The teen years can be one of the most challenging times in a young person’s life—and that’s without adding cigarettes, vapes, alcohol, and drugs to the mix. The impact of substance use on a teen’s brain can’t be understated.

Anuvia is here to help. From initial assessments to graduation from a substance use treatment program, our adolescent programs are tailored to the needs of teens and their families. Below we discuss some of the most common signs of teen substance use, explain the various adolescent programs Anuvia offers, and include a list of free, confidential resources for teens in crisis.

Jump Ahead

Signs of Teen Substance Use

Be on the lookout for some of these common warning signs of substance use in your tween or teen:

  • Loss of interest in school or hobbies they once enjoyed
  • Personality changes (especially detachment or an increase in anger or aggression)
  • Drastic changes in sleep patterns, weight, or energy levels
  • New friendships with kids who exhibit risky behaviors or are substance users themselves
  • Changes in memory or cognitive skills
  • Sudden and unexplained drop in grades
  • Adoption of and identification with drug culture
  • New and frequent use of air fresheners, breath mints, eye drops, and other items commonly used to conceal drug use

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your teen, it may be a good time to schedule an assessment. Our counselors are available to help—just give Anuvia a call at (704) 376-7447.

Who Can Benefit From Teen Substance Use Programs?

The evidence is clear—the earlier a teen starts to use substances like alcohol and drugs, the more likely they are to develop a substance use disorder as an adult.

Adolescents who are at an increased risk of substance use or who have begun to use substances occasionally may benefit most from teen substance use programs. Additionally, teens whose friends regularly use substances may benefit from the perspective offered by adolescent programs and the medical support offered.

teen group therapy session

Anuvia’s Adolescent Programs

Our programs are designed to help meet teens’ needs and give families the skills needed to prevent teen substance use. Adolescent programs offer a broad variety of services such as:

  • Early intervention
  • Outpatient treatment
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

Early Intervention Programs

Anuvia’s youth prevention program, FOCUS, is designed for 13 to 17-year-olds who are at increased risk of developing substance use problems. FOCUS centers on teens who:

  • Have truancy issues
  • Are already experimenting with high-risk alcohol or drug choices
  • Have been cited or arrested for certain misdemeanor violations

For these youth, FOCUS can help improve decision-making skills, boost communication, manage anger and interpersonal conflicts, set goals, and avoid the use of alcohol and drugs.

FOCUS is held twice-weekly for four weeks and includes:

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

Along with the teens who are enrolled in this program, parents and caregivers are also required to participate. Group and individual lessons can help support parents’ communication skills, educate them on effective discipline methods, and boost problem-solving skills.

Adolescent Treatment Programs

Anuvia’s adolescent treatment programs are designed for those ages 12 to 18 who need assistance tackling substance use. Programs are tailored to the needs of the individual.

Anuvia’s regular hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each Monday through Thursday. Assessments are scheduled during the day typically, while the groups are held in the late afternoon/early evening. Before an adolescent program begins, the teen will need to undergo a comprehensive assessment (with a legal guardian available) to gauge their substance use and care needs.

Outpatient Treatment

Anuvia’s outpatient adolescent treatment program targets teens who need some support and skills to handle substance use but who don’t require inpatient treatment.

The outpatient treatment program includes:

  • 90 minutes GROUPS twice per week
  • 8 to 12-week program depending on treatment goals and progress

This program provides psycho-education, individual and group therapy, family therapy, drug-specific education, life skills, decision-making skills, and goal planning. It meets from either 4:30 to 6:00 pm or 6:15 to 7:45 pm each Monday and Wednesday.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy allows a teen to develop a one-on-one relationship with their counselor. This provides a trusted adult to facilitate engagement with the recovery process, address crises, coordinate treatment, and assess progress.

Group Therapy

Group therapy can also be a helpful part of adolescent substance use treatment. It provides teens with a safe environment to discuss ongoing challenges, learn from each others’ experiences, and develop and practice healthier decision-making tools.

Family Therapy

Family support can be critical to recovery for young people trying to improve their relationships with others. This therapy is designed to fit the family’s schedule every week. Family therapy sessions may address:

  • Teen beliefs
  • Adolescent development
  • Boundaries
  • Parental discipline
  • Effective communication methods
  • Drug and alcohol facts

Ensuring that all family members are on the same page when it comes to supporting their teen’s recovery can significantly improve long-term outcomes.


Adolescents—and even some adults—can assume that their substance use isn’t a great concern, or that teenage experimentation is normal and healthy. Psycho-education helps dispel these myths by providing fact-based education on a variety of topics, including:

  • Anger management
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • Self-esteem
  • Sexually-transmitted infections and diseases
  • Relapse prevention
  • The effects of drugs and alcohol on the developing brain

For more information about Anuvia’s programs, or to get a referral or schedule an appointment, give us a call at (704) 376-7447.

Additional Resources

If your child or an adolescent you love needs help, you’re not alone. From mental health and substance abuse issues to self-harm and sexual assault, there are free, confidential resources available.

Calling any of the numbers below is free and completely anonymous. You don’t have to disclose who you are, but even if you do, whatever you say is confidential.

Substance Use


Sexual Assault and Rape

General Support