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Iceland – An Inspiring Policy

by | National Education

Teenagers, alcohol, cigarettes and stimulants.

In the mid-1990s, Icelandic teenagers were among the most drinkers and smokers in Europe.Today, Iceland leads the way as the healthiest country in Europe for teenagers (13-19 year olds)!

How did this happen?

Icelandic scientists have tried to find out what biochemical processes cause addiction.
Harvey Milkman, an American professor of psychology, now a lecturer at the University of Reykjavik, came to the conclusion that the choice of the type of alcohol or drugs depends on how the human body is used to dealing with stress.
It turned out that there are many different substances that cause biochemical processes in the brain, on which the body then becomes dependent.
Scientists decided to find actions that stimulate the same processes in the brain.
Milkman says:
« You may be addicted to tobacco, alcohol, Coca-Cola, energy drinks and certain foods….
We decided to offer teenagers something better…
Scientists have suggested that dancing, music, drawing or sports also cause biochemical processes in the brain that do everything possible, but were also a harmless solution to stress, and that in terms of emotional effect, such actions should have the same effect on teenagers as stimulants, alcohol or tobacco.
From there, free masterclass programmes in any sport or art they wanted to study were offered to all the students. Extra hours, three times a week, were specially funded by the state.
Each teenager was required to participate in the programme for three months… but in the end, many of them continued these programmes for more than five years. »

To solve the problems of nicotine addiction and alcohol addiction among teenagers, the authorities also had to change the law. Iceland prohibits advertising of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages and creates special organizations for parents who, together with the school, help students solve psychological problems.

As a result, Iceland has succeeded in reducing the number of teenagers
who drink regularly from 48% to 20% over the past 20 years,
and those who smoke from 23% to 3%.

Icelandic scientists suggest using similar methods in other countries.
The question is :
who will allow this to happen?
This will be a huge loss for multinational companies.
They have no interest in teenagers becoming self-aware and avoiding the path of addiction to alcohol, cigarettes and human stimulants until they die.
They want users.

However, we can all become hummingbirds of the Education for the Future… and do our part to make things change.

The International Summit of Education for the Future
will be the great gathering of the world’s hummingbirds.
Deeply inspiring, positive and dynamic voices
will rise up on the internet from 20 to 30 April 2022.