As opioid crisis intensifies, one Md. school system looks at a ‘recovery’ school

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Kevin Burnes thinks his school saved his life. He arrived there at 14 years old, just out of rehab, and says it was exactly what he needed: a place where kids with drug and alcohol problems could stay on a path of recovery as they worked toward high school graduation.

“I have no question that it changed the course of everything I was doing,” said Burnes, now a music teacher and musician.

The school that made the difference was Phoenix, in Montgomery County, believed to have been the first of its kind in the country. It opened in 1979 amid concerns about student drug use and continued for decades before fizzling to an end four years ago at a time of flux for alternative programs.

Now the idea may be making a comeback, with school leaders looking into the possibility of a new “recovery” school program as the nation’s opioid epidemic draws wide attention. While some in Montgomery pose questions about cost and effectiveness, others say the program worked well years ago and could help those who struggle with addiction today.


As communities nationwide are struggling with the unprecidented opioid pain pill and heroin addiction epidemic, one Maryland school system is examining the idea of creating a recovery school for those who have struggled with substance abuse and are trying to live free of drugs and alcohol.
© John Moore/Getty Images As communities nationwide are struggling with the unprecidented opioid pain pill and heroin addiction epidemic, one Maryland school system is examining the idea of creating a recovery school for those who have…



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