PACOIMA : Young Ex-Addicts to Share Hard-Life Facts

Students at the Phoenix Academy in Lake View Terrace, ages 12 to 17, share this: They are recovering drug addicts; they come from families where substance abuse is routine; their parents are divorced, separated or dead.

Fifty students are studying together and learning to cope with their shared history at the coeducational academy, which opened in May.

Today at noon, four of the Phoenix Academy students will attend a Pacoima Coordinating Council at the San Fernando Boys & Girls Club, 11251 Glenoaks Blvd., where residents will have a chance to learn more about the facility and the people it helps.

The students will discuss how they became addicted to drugs, how it affected them and their families, how they got arrested or placed on probation, and how they are trying to repair their lives, said Marsha Obremski, California admissions coordinator for Phoenix Academy, which has facilities nationwide.

"The Lake View Terrace site is a residential drug treatment program, but we also have a full-curriculum high school there," Obremski said. "We work with them in getting them back on track in school. They get therapy and stay here a minimum of one year."

Obremski said the academy will expand to 100 students in May, eventually housing up to 150 recovering adolescent addicts.

Two other Phoenix House Foundation residential recovery programs are operating in California, one in Orange County and one outside of San Diego.

Phoenix House also runs two adult programs in the state, one in Santa Ana and one in Turlock.

"The purpose of (the) program is just to get out and educate the community on what we do and who we are," Obremski said.

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