Updated: Sep 8, 2022
After sponsoring a budget resolution to fund Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District’s recovery high school at Brookdale Community College, Assemblywomen Kim Eulner and Marilyn Piperno are celebrating the $500,000 in capital aid awarded to the school in the state’s fiscal year 2023 budget.
“KEYS Academy is a beacon of hope for teens struggling with substance abuse throughout the region. The funding in this year’s budget will address a critical need in the community for more sobriety and education support,” Eulner (R-Monmouth) said. “This is a unique high school model that couples recovery programs with academics to put young people on the path to a successful and sober future. We are grateful that its important mission was included in the budget.”
The KEYS (Knowledge Empowers Youth and Sobriety) Academy, operated by the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District, is one of three recovery high schools in the state. It serves as an alternative public school for students diagnosed with substance use disorder or dependency and promotes health, wellness and academic achievement.
“Addressing substance abuse early helps put the tools in place that people need to prevent relapse. KEYS Academy does that and more. It connects students to community resources, higher education and employment opportunities and sets them up to be full productive members of society,” Piperno (R-Monmouth) said. “More investments in these students and this school is something we will continue to fight for, but every little bit helps.”
According to the Department of Human Services’ 2020 Substance Abuse Overview, Monmouth County had one of the top substance abuse admissions in the state with 5,768 residents in treatment. Essex County admitted more than 7,000 residents and Camden, Ocean and Atlantic all had over 6,000 residents in treatment. Alcohol, heroin, marijuana and opiates were the primary drugs abused by Monmouth County residents.
The budget also includes $1.5 million for the Recovery High School Access Project to increase the number of students served at the state’s three schools.