Ohio Launches Its First Recovery High School

The Recovery VillageUncategorized

Teens sitting at desk completing school work at a recovery high school

In the summer of 2019, the class bells at Ohio’s new recovery high school rang for the first time. Heariktland High School may be the first of its kind in the state but it’s not alone. It joins a growing number of recovery high schools that exist throughout the nation.

Located in Columbus, Heartland provides recovery resources for students who have already received addiction treatment. Like most rehabilitation centers, schools like Heartland understand that sobriety is only the first step in recovery. Long-term support is vital for lifelong recovery, and these high schools have found a way to combine education with ongoing recovery maintenance.

Heartland has the same curriculum that students would find at any other school. However, students at Heartland are also coached by professional staff, placed in treatment programs and given the opportunity to support their peers. Since peer pressure plays a large role in teen substance use, it can be difficult for recovering students to return to a regular classroom setting. Attending classes made up of sober classmates, on the other hand, can help remove this factor almost entirely. 

Even though Heartland classes take place online, students still go to the school to follow individualized education plans and receive recovery resources. Additionally, classroom sizes are small so students can receive more one-on-one support.

Other States With Recovery Schools

The Association of Recovery Schools currently lists 44 recovery high schools in the United States. The states in which they are located include:

  • Ohio
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Texas
  • North Carolina
  • California
  • New Jersey
  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • Wyoming
  • Oregon
  • Wisconsin
  • Tennessee
  • Rhode Island
  • Pennsylvania
  • Oklahoma
  • New Jersey
  • Indiana
  • Florida 

As more students enroll and find success in recovery schools, it’s likely that this list of states will expand.

Effects of Recovery Schools on Addiction

It may be surprising to learn that students in recovery high schools are more likely to abstain from drugs and alcohol compared to those in public schools. Another encouraging trend is that these students also have fewer absences than public school students. 

Along with helping students maintain sobriety, recovery high schools benefit students academically. Small classroom sizes and individualized learning plans help students make up for class time they may have lost during treatment. Staff members are trained to deal with people in recovery, so they are able to help their students in each step of the process. This combination helps students feel supported and can help them excel in both their recovery and education.

Peer support is also a vital part of recovery. In this high school model, students can help one another continue on the right path. Because peer pressure is removed from the equation, these students can motivate each other to make more healthy decisions.

If your teen is struggling with a substance use disorder or co-occurring mental health condition, The Recovery Village Columbus is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment plans and programs.


Heartland High School. “Heartland High School.” Accessed October 25, 2019.

Pfleger, Paige. “Heartland High: Ohio’s First School For Students With Addiction.” WOSU Radio, July 16, 2019. Accessed October 25, 2019.

Association of Recovery Schools. “Find a School.” Accessed October 25, 2019.

Finch, Andrew; et al. “Recovery high schools: Effect of schools supporting recovery from substance use disorders.” The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, February 9, 2017. Accessed October 25, 2019.