America is greatly failing its most important resource, youth

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Iceland’s Approach to Teen Substance Abuse is Something America Needs Now

The psychological and physical well-being of our children is of utmost importance, and in this way, America is greatly failing its youth.

As the U.S. largely ignores an epidemic opioid crisis fueled by the pharmaceutical industry and a rush of available heroin resulting from the war on drugs, Iceland is receiving international acclaim for its approaches in helping to keep teens off drugs.

What is the Icelandic solution?

One major factor in this success story is the enactment of child curfew laws, rejected by most other nations, which legislated that children between the ages of 13 and 16 were not allowed outside alone after 10pm in winter months, and after midnight in the summer time.

Harvey Milkman, an American psychology professor who teaches for part of the year at Reykjavik University, wrote his doctoral dissertation on drug use as a form of stress reduction, concluding that teens were surprisingly likely to turn to either amphetamines or heroin, depending on how they chose to deal with stress. “Heroin users wanted to numb themselves; amphetamine users wanted to actively confront it,” says Milkman.

“Young people aren’t hanging out in the park right now, Gudberg explains, because they’re in after-school classes in these facilities, or in clubs for music, dance or art. Or they might be on outings with their parents.” [Source]

State funding was increased for organised sport, music, art, dance and other clubs, to give kids alternative ways to feel part of a group, and to feel good, rather than through using alcohol and drugs, and kids from low-income families received help to take part.” [Source]

Stress in America is at an all-time high, especially for America’s youth, which may help to explain why so many kids are turning to prescription pills and street drugs, and without a more thoughtful and holistic approach to confronting this problem, rates of teen substance abuse are unlikely to decline any time soon.

Drugs are not a criminal problem as perceived in the United States, and you simply cannot SWAT raid American families into ending addiction and the American drug crisis, as there are much larger personal and political forces at play. While we continue to ignore the crisis of drugs with American youth, we are desperate for new approaches, and this example from Iceland may help broaden our perspective of the possible.

To read the article in its original form, this Link.

Alex Pietrowski, Staff Writer Waking Times


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One Response to America is greatly failing its most important resource, youth

  1. Factors concerning the failed war on drugs:

    The criminalization of drugs, the failed war on drugs, privatization of Department of Corrections Criminal Justice System, lobbyists (including the DEA and California Correctional Peace Officers Association (considered one of the most powerful political forces in California politics), and overzealous enforcement agencies have fueling the drug epidemic, keeping it alive.

    Iceland is very different in the way they deal with their youth and their approach to opiates and drug addiction.

    American Gulag justice is a draconian policy that does not work. We have the largest gulag of prisoners in the world, including youth in lockup.


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