Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at SUWS of the Carolinas to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at SUWS of the Carolinas.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Substance Abuse Signs & Symptoms

We remain open and are continuing to accept new admissions.

SUWS of the Carolinas remains committed to providing clinically superior services within a safe and supportive environment while taking all appropriate precautions to protect the well-being of our students and staff.

For admissions information, or to learn more about the heightened preventive measures we have put in place, please click the link at the top of this page or call us at (828) 489-3198.

Understanding Teen Substance Abuse

Learn More About Teen Substance Abuse

The misuse of alcohol, prescription medication, illicit drugs, and any other substances that alter the way in which the brain and body operate is known as substance abuse. Some of the most common substances abused by youth include alcohol, marijuana, opioids, tobacco, and stimulants. In many cases children and adolescents who abuse substances will continue to do so despite the negative consequences that are recurring as a result. When abused, these substances will affect a young person’s behavior and overall health, and may cause long-term damage.

A young person who is abusing alcohol or another drug will often show a drop in grades, may suddenly develop a new peer group, and may frequently get in trouble at school or home. You may also notice that your child has been much more irritable lately, has been acting out aggressively, or may have completely isolated him or herself from the rest of the family. Fortunately, there are a number of treatment options available for children or adolescents who are struggling with substance abuse problems. Treatment can help prevent your child from developing life-changing negative effects due to a substance abuse problem and prepare him or her to once again pursue a bright future.


Statistics of Teen Substance Abuse

Multiple studies have determined that substance abuse is on the rise among children and adolescents in the United States. Statistics show that people age 12 and above account for 9% of the population that have used or abused drugs or alcohol. That percentage represents nearly 24 million Americans.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Substance Abuse

Most experts in the field agree that there are a number of different factors that can cause a child or adolescent to begin using alcohol or other drugs. Consider the following potential influences on child and adolescent substance abuse:

Genetic: Young people with family members who have problems with drugs and/or alcohol are at an increased risk for developing substance abuse problems. In fact, a genetic predisposition for substance abuse is considered to play a major role in whether or not a young person will develop a substance abuse problem.

Environmental: Environmental factors are also known to contribute to the development of a substance abuse problem. For example, witnessing parents or other caregivers using alcohol or other drugs can cause a young person to believe that this type of behavior is acceptable. Additional environmental factors that can place a young person at an increased risk for development of substance abuse problems may include exposure to abuse or neglect, growing up in a chaotic household, or experiencing a traumatic event.

Risk Factors:

  • Being male
  • Family history of substance use or abuse
  • Exposure to the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Low self-esteem
  • Desire to fit in with peers
  • Underdeveloped coping skills
  • Lack of parental involvement
  • Presence of emotional or mental health problems
Signs of Substance Abuse

Learn More About the Signs of Substance Abuse

Ultimately, the signs and symptoms of substance abuse are going to be dependent upon the substance that a young person is using as well as a number of other individual characteristics. Below are a number of behavioral, physical, cognitive, and psychosocial symptoms that are known to be present in young people who are abusing drugs and/or alcohol:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Inability to adhere to responsibilities
  • Sudden change in friends
  • Slowed or rapid speech
  • Frequently getting in trouble
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Drop in grades
  • Skipping school
  • Unexplained need for money
  • Lying or omitting
  • Stealing
  • Damaging property

Physical symptoms:

  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Change in eating patterns
  • Slurred speech
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Tension in muscles
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor hygiene
  • Dilated or constricted pupils

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Altered state of perception
  • Poor impulse control
  • Poor concentration
  • Impaired memory
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Changes in personality
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Decline in motivation
  • Paranoia
Effects of Substance Abuse

The Effects of Teen Substance Abuse

Substance abuse can lead to a myriad of negative consequences in multiple areas of a child or adolescent’s life. Furthermore, if the substance abuse problem is not addressed for a prolonged period of time these consequences can continue to impact a young person’s life long into adulthood. Depending upon a variety of individual factors as well as the substance being abused, the following can potentially occur:

  • Poor academic achievement
  • Suspension or expulsion from school
  • Loss of friends
  • Conflict among family members
  • Interaction with law enforcement
  • Lasting legal problems
  • Overall decline in mental health
  • Development of certain mental health conditions
  • Increased risk for pregnancy
  • Increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases
  • Severe health problems
  • Brain damage
  • Overdose
  • Death
Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders & Teen Substance Abuse

It is very common for a young person battling a substance abuse problem to also be struggling with the presence of an additional mental health condition. Some of the most common mental health conditions known to co-occur with substance abuse include the following:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Adjustment disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Conduct disorder
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose of Teen Substance Abuse

Withdrawal: Many times when an individual abruptly stops using drugs and/or alcohol they will experience a number of physical and emotional symptoms, also known as withdrawal. Withdrawal occurs after an individual has been abusing substances for a prolonged period of time and has developed a dependence on his or her substance of choice. When a young person is going through withdrawal they may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Palpitations
  • Muscle tension
  • Tightness in chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations

Overdose: An overdose occurs when a person takes more of a substance than their body is able to metabolize. A substance abuse overdose should be considered an emergency and medical attention should be sought immediately in order to avoid a potentially fatal outcome. Some of the following symptoms may indicate that an individual may have overdosed:

  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Shallow breathing
  • Chest pain or tightening
  • Sweating
  • Slowed pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Coma
  • Death

Our son has a second chance because of SUWS and their amazing program. Thank You!

– Anonymous Parent
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • Cognia
  • American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
  • Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF)
  • Forest Service Department of Agriculture
  • National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs (NATSAP)
  • National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC)
  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • Outdoor Behavioral Healthcare Council
  • Safe Zone
  • Sky's The Limit Fund
  • The Jason Foundation

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