- Category: News
- Published: 27 September 2018
ECAD is implementing a 12 month-long primary prevention project that started with a workshop in Eskilstuna this September. Project teams from 7 cities (Tallinn, Kaunas, Jurmala, Dobele, Eskilstuna, Minsk and Odessa) in the Baltic Sea region participated in the seminar, making use of the 20-year long research on reducing the substance use among the youth, named the Icelandic Model.
The seminar was focused on the evidence-based findings of the Icelandic model, brought to Eskilstuna and presented by the team of researchers from the Icelandic Center for Research and Analysis. The key-message of getting to grips with the specifics of efficient prevention is changing the context (environment) that forms the behaviour of people, since personal lifestyle is socially conditioned. The objective is to achieve a long-term cultural change.
To introduce the change it is vital to ensure an up-to-date mapping of the actual situation with substance use in the project cities. It can be achieved by introducing regular questionnaires among 14-15 old youth and understanding their physical and mental state. One of the success factors here is a committment of elected city officials to facilitate the continuity of data collection.
Project partners discussed the actual situation in the project cities and identified a number of challenges, depending on the size of the community and the well-being of its citizens. The most common challenges turned to be lack of regular interventions and local prevention programmes, the use of cannabis and synthetic substances among the youth and lack of gender-specific prevention.
The Icelandic model can provide adequate resoponse to these challenges. So two of the present city officials (Kaunas, Lithuania and Odessa, Ukraine) had decided on the introduction of Icelandic methodology and regular data collection after the seminar.
The participants expressed vivid interest in networking with each other and the contacts are now established on the regular basis among all of us. The next step will be visiting the communities, participating in the data collection in November and thus the project partners have to take the decision on how profound their involvement in the project will be.
We are also looking forward to the next meeting in Odessa in March 2019.
The project is supported by the Swedish Institute and is driven in compliance with the UN Agenda 2030 and EU strategy for cooperation in the Baltic Sea Region, promoting and improving people`s health.