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Children & Substance Use Disorder

Children suffering from substance use disorder rarely graduate from high school and often wind up in prison, die young, or both. Recovery Schools provide the safe environment and support these children need to get an education and stay sober and have a nearly 90% graduation rate. The first graduate of New Jersey’s only public Recovery High School, The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience, Strength, Hope Recovery High School, is entering her senior year this fall at my alma mata, Rutgers University.

The foundation of recovery from any addiction is to change people, places and things. That’s why children returning to school from rehab for substance use often relapse and drop out, unless they have an opportunity to attend a recovery school.

Since its inception,The Raymond J. Lesniak Experience, Strength, Hope Recovery High School has enrolled 25 students and has provided an array of services to over 45 youth and families, including comprehensive assessment, referral to treatment, mentorship, and social/recreational activities. Our graduates have gone on to attend Rutgers University, Montclair State University and Rider University, as well as trade and vocational schools, and have remained in touch with our staff and shared their stories of recovery with new students.

Recovery High Schools will be opening in the fall in Cape May and Monmouth Counties. Every New Jersey County should have a Recovery High School.


Percent of high school students know a classmate who sells drugs


Alcohol related deaths among students under the age of 21


Percent of 8th graders reported using illicit drugs.

A Lesniak Institute Partner

Prevention Links is a private, not-for-profit organization, which takes a leadership role in the prevention of drugs, alcohol, tobacco and related issues.

With community being defined as any environment where people live, work, or learn, the goal of Prevention Links is to pull together all available resources to eliminate the deleterious effects of drugs, alcohol, violence, and inadequate educational and health institutions in our communities.

Prevention Links focuses on identifying and enhancing existing strengths within the individual, family, school, and work setting to serve as the first and most valuable resource in sustainable revitalization of all types of community.

Prevention Links implements training programs and evidence based strategies, practices and programs that are outcome based and empower all segments of a community to be actively engaged in changing their environments.

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