In the late nineties, the Nordic island country of Iceland was facing a serious public health crisis. Alcohol and drug abuse among younger residents had escalated to an increasingly worrisome level. 42% of teens (not even old enough to drive) were abusing alcohol and nearly 1 in 5 smoked marijuana on a regular basis.
In an effort to better understand the root cause, Icelandic officials conducted a survey asking 15- and 16-year-olds how much time they spent with friends and family members in their community. What did they do after school? Who did they hang out with? Did they participate in sports and other organized activities?
The results of the survey showed a strong correlation between social isolation and substance abuse. Armed with this information, community leaders decided the tackle the issue in a variety of ways.
- A substantial investment was made to increase the number of extracurricular activities available to young residents. Everything from life skills training to team sports leagues.
- In addition to that, they passed new laws making it illegal to sell tobacco to individuals under 18 and officials raised the drinking age to 20.
- Communities also hosted a variety of events designed to help parents better understand how to spend quality time with their children and become more involved in their lives.
- A curfew was also put into effect banning teens from staying out past 10 p.m. during the winter and midnight in the summer.
And the results were profound. Rates of alcohol abuse fell from 42 to 5 percent. Marijuana use dropped from 17 to just 7 percent.
By offering teens more opportunities to socialize and spend time with friends and family members, they were able to reduce the risk of addiction among their most vulnerable residents.
While there are many proven therapies available to treat substance abuse, prevention is truly the most powerful. Which begs the question. Given the current opioid epidemic, is there an opportunity to reapply some of these best practices to stop the spread of addiction among our youth?
Adolescent Christian Rehab
For adolescents, the path to recovery can be very different than an adult. That’s why Christian Rehab Network offers a faith-based rehab for adolescents. We offer group and individual therapy, Bible study, pastoral care, and recreational recovery activities that give adolescents age-appropriate strategies for coping with issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, substance use disorders, and social difficulties. To inquire about insurance and private payment options for adolescent drug rehabilitation, call (877) 310-9545 or submit a secure online inquiry today.