October 20, 2022

Icelandic model and the Atlantic model

On Tuesday 18th of October, Bruce Fitch, the provincial health minister in New Brunswick, announced plans to setup a pilot a five-year project in collaboration with Planet Youth.

At the Teen Resource Centre in Saint John, Fitch remarked “We know substance use can be a leading contributor to poor health, poor health outcomes, and continues to negatively impact our youth here in the province of New Brunswick,” New Brunswick will spend $255,000 a year, for the next five years, to operate the program in Saint John, Woodstock, Kent County, and the Acadian Peninsula.

The first step will be to assemble community action groups to follow up on the project for each region. Through Planet Youth, pilot sites will adopt and implement the Icelandic Prevention Model. Pall Rikhardsson, Planet Youth chief executive officer, said: “It focuses on not telling the kids what to do, but changing the environment around the kids, so they will make different decisions, and not engage in substance abuse as they grow older”. Rikhardsson said in the 90s, Iceland had a big problem with underage drinking and substance use but telling children and teenagers to behave or not drink was not working. The solution was to adjust the approach and focus on peer groups, school, family, and leisure activities. Now, comparing Iceland to other countries, it has one of the lowest consumption rates of alcohol and substances, he said. Pall Rikhardsson says New Brunswick will not be implementing the same things as in Iceland, because what works there won’t necessarily work in New Brunswick, but it’s about using the principles to adapt an Atlantic prevention model.