The clock shows 10 p.m. on a Friday night when the “Parent Patrol” enters a preferred playground in suburban Reykjavik. The teenagers turn down the music and attain for their phones to check the time: It is ticking into curfew.
Every weekend, parents everywhere in the Icelandic capital embark on a two-hour evening stroll around their neighborhood, checking on youth hangouts.
The stroll is one step toward Iceland’s win into flipping a crisis in teen drinking. Concentratring on local participation and promoting more sports activities and music for students, the island country in the North Atlantic has stalled a teenage culture of smoking and drinking. Icelandic teens now have one of many lowest rates of substance abuse in Europe.
Neighboring countries are taking notice. The Icelandic Centre for Social Analysis and Evaluation, the institute discovering the project for the past 20 years, says it today advises 100 communities in 23 nations, from Finland to Chile, on reducing teen substance abuse.
The key, she says, is to maintain young individuals busy and parents engaged without speaking much about alcohol or drugs.
That stands against other anti-abuse schemes, which attempt to influence teenagers with school lectures and scary, disgusting advertisements showing bad lungs of smokers or eggs in a frying pan to characterize an intoxicated brain.
In 1999, when 1000’s of teenagers would assemble in downtown Reykjavik every weekend, surveys confirmed 56% of 16-year-olds drank alcohol and around as many had tried smoking, too. Several years later, Iceland has the lowest rates for smoking and drinking among the 35 nations surveyed in the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Drugs.