NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — New York City now has its first so-called ‘sober high school’ where teenagers going through rehab can do so without the usual peer pressure.
As CBS2’s Dana Tyler reported there is a push for more sober high schools.
“I was overdosing in school. I was getting expelled,” said one student who asked to remain anonymous.
“I felt helpless without drugs,” he said.
The boy was hooked on oxycontin at age 11 and said the easiest place to score drugs was at school.
“Everyone in the school had access to drugs. You could ask anyone in the halls and they would know where to get it,” he explained.
Now 15, the boy went to rehab, but said going back to his old school with easy access to drugs would be a disaster.
“It was terrifying. I didn’t want my life to go back down that road,” he said.
Now that New York City has its first sober high school, he won’t have to.
“I don’t think i could be in a more supportive environment,” he said.
Newport Academy is a private school with steep tuition at $50,000 a year.
“The price of Newport Academy as a private school is right on par to almost all other private schools in Manhattan,” founder Jamison Monroe said.
In addition to academics there is a focus on giving students the tools to stay off drugs and alcohol. There’s therapy, meditation, and yoga.
Across the country there are about 35 public sober high schools but none in New York City.
“I absolutely feel like I am banging my head against the wall,” Joe Schrank said.
Schrank heads a group that has been pushing for a public sober high school in the city.
“Unless you’re writing a check, a very large check, you don’t have many options,” he said, “The fact that we are this far behind in this arena is unacceptable.”
Schrank has not yet been able to get a meeting with the de Blasio administration, but that could be changing.
The mayor has a daughter who has struggled with substance abuse, and that may open the door.
“It’s something I have a personal perspective on because of my daughter Chiara. I’ll make sure that they definitely get a hearing from our chancellor,” the mayor said.
CBS2 plans to follow up with the mayor on the issue.
Experts said adolescents relapse at a much higher rate than adults, and 78 percent of those relapses happen within the first six months of treatment.