Planet Youth is an international evidence-based primary prevention model that has been developed in order to reduce substance use rates amongst adolescents.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation are working with the Planet Youth Team to trial an Australian version of the program with SMLC, supported by the City of Mount Gambier and the District Council of Grant. The Planet Youth trial is funded under the Australian Government’s National Ice Action Strategy and managed by the Alcohol and Drug Foundation.
About the program
In the 1990s, Iceland ranked comparatively highly across Europe for adolescent alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful drug use. In response, a group of policy makers, community leaders, and social scientists came together to explore new ideas for initiating a different, bottom-up collaborative approach to drug and alcohol use prevention that has since become known as the Icelandic Prevention Model (Planet Youth). Over the last 30 years Iceland has seen large reductions in substance use in their young people and the program has now been adopted in 20 countries.
Planet Youth is now an international evidence-based primary prevention model that works by directly targeting the risk and protective factors in young people’s lives that determine their substance use behaviours and enhancing the social environment they are growing up in.
By reducing the known risk factors and strengthening the known protective factors the problems associated with adolescent substance use can be reduced or stopped before they arise. The Planet Youth model offers the opportunity to improve the long-term health and life outcomes for young people and goes far beyond simply reducing their substance use rates.
The model is underpinned by data derived from the administration of the Planet Youth questionnaire. This comprehensive lifestyle questionnaire is administered to 15-16 year-old students in their school setting and examines a great many aspects of their lives. Questions include substance use, health, mental health, physical activity, family and school experience, internet use and bullying.
The data returned from the survey is used to inform the development of suitable interventions in the community that will help address the known risk and protective for young people and thus improve outcomes.
The Limestone Coast survey was conducted in late 2019 across four secondary schools with key findings outlined below. There will be further Planet Youth surveys in 2021.
Family Key Findings
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Substance Use Key Findings
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The Planet Youth Model uses the local surveys to inform evidence-based, community lead action on the ground. These actions are tailored to the needs of the community, recognising that every community is unique and there is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to addressing alcohol and drug issues.
The model also successfully creates and maintains a dialogue between research, policy and practice to enhance outcomes. The model relies on key stakeholder commitment between local government, local schools, parents and other community stakeholders.
Practical examples of Planet Youth actions/activities:
Youth encouraged to participate in supervised clubs, arts programs and sport during social hours;
Parents encouraged to spend more time with their adolescents during leisure time;
Parents encouraged to supervise adolescent parties and to discourage alcohol use;
Schools encouraged to provide links between school, parents and community organisations.