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OpinionEditorial

Long Island needs opiate recovery high school

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 2018 state budget calls

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's 2018 state budget calls for the creation of two recovery high schools in the state, and while he did not specify that one must be on Long Island, he did announce the initiative during a speech, which suggests that could be his plan. Photo Credit: iStock

For one Long Island mom, sending her son to a high school that would also help him recover from opioid addiction meant shipping him hundreds of miles north to Lake Placid. There is no public “recovery high school” in New York State.

The boy entered recovery at Mountain Lake Academy, a private school for young men with social and emotional problems, and stayed sober.

But when he came home to the suburbs, he relapsed and began using heroin within days. His mom wonders whether he might have learned to stay sober while staying in school close to home.

Long Island is the epicenter of an opioid addiction epidemic that is rocking the state and the nation.

In 2015, 442 people on Long Island died from heroin and prescription painkiller overdoses, and the drugs are a particular scourge among the young. This region needs a recovery high school. In truth, it likely needs a lot more than one.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2018 state budget calls for the creation of two recovery high schools in the state, and while he did not specify that one must be on Long Island, he did announce the initiative during a speech here, which suggests that could be his plan. Such a school could be operated by Western Suffolk BOCES near the county line, with help from Nassau and Eastern Suffolk BOCES.

However, there are no guarantees. The State Senate budget calls for three such schools, and one specifically on Long Island. But the Assembly budget proposal rejects the idea entirely.

In the final week of budget negotiations in Albany, it’s crucial that such a school be established on Long Island.

— The editorial board

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