* They didn't find any clear Icelandic model. Icelandic politicians promoting it. Icelandic researchers don't know if it exists.
* Icelandic experts are not unanimous that there is causal link between the advertised methods and effects. Halldór Hauksson has noted that increasing the age of adulthood with two years might have been the real cause. Many young people having problems stayed within the children programs and could be treated under them and not as adult alcoholics.
* It's very adult oriented model. Teenagers are just subjects.
* There was clear distrust against unsupervised gatherings among teenagers. Adults don't seem to see any value or learning in stuff that young people do among themselves.
* Nobody have studied what teenagers think about the system. Apparently they didn't even think to ask it.
* There are parts of the system that might violate agreements that protect children rights. (Yes, Nordic countries take things like United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child seriously) Some methods violate Finnish constitution of equality and equal rights (when people are subject to government actions they must have an opportunity to voice their opinion) so they can't be directly used.
If you look at other things like alcohol use, things don't look good.
* Teenage suicides have grown off the chart. Boys: 42.5 suicides per 100k. For comparison Finland 12, Sweden 8.5, Norway 6.5, Denmark 5.5
* Psychotropic medication among teenagers if many times what it is in other Nordic countries. UN children rights commission has notified Iceland about child medication.
What? Why is alcohol not regarded as a drug in this kind of research environment? Is the aim of this research to save teenagers from drug abuse, or is the aim to have lower numbers of illegal-drug-abuse?
Overall, this seems questionable at best. Not letting teenagers spending unsupervised time surely has ripple effects in most, if not all, areas of society, the most of which I'd consider highly undesirable (not granting autonomy leads to severe psychological issues down the line)
Both "like" and "than" express comparisons, that may cause confusion.
It's easy for people to make adjustments allowing for your badly-formed sentences. It's much harder for people to make adjustments allowing for the possibility that even though you said something natural, you might have meant something else entirely.
Not to mention entire state populations or anything close to any other relevant country’s total population.
Which matters a lot when taking lessons from other countries IMO (including banking and restrictions like gun ownership). It’s like taking lessons running a startup vs a multinational corporation.
I see no reason why small cities and countries can't be used as examples in youth health. They are often perfect places to used for testing things.
> I see no reason why small cities and countries can't be used as examples in youth health.
This is not correct; you're assuming that every location always expresses the average of every effect.
In reality, small absolute populations mean more variance in the measurement/expression of everything. This is why the top and bottom of lists of statistics per capita are always dominated by small populations. Doesn't matter what statistic you're measuring.
This makes it very dangerous to try to generalize from a finding in an anomalously small population.
"Sample size!" is absolutely a valid criticism.
It also is not geographically diverse... over half the national population lives within a 10km circle around the capital.
Great comment, by the way. Thank you for the summary.
It means 'everyone' was thinking about it different over time, and this thinking would have manifested in a variety of policies, awareness, socialization, and probably a lot of 'indirect shaming' i.e. getting alcohol distributors to realize the consequences, bar owners taking underage drinker more seriously, police actually nabbing drunk kids as opposed to turning a blind eye. IE 'hey, we drink here in Iceland, it's normal' to 'we have a drinking problem, let's talk to our kids about it'.
We've seen a significant change in all the Western world on smoking for example, so it's no surprise they couldn't change drinking and tobacco over time.
The marijuana thing is different obviously given the more liberal attitudes in many places, but consider the supply issue in Iceland, as compared to Canada. In Canada, there are grow-ops everywhere with low-level organized crime involved sometimes (not always). In Iceland, it just maybe 'that much more difficult' to get a hold of, thereby limiting the possibility for weed to establish it's behavioural premise as 'being cool' or whatever. The critical mass might not have developed.
It's highly unlikely that 'one policy' was the deal maker on any of these issues, though surely some had more of an effect than others. For example, raising the drinking age by 2 years will have not much effect if it's a social custom to simply ignore those rules anyhow. But raising the drinking age, coupled with public awareness, with messages from law enforcement to alcohol stores saying 'we mean it, we will find out' to random checks to make sure they're following the rules whereas there were none before etc. - this will surely have some change.
I object to anything that the UN has to say about 'Children's Rights', the wellbeing of children is a function of the overall wellbeing of a society, and Iceland, like other Nordic countries, is way ahead of the curve already. Ironically, only such advanced countries would even care about what the UN has to say in the first place. The UN is a highly politicized body of people usually very far removed from any given situation and though I don't doubt their intentions, these things become entirely academic in their hands. The 'real good' they will do is in developing places which are in need of economic development, which in turn provides the basis for the wellbeing of children and all citizens and not just in terms of 'rights' but in everything else as well.
Any nation that has managed to create some kind of positive social change is probably worth studying, that there is ambiguity is fine, the facts are what they are i.e. that substance abuse of certain kinds has dropped quite a lot. That evidence is the underlying bit of credibility which makes the mystery worth solving, or at least learning from.
It's true though that the increased focus in activity such as sports etc does actually work. As soon as the city allowed people to use a sort of point system were they get x amounts of points per year which can be used for sports and such things got much better. This means poor families can also send their kids to activities which is really positive.
Drugs in general are really popular now. The drug market in Iceland in general has been growing extremely fast over the past years and it's become really professional in terms of quality and delivery. We have a relatively small police force right now and the size of the drug market is way beyond their control.
I just find it kind of misleading everytime I see these articles. It's true we got drinking down but in general Iceland deals with a lot of depression, a lot of suicides and a lot of narcotic related issues every year. We have a very high suicide rate per capita, especially for men.
What I mean is that these articles express this like we got rid of the problem, we totally did not. The fact that the state gives credits for sport activities etc each year is an extremely positive thing though.
It's making a big difference. We're facepalming for not starting to use our budget for this purpose sooner. These young are getting more engaged with school.
We explicitly avoid taking surveys about substance type stuff, so it's hard to know for sure how much a difference it makes. Plus the program is too young. (We don't take surveys because "n" is too small to ensure anonymity and the kids know it. We have a "no judgement ethic to uphold.)
But the kind of stuff suggested in this article seems to work so far.
My purpose in working with these kids is convincing some of them "do your math homework, and you'll get a good job. It's your ticket out of housing."
Variance could be due variation in environment, pollution, personal habits, quality of record keeping, and many other meaningful or spurious causes. Outliers and 95%iles are worth studying, not merely writing off.
Iceland's models might not work for larger countries due to size difference, and might not work for other cities due to differences in sovereignty structure, but it's worth investigating.
You have no particular reason to study those cases more than anything else, since the data we have does not suggest that there is anything actually going on.
The uneven spread of heavy industry creates pockets where cancer rates are higher becausw of environmental factors.
Random variance is responsible at a micro-level but at a macro level the trend still holds true.
Is it really a surprise that caring about children, giving them a chance to learn and enjoy activities together makes them not want to get high? That's what I'm doing now with my life, but it's hard to break old habits. I wish I could have played sports in my teens. I wish I could have done many things and learned to socialize and deal with feelings. I will never raise children in such a horrific environment as the US. I'd rather be childless.
“We didn’t say to them, you’re coming in for treatment. We said, we’ll teach you anything you want to learn: music, dance, hip hop, art, martial arts.” The idea was that these different classes could provide a variety of alterations in the kids’ brain chemistry, and give them what they needed to cope better with life: some might crave an experience that could help reduce anxiety, others may be after a rush.
Herefor numbers regarding Iceland should always be interpreted with great caution since they are likely not projectable onto other countries.
Iceland is not exactly super rich.
That's the point, isn't it? You'd think that Reykjavik as the capital has resources and money that are not available in Aberdeen, SD or Americus, GA. In the US, the countryside has been systematically hollowed out.
In many countries, it's pushed underground but they aren't hard to acquire like hard drugs.
There should be companies searching for safer compounds which help achieve same results without any of the long term risks.
It's not surprising that there are bad outcomes without medical guidance and best practices. I, for one, fully intend to start supplementing male hormones the day I turn 50.
I don't think the stigma surrounding this is helping anyone.
if you can't separate the stigma of that kind of abuse from the use of normal human doses of different compounds then maybe earth is too complex a place for you to live.
This seems kind of silly in retrospect. In the US, most heroin users chose heroin because they got addicted to prescription painkillers, and heroin has a similar effect while being much cheaper.
Both of these answers are overly simplistic however.
My point was that the original statement was overly broad and simplistic.
It would certainly be part of it, interacting IRL, yes.
> can be more meaningful than social interactions with fellow drug addicts.
Can be, sure, but aren't necessarily, and people with digital addictions can become very isolated and have health problems from inactivity.
I'm not trying to say drug addiction is a good thing, but that the initial comment was silly. Not all drug use is problematic, and digital addiction can have a real impact.
Gaming can be perfectly a healthy hobby as well, when not done to the exclusion of all else.
Happy to hear that there's an ever growing base of data to support this, but sadly acting upon that data is not exactly top priority for politicians :/
Moreover, if politicians wanted to act upon it, they would just legalize all drugs and call it a day.
Many people (Americans included) also fail to recognize that the majority of governance happens at the city and county level, then the state, then the least at the federal level.
So if you have a situation where a policy only works if “everyone does it,” that’s basically impossible in the US. Individual cities can (and do) act on all sorts of lessons learned from around the world, especially including the Nordic countries, and point to them as inspiration all the time. But just because an Austin or a Seattle wants to copy what was done elsewhere does not mean they can: it may conflict with state or federal law they cannot change, or it may be unworkable when half the population of their economic area is distributed among dozens of small and entirely independent suburban governments.
So in short, yes some Americans are dismissive of things that “worked in Iceland,” but I think most Americans are merely jaded that it’s much easier to accomplish significant change in city states and small countries, particularly with more homogeneous populations. It’s nothing against Iceland or any other country, except perhaps fatigue at people from those places wagging their fingers at America and saying how easy things are in a place completely unlike this one.
we’re not designed to have many national programs to address domestic issues. it’s up to the states to address domestic issues, with the added benefit that the country can iterate faster to solutions through states working on them in parallel and piggybacking on each others’ successes.
Isn't homelessness generally handled at the city and county levels? Both places can independently look at how different areas of the world have combated homelessness, and also share their successes (or failures) with each other without being forced to both do the same exact thing.
A friend's mother- a chronic drug user who lived off of welfare- moves from state to state as she uses up whatever benefits they offer.
Not all people are in that situation or abuse the system like that, of course, but small countries with tighter borders have a much easier time dealing with a less mobile population of homeless and indigent.
Personally think there's got to be parts of this though that would be applicable somewhere. Seems rash to be completely dismissive (and to be fair not much of that in these comments).
I've not yet fully understood why a large population or area or ethnicity would generally impede things so much, but maybe it's just misattributed and there's sometihng about system of governance or the population's general distrust of government makes it hard to get things done there.
Of course there are some genuine things that scane sub or superlinearly with population size. For example network effects are bigger in bigger populations.
The second list says -
Sweden Ethnic Fractionalization : 0.060000
US EthnicFractionalization: 0.490100
So it says America is 8 times more diverse than Sweden.
Sounds about right. That makes Sweden a lot more homogenous than the US.
The first list is really screwed: it lists Italy and China as among the least diverse - which is rubbish.
That’s because it only includes linguistic diversity- not ethnic diversity. So Sicilians and Milanese are grouped together, as are Han and Tibetans.
Latin America becomes much less diverse, because the many ethnicities speak Spanish, etc.
Look at how undiverse Cuba is!
America has a large number of different cultures, ethnicities and religions, but to get a decent job you need to English.
My link shows that there is a bigger share of immigrants in Sweden (19%) than in US (14%).
I think cultural diversity weighs more here than skin color.
Yes. I see the veiled racist comments, the completely anecdotic evidence, the sofa-experts disregarding the article findings... It is tiresome the coordinated attacks against progressive views.
We should work together to make this a better world. I really do not get what is the goal of the people that writes this kind of comments. Don't they have families? Don't they depend on the same world stability and technological advances?
I am happy for Iceland and I hope that their example extends.
Iceland has roughly the population of Glendale, California, which is one of a couple dozen satellite cities which, along with Los Angeles proper, make up the Greater Los Angeles area, which is one of two major metro areas in California, which is one of 50 states of the US. You can find plenty of ~300k metro areas in the US that are a good match for Iceland, and plenty that aren’t. If you want to understand American over and underperformance on various metrics, you have to look at why, say, Sweden does so well on various metrics and, say, Greece does not. Because the scale of the US is similar to Europe as a whole.
So find one or more groups of 360,000 people in your country and start testing it on small parts of your population.
Don’t just ignore the findings because you can’t apply it to your whole country at once (which is a bad idea anyway: e.g. some nation-wide education changes at home have been big mistakes).
Iceland is not that small. It's comparable to many medium sized cities in Europe, or a district of a big one.