June 25, 2019

Iceland's Planet Youth lands in Australia

Planet Youth announcement

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is excited to announce it will trial an internationally renowned alcohol and other drug prevention program in Australia.

Planet Youth is an evidence-based program from Iceland that has significantly reduced alcohol and other drug use rates in young people.

Since the introduction of Planet Youth in Iceland in the nineties, youth alcohol and other drug use rates have transformed from some of the highest in Europe, to amongst the lowest. The country has also seen increased time spent by adolescents with parents, and reductions in bullying, juvenile crime and youth entering drug treatment.

Between 1998 and 2018, the percentage of Iceland’s year ten students who had been drunk in the past 30 days fell from 42% to 5%; daily cigarette smokers in the same age group dropped from 23% to 2%; and the number of year ten students who used cannabis once or more in their lifetime declined from 17% to 6%.

Planet Youth has now been adopted in 20 countries including Ireland, Chile, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, Sweden and Norway.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation is working with the Planet Youth team to trial the approach through the existing Local Drug Action Team Program, which is funded under the Australian Government’s National Ice Action Strategy and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.

“The Planet Youth trial is a unique opportunity to apply international evidence to strengthen the work of Australia’s Local Drug Action Teams,” Alcohol and Drug Foundation Chief Executive Officer, Dr Erin Lalor said.

The pilot is set to take place over two-and-a-half-years in the locations listed below:

Limestone Coast (SA)

Murray Bridge (SA)

Blue Mountains (NSW)

Lithgow (NSW)

Marrickville (NSW)

“The Local Drug Action Teams taking part in the trial have been selected for their strong local partnerships and commitment to preventing alcohol and drug-related harms,” Dr Lalor remarked.

“The Planet Youth trial in Australia will be tailored to the unique needs of the different communities in the pilot sites,” Dr Lalor added.

Local Drug Action Team representatives from the pilot sites will attend a training session with the Planet Youth team in Melbourne on Wednesday 26th June.

Planet Youth are currently in Melbourne for the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Prevention in Practice Conference (24-25 June).

“Preventative health works fiscally and socially. However, it can sometimes take years and even generations to precisely determine a program’s impact. Planet Youth shows that long term investment in community-led prevention leads to significant reductions in alcohol and other drug use,” Dr Erin Lalor said.

“All speakers at the Prevention in Practice Conference, including a number of Local Drug Action Team representatives, will be sharing expertise on strengthening capacity of community-led action on alcohol and other drugs,” Dr Lalor added.

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