Correction: MD-CNS-Recovery-Schools story | The Seattle Times

BALTIMORE (AP) — In a story Sept. 21 about recovery schools during the opioid epidemic in Maryland, a report by Capital News Service erroneously stated the source of a report about the cost of the renewed program. The report came from Montgomery County Public Schools, not the state. Also, a mention of continuing the Phoenix program in traditional high schools was incorrect. The program was eventually integrated into other alternative secondary programs in the county, and Phoenix students were no longer educated entirely in a discreet group.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Opioid epidemic laws lead panel to revisit recovery schools

State legislation to counter opioid epidemic leads panel to revisit recovery schools

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Capital News Service

BALTIMORE (AP) — A fire led to the eventual end of Phoenix — a groundbreaking Maryland public school program for children with addiction that closed in 2012 — but the state could see institutions like it rise again from the ashes.

Recent spikes in the Maryland heroin and opioid epidemic have triggered calls for substantial changes in education systems statewide, and a state work group is weighing the return of recovery schools after a Sept. 7 meeting.

For Kevin Burnes, 47, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, attending a recovery school separate from his hometown high school was life-changing.

Burnes said in a public letter that he began to experiment with drugs and alcohol at age 10, and his addiction to alcohol quickly escalated to PCP. He found himself homeless and was admitted into a psychiatric institute, he wrote.

However, after finding Phoenix, a recovery program for secondary school students with addiction, and attending for two years, his whole life turned around.

“What I can tell you is that this program undeniably saved my life,” said Burnes, now a full-time musician living in Frederick, Maryland. “The largest part of Phoenix’s success was due to the fact that everyone was involved. It was a community effort. It’s a community issue.”

State legislation that passed this year — known as the Start Talking Maryland Act — came into effect in July and directed schools in Maryland to take precautionary measures against opioid exposure and abuse. It also established the work group.

The panel is charged with evaluating and developing behavioral and substance abuse disorder programs…

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