Our special guest speakers this evening were Leah and Jimmy Wright from Wake Monarch Academy. There is a pretty good chance that you have never heard of Wake Monarch Academy but that is only because they have not actually opened their doors just yet. The current projected opening is 2020. This new High School will be focused on helping students struggling with addiction who want and need support to get through it.
In recent years drug addiction has become significantly more prevalent than in the past. We have even coined a new phrase “The Opiod Epidemic” to characterize the situation. More than 130 people die every day from drug overdoses and studies show that 9 out of 10 of those addictions started in High School. Most of you probably have a family member or know someone who does who has been affected by drug addiction.
Leah is now a retired school teacher and she and Jimmy have first hand experience with their own son. He was raised in a Christian home, played sports, loved the beach, was well supervised, got good grades and even went to school where mom worked. Even still, he started to show signs of changing behavior and attitude becoming more defiant as he grew into his teenage years. Leah and Jimmy thought it was just a phase or related to ADHD but things just kept getting worse. He got arrested for shoplifting and did 70 hours fo community service but that did not change things. They took him to a psychologist for depression and anxiety but that did not help, either. Eventually they discovered marijuana and realized that he had developed an addiction.
As the addiction continued to escalate Leah and Jimmy wondered how this could be happening to their family. All the while they were searching for an answer or a solution to this problem or any way to get help for their son. Then he got expelled from school one day. Four students overdosed that day and all students even remotely involved were expelled. The principal explained that it was his priority was to protect the other students. The search for help continued.
Initially they were denied rehabilitation by insurance because the situation was not severe enough (yet). But after some persistence, they eventually got their son approved for rehabilitation and got him treatment. Thankfully, he is 21 now and is recovering from a heroin addiction but doing very well.
Over the last several years while this all played out they realized how alone they were and how difficult it can be to get help when you need it so desperately. So they decided to help others by starting the Triangle area’s first “Recovery High School” to provide a safe, drug-free, supportive environment for students who want to overcome their addiction. Sadly, staying in the high school where the addiction began is simply not an option. Roughly 70% of students return to drug use after treatment when they go back to their original High School. Recovery High Schools have a much better success rate (around 30%). Students will receive recovery support, counseling, Alternative Peer Groups (APG), and other programs to help.
If you want to learn more about what recovery high schools are all about watch this “Generation Found” video from YouTube.
If you want to learn more about Wake Monarch Academy or help in any way, visit WakeMonarchAcademy.org today.