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The Greater Philadelphia Association

for Recovery Education

The Association of Recovery Schools (ARS), a national advocacy group for secondary and post-secondary educational institutions, defines a recovery school as one that provides:

  1. Academic services to students who have had a history of substance abuse or dependency and are currently working a program of recovery

  2. Therapeutic assistance to students in order to help them maintain sobriety


Research indicates that 8 out of 10 students who return to their home schools after discharge from a treatment program will relapse within the first year.1  Recovery schools provide supportive academic environments to students on their journey to sobriety and have been proven to prevent relapse, in many cases.

Frequently, students with a history of substance abuse or dependency have obtained and used drugs and/or alcohol at their previous schools with their peers.  A recovery school gives students a chance to remove themselves from the strong influences of their pre-treatment lives— “people, places and things.” A recent study shows that students who were enrolled in an ARS recovery school for at least 3 months sustained longer periods of abstinence, and reported decreased negative feelings and a decline in the urge to use.

1 Finch, Andrew J. Starting a Recovery School. Hazelden Press. 2005

2 Moberg, D. Paul, et al. “The Role of Recovery High Schools in the Continuum of Care:
  Empirical Findings.” PowerPoint presentation. October 1, 2009.