The Method

A population-wide primary prevention process designed to have a long-term impact in communities on reducing youth substance use through creating a healthy built environment. Planet Youth is a Ten Step process informed by the Five Guiding Principles.

How Planet Youth Works

Planet Youth was developed from the Icelandic Prevention Model – an evidence-based participatory approach with demonstrated effectiveness in reducing substance use in Iceland for over 20 years. Planet Youth has now supported hundreds of communities around the world. Planet Youth is designed to strengthen protective factors, mitigate risk factors, and build healthy community environments for positive youth development by focusing on key domains in the local school-community: Family, peer group, leisure (out-of-school) time, and school.

Planet Youth is established on the following pillars of success:

  • Evidenced-based practice
  • Community-based approach
  • Creating and maintaining a dialogue among research, policy, and practice


How the Planet Youth Approach was Developed


In developing our approach, we relied on global research findings, as well as our own local observations about those individual and societal factors that contribute to the likelihood of adolescent substance use in Iceland. Based on the literature, and informed by our own work, a community-based, bottom-up approach was designed to deter adolescent substance use. The emphasis of our approach was on getting all relevant stakeholders to the table to build a network of support, monitoring and opportunities for positive youth development at the local community level.


We aimed to demonstrate that it is possible to develop theory-driven intervention to promote and facilitate social capital on the neighborhood level, to decrease the likelihood of adolescent substance use by strengthening the supportive role of parents and schools and the network of opportunities around them. The prevention model that emerged reflexively and continuously links national-level data collection with local-level reflection and action to increase social capital.


The model builds upon traditional planning models (iterative cycles of evidence, reflection, action) but with characteristics inspired by Icelandic spirit and temperament.

If you want to read more about
how Planet Youth developed, please read the following:

Sigfusdottir ID, Soriano HE, Mann MJ, Kristjansson AL (2020). Prevention is Possible: A Brief History of the Origin and Dissemination of the Icelandic Prevention Model. Health Promotion Practice, 21(1), 58-62.