September 8

Lessons from Iceland: How one country turned around a teen drinking crisis

Inga Dora Sigfusdottir, ICSRA research director at her office in Reykjavik University

Dr. Brian Goldman visited ICSRA at the end of summer and interviewed Inga Dora Sigfusdottir, ICSRA research director, on the Planet Youth program and the  vast change in teenage drikning which has occured in Iceland the last twenty years. The inverview was broadcast on Brian‘s radio program: White Coat Black Art, on CBC radio.  

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When Skúli Helgason turned 13 years old, he celebrated the same way all of his friends did at that age: he got drunk.

The city councillor in Reykjavik, Iceland, now in his 50s, says it was a cultural rite of passage.

“When I was growing up, we had a dramatically different culture regarding teen drinking habits, smoking … When you were 13, you were supposed to start drinking and pretty much everyone did that. It was just part of culture. There was something wrong with you if you didn’t,” said Helgason, chair of the city’s Education and Youth Committee.


Listen to the program and read the article on CBC radio website.