Iceland’s success in cutting substance abuse among teenagers may be tested in the west of Ireland with a pilot scheme involving 7,000 young people.
Imposing guilt on children and penalties on suppliers will not work, as the issue is a societal one, Icelandic director of the Planet Youth project Jon Sigfusson said in Galway.
He outlined how his country’s project was so successful that Iceland went from having one of the highest to one of the lowest rates of substance abuse by teenagers over a 20-year period.
The initiative is now being tested in 18 countries in Europe, along with Latin America and several African states.
Mr Sigfusson, who was invited to Galway by the Western Region Drugs and Alcohol Task Force, said that children are not responsible for their own well-being and parents must take a greater role.
“Children are not to blame for not reading a brochure that somebody gives them about drugs, they are not responsible for their own well-being – we are, the whole society,” he said, and the problem could not be tackled by a government on its own.
Source: Lorna Siggins, The Irish Times, 21/02/18