Youth in Europe – Evidence-based drug prevention
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2017
The Youth in Europe project is an evidence-based primary prevention project aimed at preventing the initiation of alcohol- and substance use amongst adolescents in European cities and municipalities. The project has been developed and tested in Iceland for over 15 years, leading to Iceland now having one of the lowest rates of alcohol- and substance use amongst 15-16 year old adolescents in Europe. The project works on the basis of using evidence from questionnaire studies to map the risk and protective factors of alcohol- and substance use amongst adolescents. By working with those factors locally, the risk of early initiation of alcohol and substance use amongst adolescents can be decreased substantially. The current project consists of the following municipalities in Europe: Victoria (Malta), Istanbul (Turkey), Vaison la Romaine (France), Santa Maria da Feira (Portugal), Tarragona (Spain), Dobele (Latvia), Santa Severina (Italy) and Thessaloniki (Greece). In addition, the Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis at Reykjavik University (Iceland) will lead the professional/methodological part of the project and build on the centre's experience from applying the model in Iceland. The project consists of two main parts: a) mapping the status- and risk and protective factors for adolescents' alcohol and substance use locally within the partaking municipalities, respectively and b) working on a local level with those influential factors with the aim of decreasing the use of alcohol and substances among adolescents. This will be carried out with questionnaire surveys filled out in schools by a representative sample of adolescents 15-16 year old within each municipality. Results will then be presented at local dissemination meetings with all relevant stakeholders including field workers, policy makers, local governments and others. The dissemination meetings aim to inform local personnel on the status of adolescents' alcohol and substance use within their municipality and provide information on how to work with influential factors in order to decrease the use. The expected long-term impact includes less use of alcohol- and substances amongst adolescents in the partaking municipalities. The decreased use will also have an impact on the adolescents close communities and families. The participating organizations will acquire better knowledge on the status of adolescents´ alcohol and substance use within their municipality, along with information on the risk and protective factors they can work with to achieve even more decrease in use. While this exact methodology has led to successful prevention work in Iceland and more close-knit communities working together towards better health and well-being of youth, we hope the current project will have the same impact in the partaking municipalities. The desired impact at the local level is decreased use of alcohol and substances among adolescents within each municipality. Also, the project will result in better local knowledge of field workers, policy makers and local governments of the status of adolescents' alcohol and substance use within their municipality. The desired impact on the national level involves other municipalities hearing about the project and seeking ways to apply the methodology within their municipality with the help of their neighboring municipalities, partaking in the current project. The desired impact on national levels involves a stronger network of European municipalities working towards better health and well-being of youth by sharing their knowledge and experience in the field of evidence-based prevention work.
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