Delaware non-profit atTAcK addiction is making its pitch for state dollars to fund a three-pronged effort to combat the opioid crisis, including a recovery high school in New Castle County.
AtTAcK addiction joined education officials in requesting the state invest $2 million of its additional revenue to start the school that would offer counseling available to all Delaware students struggling with opioid addiction as they pursue a high school diploma.
Red Clay School District Superintendent Merv Daugherty says the school would prevent students getting out of rehab from being reintroduced into the same environment where they got their drugs.
“So there’s more of an oversight on helping you navigate your high school career—where we’re holding you accountable, we’re working with you. As I like to call it, we want you to see the light at the end of the tunnel again,” said Daugherty.
Emily Polecaro is an 18-year-old resident at the Limen House sober living facility in Wilmington. She says she had to travel out of state to attend a similar recovery high school.
“The staff there they knew how to make the kids feel at home and understood, which is something that public schools just aren’t equipped to do. You know, they have the code of conduct and that’s what they have to follow. There’s no really code of conduct to deal with someone who has an addictive personality,” she said.
Education officials say if the state funding comes through the school will open this August, with only 15 to 20 students to start. It would be staffed with educators, addiction counselors and health professionals.
AtTAcK addiction is also pushing for a $4 million state investment into additional treatment facilities, and a tax on opioids sold in the First State to help pay for efforts to address addiction.