disorder, making it difficult for youth to continue in their high school during or following rehabilitation.
While high schools like Quest Collegiate are taking important strides to learn how to better assist youth with such disorders, more support and education on the nature of substance use disorders needs to be present in the average high school, as well.
It’s important to ensure preventative measures are in place to mitigate the number of students who get to the point of needing rehabilitation.
This first recovery high school is an important step for Canada. Prior to Quest Collegiate’s opening, youth who wanted to go to such institutions were forced to go to the United States, where tuition is extremely high.
One of Quest Collegiate’s limitations is that its admittance capacity is set at 50 students. While it’s important to keep numbers low to ensure that each student receives the necessary amount of attention, this raises questions on how students will be picked.
By opening this recovery high school, there’s an acknowledgement that substance use disorders are mental illnesses in need of extra resources.
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