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Anvil Centre New Westminster BC September 5th 2019
Primary prevention as building blocks for healthy communities – case of Iceland
Preventing drug use is difficult. Ingrained habits are hard to change, and individuals tend to not act on information of what is best for them. The idea that “nothing can be done” to seriously address levels of drugs use in society has contributed to a policy focus on making drug use less harmful or accommodated through health interventions rather than trying to bring down demand for drugs overall.
But significant and population wide reductions in drug use can be achieved through consistent and evidence-based alterations of the social environments in lives of young people. By mapping and addressing risk and protective factors in local communities’ youngsters can be prevented from establishing patterns of drug seeking and anti-social behaviour.
This requires a shift in thinking, from an individual perspective to a collective perspective, and from short-term goal setting to long-term goal setting.
On Iceland levels of tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs use have been decreasing for consecutive 20 years to very low levels, resulting in lesser demand for treatment and costs for the health care sector. Since 2017 the world is increasingly looking towards the island in the Atlantic Ocean whose efforts in bringing down levels of substance use have sparked a silent revolution among parents, schools and the wider communities as social capital grows.
What are the lessons learnt in Iceland?
What can be imported into other cultural settings?
How does one go about doing it?
- An understanding of what Icelandic society was like in the 1990s and what has changed since.
- Know-how of how the change came about and how communities are working in practice today to address substance use on Iceland?
- Roadmap on how municipalities outside of Iceland can go about initiating work towards evidence based primary prevention in their countries.
777 Columbia Street
New Westminster, BC V3M 1B6
Who Should Register?
Physicians, Occupational Health Leaders, Human Resources Managers, Health Care Policy Makers, Therapists, Psychiatrists, Psychologists, Interventionists, Residential Treatment Centre Management and Clinical Teams, Students, Union Leaders, Community Leaders, Disability Management Coordinators, Professional Regulatory Bodies, Insurance Carriers, Labour Relations Specialists, Employee Assistance Program providers, Labour Lawyers, Safety Committee Members, Union Representatives.
Erik Leijonmarck References
Sigfusdottir, ID., Thorlindsson, T, Kristjansson, AL, Roe, KM, Allegrante, JP (2008). Substance use prevention for adolescents: the Icelandic Model, Health Promotion International, Vol. 24 No. 1.
Sigfusdottir, ID., Kristjansson, AL, Gudmunsdottir MA , Allegrante, JP (2011).Substance use prevention through school and community-based health promotion: a transdisciplinary approach from Iceland,
Global Health Promotion 1757-9759; Vol 18(3): 23–26
Griffin, K.W. and Botvin, G.J. (2010). Evidence-Based Interventions for Preventing Substance Use Disorders in Adolescents. Child Adolesc Psychiatr Clin N Am. Jul; 19(3): 505–526.
Population trends in smoking, alcohol use, and primary prevention variables among adolescents in Iceland, 1997-2014. Addiction 111, 645-652
In the 1990s a group of Icelandic social scientists along with policy makers and practitioners, began collaborating in an effort to better understand the societal factors influencing substance use among adolescents and potential approaches to prevention.
The team developed an evidence-based approach to adolescent substance use prevention that involved a broad range of relevant stake holders who worked together on a community-based, socially embedded and highly participatory effort.
This approach to mitigating the drivers of substance use became so successful that 20 years later their work have evolved into Planet Youth and is currently being imported into countries all over the globe.
Erik Leijonmarck BIO
Erik Leijonmarck is the Secretary General of European Cities Action Network for Drug Free Societies (ECAD). He holds a degree in Political Science from Uppsala University in Sweden, specialising in international relations and foreign policy decision making. He has previously worked at the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm focusing on organized crime and drug trafficking in primarily the Baltic Sea Region.
As Secretary General of ECAD he disseminates best practices on prevention of drugs use, treatment of addiction and social reintegration of drug addicts as well as supply reduction and policing with the aim of improving the health and security of citizens across Europe. He cooperates closely with Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis on evidence based primary prevention.
Erik is a member of the European Commission expert group Civil Society Forum on drugs and a regular contributor of civil society input to the United Nations Commission of Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. Mr Leijonmarck has also educated civil servants in cities across Europe as well as civil society organisations. He is the author of a parenting handbook on drugs in Swedish.
Evening event with David Sheff