READI program offers refuge

To get a handle on drugs and alcohol use in the San Dieguito Union High School District, Joseph Olesky runs the Recovery Education Alcohol Drug Instruction Program, known as READI.

READI is an extensive three-day drug and alcohol program held at San Dieguito Academy for students who have been caught using.

“Most kids get caught on campus with alcohol or marijuana but once we get to know them and work with them, other drugs come up,” said Olesky, the district substance abuse counselor. " Kids’ hands are in a lot of things right now.”

Parents can also enter their child into the program and students can enter themselves. In its fourth year, READI has seen an increase in both, Olesky said.

“The word is getting out that READI is a good place to be,” he said.

The three-day program is followed by eight weeks of group therapy, one hour a week. Students are also required to do 10 hours of community service.

READI counselors keep an eye on the students with follow ups and monitor them to see if they need to take the next step if there is still a struggle.

Olesky said they lost three young men in the district to Oxy last year but none of them ever came through READI.

Education is one of the most important weapons in the fight against drugs, Olesky said.

He said the addict is always the last one to know the damage they’ve done and sometimes they have to hit bottom before they can get help. Olesky just hopes the bottom comes before serious damage or death.

For information on READI go to