Helping Charlotte At-Risk Adolescents Experiencing Challenges

When it comes to preventing substance use and dependency in adulthood, the adolescent years are critical. Research has shown a clear relationship between early substance use and an increased risk for the development of substance use disorders. Because substance use has such an outsized impact on developing brains, prevention is key.

Anuvia offers early intervention programs that are designed to meet teens where they are: helping them to develop decision-making and communication skills, manage their anger, de-escalate conflicts, set goals, and avoid the use of alcohol and drugs.

Learn more about the programs Anuvia offers and take a quiz to see whether your teen or another young loved one could benefit from early intervention.

Jump Ahead

  • The Importance of Early Intervention
  • Who Are Early Intervention Programs For?
  • Anuvia’s Focus Program



The Importance of Early Intervention

According to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, adolescent substance use prevention is critical to reducing the rates of those who use substances not only among teens but also among adults. Early intervention can reduce youth substance use before more serious problems occur.

In 2017, more than half (52%) of all adult patients who were admitted to a facility for substance use treatment reported that they had first used drugs or alcohol before age 18.

Experimenting with alcohol, drugs, and other mind-altering substances at this age can impact brain chemistry and significantly increase the risk of problem substance use later in life.

Risks of Teen Substance Use

During one’s teen years, critical risk assessment and decision-making parts of the brain are still developing. The risk of physical dependency can also be higher for adolescents than it is for adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control cautions that no amount of substance use is safe for teens’ brains.

Teen substance use can:

  • Affect physical growth and development, including brain development
  • Increase the risk of risky behaviors, including impaired driving and unprotected sex
  • Increase the risk of criminal behaviors, including theft and drug dealing
  • Contribute to long-term health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep disorders, and certain mental health and mood disorders

The younger a teen is when they begin using substances, the more likely they are to continue these behaviors as an adult. Early intervention programs can help provide coping mechanisms and resiliency to teens, making it more likely they will resist substance use in the future.


Who Are Early Intervention Programs For?

Anuvia offers several teen-focused programs to help prevent substance use. The Early Intervention programs, however, are targeted toward those who are already at greater risk of substance use.

Could Your Teen Benefit From Early Intervention

There are a few identified factors that can put teens at greater risk of substance abuse—which means they can benefit more from early intervention. As a parent, there are several questions you may ask yourself to gauge your teen’s risk level.

Is your teen:

  • No longer interested in school?
  • A thrill seeker?
  • Often in trouble at school?
  • Under a significant amount of stress?
  • Frequently impatient?
  • Close friends with other teens who are regular smokers/vapers/substance users?

Do you:

  • Not know who your teen’s close friends are?
  • Have a family history of substance use disorders?
  • Allow your teen and their friends to drink at your house?

The more of these questions you answer “yes,” the more at risk your teen may be of problematic substance use. Additionally, if your teen has any history of juvenile delinquency or has been suspended or expelled from school, they are likely also at a greater-than-average risk.


Anuvia’s Focus Program

Ours is an interactive, evidence-based intervention program for teens ages 13 to 17 who have been cited or arrested for misdemeanor violations related to:

  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Simple assault
  • Resisting arrest
  • Larceny
  • Shoplifting
  • Vandalism
  • Breaking and entering

These types of misdemeanor offenses implicate the reckless behavior that can put teens at a significantly elevated risk of substance use.

What is Focus?

Focus consists of eight sessions that include:

  • Group discussions
  • Role-playing exercises
  • Student worksheets
  • Videos

These sessions focus on skill building, which helps teens learn in a collaborative environment. Teens will be provided information on how substance use affects the body and brain, what they can do to avoid substance use triggers and resist peer pressure, and how to recognize their own risk factors.

Parents are also required to participate in Focus. They must attend collaborative and adult group discussions and complete exercises that help develop discipline, problem-solving, and communication skills.

Focus is free for individuals in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and surrounding counties. Youth referred to this program will need to undergo a screening process.

Those enrolled in Focus will attend eight sessions.

Register for a Focus Screening

For your Focus screening, contact Anuvia at (980)580-7734. Have your referral information handy during the intake process.

The screenings are held by appointment only Monday through Thursday, at:

Anuvia Prevention & Recovery Center
100 Billingsley Road
Charlotte, NC 28211