Summary of Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse but the Rest of the World Isn’t Listening


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Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse but the Rest of the World Isn’t Listening summary
Iceland has found the key to curbing teen substance abuse, so why aren’t more countries following their lead?


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How did Icelandic teens switch from being one of the most substance-abusing populations in Europe to being one of the “cleanest living”? Journalist Emma Young examines how a government-sponsored program called Youth in Iceland evolved, and, ultimately, brought an about-face to Icelandic teen substance abuse. Young offers specific examples of the program’s universal applicability even as she explains why places like the United States probably won’t copy Iceland’s strategies. getAbstract recommends this article to policy makers, parents, teachers and everyone interested finding ways to stop adolescent substance abuse.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How Iceland successfully solved the problem of teen substance abuse,
  • Why Iceland’s method also works in other countries and
  • What obstacles stand in the way of global adoption of Iceland’s method.


Between 2007 and 2012, the number of Icelandic teens engaged in substance abuse fell by half. This about-face occurred thanks to a program dubbed “Youth in Iceland” – the brainchild of American psychology professor Harvey Milkman, Icelandic psychologist Gudberg Jónsson and University of Iceland researcher Inga Dóra Sigfúsdóttir.

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About the Author

Emma Young is an award-winning freelance science and health journalist. She is the author of the book Sane: How I Shaped Up My Mind, Improved My Mental Strength, and Found Calm.

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