Charlotte organization spreads the word about drug prevention

Editor's note: This story was written as a part of the Observer's Explorer Post program, which gives high school students the chance to learn about journalism.

There are many organizations out there trying to help and spread the word about drug and alcohol prevention. Anuvia is one of them.

According to the organization’s website, Anuvia helps prevent tragedies in the community that result from addiction and the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Each year, Anuvia holds S.T.A.N.D. camp, a summer camp teaching middle school kids the dangers and effects of drugs and alcohol. The day camp will be held this year at Queens University.

The organization goes to different school’s teaching kids about drug prevention.

“At the beginning they’re closed and as class goes on they open up and can connect with other’s who go through it,” said Nicole Augustine, 32, who visits area schools for Anuvia.

Peer pressure is a big topic they cover.

Preston Joyner, 33, started working at Anuvia in December 2012 and has advice about peer pressure. “If you have a set of friends who want to make you do things you don’t want to do, reevaluate your friends,” he said.

Added Augustine: “Practice saying no.”

Teens have recently started showing an interest in hookah pens, a non-FDA approved pen used for smoking. The pen is a miniature version of a hookah, an elaborate pipe usually used for smoking tobacco. This pen can come in many different colors and flavors, attracting teens.

“The last thing a teen needs is a substance,” Joyner said.

Joyner said he enjoys working at Anuvia, helping people and learning from his colleagues.

“I felt like a lump of clay and with the help of my team, I’ve formed up to be a better prevention specialist,” Joyner said. “It’s like a family.”