In 1992, Iceland had all its 14, 15, and 16-year-olds fill out a survey about their experience with drugs and alcohol. 25% smoked daily, and over 40% had gotten drunk in the past month. Since then, Iceland has implemented a kind of radical common sense, and the problem has been all but solved.
Writing for Mosaic, Emma Young details the changes:
To achieve this amazing rescue of the nation’s youth, Iceland hired U.S. psychology professor Harvey Milkman, whose research in New York and later Denver suggested that drugs and alcohol are people’s ways of dealing with stress. Milkman discovered that people choose uppers or downers depending on how they prefer to cope. Booze and heroin numb the user; speed, cocaine, and other stimulants let people confront their problems.
But Milkman wondered why people start, and then continue, taking drugs. “That’s when I had my version of the ‘aha’ experience,” he told Young in …
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