State rep. proposes 'recovery high schools' for students after drug rehab

House Bill 1460 would create recovery high schools across the state, which provide extra resources for students who want to continue their education after entering drug rehabilitation.

Leaders in East Tennessee are not ready to give up on the opioid and drug crisis.

One state representative is fighting the epidemic by putting his focus on students struggling with addiction.

House Bill 1460, created by Eddie Smith,R-Knoxville, creates a recovery high school in each region of the state.

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"We want to make sure that we have the best practices in these high schools," Smith said.

The bill proposes setting up a recovery high school, giving students extra help with drug addiction.

"It's a chance to really just turn their life and put it on the right path, where they can lead a normal life," Smith said.

State Rep. Eddie Smith, R-Knoxville, hopes to create a recovery high school in east region of the state - west, middle and east. It would help students continue their education in a drug-free situation after rehabilitation.

A series of Knox County Schools forums on the opioid epidemic continued the discussion at Halls Middle School on Thursday night, with nearly 100 people turning out to hear from a panel of experts on drug addiction and recovery.

"This is a problem that cuts across all boundaries," said Central High School Principal Michael Reynolds.

That's why Reynolds and the rest of the panel who answered questions about opioids came together.

"The worst thing to do is to say that it doesn't exist," said Reynolds.

Acknowledging the problem and then addressing drug abuse, specifically opioid abuse.

"We're a community that needs to seek answers and seek funding for those answers," said Reynolds.

Smith hopes to find those answers with House Bill 1460.

Reynolds said finding that normal life after addiction can be tough.

"A school of this type, if we could get the resources, because our parents beg for that," Reynolds said. "They beg for an opportunity to have resources that will help our kids. I know for teenagers that's one of the hardest things to find."

Smith said the money for the schools comes from state grants and money already allotted to students in the education budget.

"They don't have all the sports and all the extracurricular activities that a normal high school does," Smith said. "What they do instead is they have peer support groups and recovery groups."

Smith said there will be many more discussions on the bill. He'll present it when the legislature reconvenes in January.

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